Yarwng, a "cultural document" of Tripura: Father Pulinthanath

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Panaji, Nov 23 (UNI) Filmmaker Father Joseph Pulinthanath, whose film Yarwng is to open the Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India 2008 today, calls his film a realistic " cultural document" that is based on the real experience of the people, who have been displaced from their place of dwelling.

"The original tribal inhabitants and the indigenous Kokborok language have been reduced to a minority. I wanted to promote the language and also their culture and Yarwng is a step in that direction, he told UNI here.

"When I was doing the film, the only thing that was in mind was the revival of Kokborok language. I just wanted to focus on the culture and the language of this depressed section of society," he said.

Expressing satisfaction of achieving what was intended, Father Pulinthanath said there was great satisfaction, when seeing that a film in the unknown Kokborough language was selected as the inaugural film of Indian Panorama at the IFFI 2008.

The film revolves round the large-scale displacement that happened in Tripura, when the newly built Dumbur Dam submerged huge areas of arable land in the fertile Raima valley in the late 1970s.

father Pulinthanath said those people who had been displaced still did not have a dweleing and they were rushing from one place to another as refugees. Noting that the people, still had some inner strength and determination to move forward in their life, he said it was this aspiration of the people that has made his film really wonderful. He also said the local people actively involved themselves in the making of the film. " The people even vacated their homes for us to make the film. It was in the sense a real participation of the people. In a sense it is their film," he said.

When asked about the technical crew from Kerala, Father Pulinthanath, who himself belongs to Kerala, said, " I wanted something different. I wanted to have a distinct quality in this film and that is why I choose the crew from Kerala." Regarding the actors, he said most of the actors, except a few, were showing their faces for the first time in the celluloid.

"Some of the actors were seeing the camera for the first time and they were doing what they were asked to do," Father Pulinthanath said.

About the locations, he said Yarwng was shot in the interiors of Tripura. "Yarwng was shot in villages that were actually impacted by the displacement Bolongbasa and adjoining villages surrounding Gandacherra township. "These places are the most backward areas without any facilities. We shot the film in very adverse conditions and also with the minimal facilities," he said.

About the financing of the film, Father Pulinthanath said Don Bosco and the church financed the film.

Yarwng had bagged the Special Jury Mention Award at the 7th Asian Film Festival 2008 at Mumbai and has been selected for screening at the 14th Kolkata Film festival and the 13th International film festival of Kerala.

This is his second film and his first one, also in Kokborok, Mathia (Bangles), was about the practice of witch-hunts, which is even now prevalent in Tripura.


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