Northeasterlies are Blowing

What ails Northeast India? The answers depend on which government you listen to. Gopal Sharman and Jalabala Vaidya of New Delhi-based Akshara Theatre decided to ask,as the latter says,“the right people...

Written by Dipanita Nath | Published:March 9, 2009 3:47 am

What ails Northeast India? The answers depend on which government you listen to. Gopal Sharman and Jalabala Vaidya of New Delhi-based Akshara Theatre decided to ask,as the latter says,“the right people,the people from the Northeast themselves”. The result is a festival spread across three weekends — with music,theatre,book readings and films that reveal the trials and triumphs of India’s eight sisters.

While Jaymala,a children’s folktale from Assam will be presented as a dance drama,a dramatised reading of Naga author Temsula Ao’s short stories follows an insurgent group as they confront their unexpected destiny. “Nothing reveals the innermost workings of a character’s mind more than books,” says Vaidya,adding that Arunachali author Mamang Dai’s book Legends of Pensam will be read out by students of Miranda House.

The hills of the Northeast resound with a thousand bands that,as the Bob Dylan of Shillong Lou Majaw (inset) says,“traipse from glam rock to pop jazz”. Majaw,who features in the festival,adds that his own songs are about “the flicker of hope that justice and harmony would prevail over kidnappings and tortures”. Rocking the Hills,a film by Savyasaachi Jain,recreates the music scene of the region by exploring the magic of Majaw,Rewben Mashangva,Rocky Baba and Soulmate (top). Delhi will get a chance to listen to Soulmate,considered among India’s prominent blues bands,when they perform today. Listen in ,as the Northeast sings.

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