Dedicated to Malu, Pub, Meghali and Indu without meeting whom I would still have thought Assam and the Seven Sisters were another country where people largely wore grass skirts and animal bones and had tiny eyes. One incident that comes to mind is this one during counselling just before I joined NITK where I heard a parent reassuring another that his son will surely get a seat in the casual vacancy round…. who would come from Nagaland anyway. Turns out, people did. And some of them went on to top their class.
You see so many regional stereotypes in Bollywood flicks – South Indians (“Aiyo Amma”), Parsees (always suited and booted, occasionally with traditional headgear), Punjabis (need I elaborate?), Bengalis (the accent, first and foremost)… why, even Nepalis (all named Bahadur, who all say “Ji, shaab”)… but I’m yet to come across a main character from the North-East (apart from in Chak De)… why, even Danny Dengzongpa plays some firang or origins-unknown villain and not a Naga or Mizo. Or does my memory fail me? Or is it plain ignorance?
I’ve not come across any movie set in the North-East either. Though I think Tango Charlie had a few scenes with Bobby Deol battling insurgency in Assam (Update: Turns out it went on to be banned in Assam). And Dil Se was set in Assam (though everyone including me thought it was Kashmir) before moving on to Ladakh?
I’m surprised no one makes a movie about the separatist movements in the seven North-East states. Okay, maybe you can ascribe that to language difficulties (if at all you need to hunt for a reason).. but what about Assam? Bollywood seems to have only fleetingly, if at all, talked about Assam.
Though, a Kannada movie called Hoo Male was set in Assam, and it starred Ramesh Arvind (for those who don’t follow Kannada flicks, he’s a star). And it also had an ULFA militant spout lines like “Delhi to Mumbai is the same distance as Delhi to Guwahati… so why does Delhi concentrate so much on Mumbai and nothing at all on Guwahati?”. Oh, and it had the lead pair doing the Bihu dance, too.
So… is there a Bollywood movie set in the North-East that I’ve missed?
Ah… one comes to mind… Daman, starring Raveena Tandon. Won her a National Award for Best Actress. It had music by Bhupen Hazarika, their family name was Saikia, and the NE connection ended there.
Any NE more? Rather, NE at all?