Director Nicholas Kharkongor, along with some of the crew members of ‘Axone’ at the Glocal Hornbill International Film Festival in Kohima, Nagaland Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: Ahead of its global release, Nicholas Kharkongor’s film Axone was screened at the Glocal Hornbill International Film festival at Hotel Japfü in Kohima, Nagaland on Thursday and Friday. Kharkongor once again reaffirmed that although the movie is a Northeast-centric film, his intention of creating an unbiased film has been maintained.

Interacting with the audience after the screening of the film on Friday, Kharkongor said that the movie highlights serious concerns faced by the people from Northeast India. Referring to ‘Bendang’ played by Lanuakum, he said that the character was inspired by Nido Tania who was allegedly assaulted by a group of seven people on January 29, 2014 in Delhi, leading to his death the following day.

Axone is the first commercial Hindi film that focuses on the cultures of Northeast India with a star cast comprising Sayani Gupta, Lin Laishram, Tenzin Dalha, Lanuakum, Vinay Pathak, Roshan Joshi, Merenla Imsong and Asenla Jamir, among others. Although the movie is centred around a group of friends trying to cook ‘axone’, a delicacy from the region, Kharkongor said that his intention was to go beyond food.

“The character was meant for me,” said Lanuakum, when asked about his role in the movie. A trained actor, singer and songwriter, Lanuakum said that the role was a recreation of what he has experienced and that performing it was a “fond way to pull it off”.

Kharkongor further emphasised that the budget and casting were a major difficulty for the filming. Earlier, in an interview with EastMojo, he revealed that it took six months for the casting alone.

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A representative of the producing team from Saregama, while addressing the audience said “well balanced” and “unique” film was made for people to reflect on it. “I have many Northeast friends, but I have not heard their stories,” he said adding that stories from the region need to be told.

The Glocal Hornbill International Film festival is presented by the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Nagaland Tourism, Eastern Art Council and supported by Bioscope, Miracle Post, Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival, Guwahati, the Portrait Studio and BMG.

On the first day, films from around the world such as Change of Plans, Farz, S-He, Midnight Error, Enemy of the State, Mahaan Hutatma, Banaras Wilderness, Mainkutty, Usman Ka Radio, The Last Dream of Kabuki and Aranyakatha were screened.

On the second day, six short films from the Northeast region, four films from around the world, and four films from Myanmar were screened. Battle of Kohima and Axone were screened on both the days. Interaction with the director, cast and crew of the film Axone were held on both days.

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