Film bouquet on birthday

Shillong, Jan. 17: Meghalaya will celebrate its 41st birth anniversary on Monday with the inauguration of a film festival to commemorate the centenary of Indian cinema.

The pick of the three-day festival will be Raja Harishchandra, the first full-length Indian feature film, Ka Synjuk Ri ki Laiphew Syiem (The Alliance of Thirty Kings), the first Khasi film, and Manik Raitong (Manik The Miserable), the first Khasi film in colour.

Raja Harishchandra, a 1913 silent film, was directed and produced by Dadasaheb Phalke based on the legend of King Harishchandra.

Ka Synjuk Ri ki Laiphew Syiem was directed by late Hamlet Bareh Ngapkynta in 1981.

Manik Raitong, a celebrated film of 149-minute duration, was directed by Ardhendu Bhattacharya and produced by Rishan Rapsang in 1984. Recently, it was packaged in VCD format. Legendary music composer and singer Skendrowell Syiemlieh, who received the Padma Shri posthumously in 2008, had lent his voice for the film. The movie also represented the Indian Panorama at the Tokyo Film Festival.

A film from Jaintia hills, Chake, will also be screened during the festival to be held at U Soso Tham auditorium here. The festival, beginning January 21, which is celebrated as Meghalaya Day, will witness actress Moon Moon Sen and her daughter Riya Sen while actor Rahul Bose is yet to confirm his participation.

The other films that have been lined up include Rituparno Ghosh's Bengali film Noukadubi, Malayalam film Keshu directed by Sivan, Marathi film Manoos directed by V. Shantaram, Zoya Akhtar's Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Bow Barracks Forever (English) directed by Anjan Dutt and Assamese children's film Tora directed by Jahnu Barua.

State information and public relations director H.M. Shangpliang said interactive sessions with the cast and directors of the films would follow the screening of each film. Local film directors and producers have been invited for the interactive sessions, which would go a long way in developing their efforts in making films, he added.

Shangpliang appealed to the public, especially children, to watch the films.

The festival was supposed to have been organised in November last year, but unavoidable circumstances compelled the organisers to alter the schedule.

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