Onaatah (Daughter of the Earth) is an upcoming Khasi film directed by national Award winning film Director Pradip Kurbah. Sources revealed that Pomu Das and Marjina Kurbah would present Kurbah Films in association with 3ME Entertainment and Cat & Mouse Entertainment (Mumbai), while Jova Kurbah and Arpana Kurbah, Mayvaria Lyngdoh and Pradip Daimary, Shaiju Nambiadath and Ramesh Sharma are the Producers, Co-Producers and Associate Producers respectively.
The film tells the story of a girl on a journey to rediscover the purpose of life and the diversity of relationships, finding out along the way that love has a vast and varied meaning relatively. The film is scheduled for this winter fall release, probably on Christmas Day.
The film features Merlvin Jude Mukhim and Sweety Jane Pala in lead roles. The pair has not been seen together since Dei Maphi (2006) and Meshua & Melody (2012), and this happens to be their third appearance together. Other prominent appearances of veteran actors include Enshon Lamare, Richard Kharpuri and Mary Nonghuloo.
The eighteen day filming, which has just concluded, took place in Shillong and village areas of Thangsning, Mawlynngot, Mawkynrew, Jongksha, Rapleng and parts of Iewrynghep, Umkhoi, Wahlyngkhat, Lyngkyrdem falling under East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. With the unit being entirely dependent on unforeseeable weather conditions, it is nothing short of a miracle that the film shooting got wrapped up within the scheduled dates, thanks to the experience of the Director, who managed indoor and outdoor shooting with élan, and in accordance to prevailing weather conditions at a particular time. However, it was not without some days witnessing 12 to 18 hours of shoot, commencing as early as 4 am in the morning.
“What made it easier was the cooperation and dedication of the artist fraternity involved. We are deeply overwhelmed by the support and love we received from the people, especially in Umkhoi, Mawlynngot, Lyngkyrdem and Wahlyngkhat. We never anticipated that the shooting would commence and complete so smoothly. Credit also goes to the entire unit for bearing tough weather conditions, and yet remaining committed to timely completion. We are also very appreciative of the traditional institutions at various locations, Mr. Adelbert Nongrum, former CEM KHADC, Bro. Morris, Principal of St. Edmund’s School and East Khasi Hills District (EKHD) SP M. Kharkrang for lending a helping hand,” remarked Pradip Kurbah.
However, the Producers shared a different perspective while speaking about the difficulty in availing shooting rights in Government owned sites within Shillong. “We are yet to understand who the actual approving authority is as far as allotment of Government owned sites for purpose of film shooting are concerned, though we had sincerely and in a very timely manner approached both the DC’s office and the DIPR. This inter-departmental confusion could prove to be unbeneficial not only to local film makers, but also those wanting to venture into Meghalaya from outside the state. The good thing is that we have remained undeterred and in the process found new places to showcase.”
While speaking with the lead artistes, Merlvin Mukhim was quick to quip, “In all of my close to 10 years of professional acting in Khasi and other regional films, my role in Onaatah, perhaps, remains to be one of the most challenging, fun-filled, and memorable character I’ve ever portrayed. We’ve gone one step ahead by recording all dialogues and ambiance on location itself, thereby saving time from having to carry out studio dubbing. I am excited about the prospects of the film.”
Joining him, the lead actress Sweety Pala opined, “I still can’t believe we got through on scheduled time. Though stressing at times, each of us managed to pump each other up. Enjoying the fog, rain and company in the evenings was particularly memorable. I am sure the audience will love the overall looks and ambiance of the film.”
The story and screenplay has been written by Pradip Kurbah and Paulami Duttagupta, while the music is being scored by National award winning song composer and director Anurag Saikia, while the on – location recording has been undertaken by Debajit Gayan, with Pradip Daimary once again joining Kurbah as Cinematographer.
Sources revealed that the total project cost of the film is approximately Rs 32 lakhs, including print and advertisement. Meanwhile, fans are eagerly waiting for the release of the first look of the film. While there has been no official news as to when the trailer will be released, fans are speculating that the first look might be released in October.
ONAATAH – of the earth
What do you do when life reaches a dead end? Giving up is an option, but certainly not the only or the best option. Onaatah, wounded from inside and by the stereotypes of society realizes the same too. She refuses to be a loser but doesn’t know how to pick up the pieces of a broken life. When the events of one fateful night leave her scarred and the courts and society keep dragging her hurt for years; she is almost broken.
As suggested by her father earlier, Onaatah ponders on taking a break and going to her uncle’s remote village. Her decision to come to her uncle’s village takes her to another world. He and his wife are a constant support to Onaatah and she is absorbed in their day to day lives. Adding to the flavour of the film is the rich terrain of Khasi hills. The freshness of it all would be a treat for the viewers.
In her Uncle’s village is the slightly weird and naive Duh. A young man, he does almost everything that comes his way for a living. Onaatah’s perspective about life changes when she gets introduced to the other characters of the village. The rustic simplicity makes Onaatah look at life differently.
This is another world, a world very different from that of Onaatah’s. Would Onaatah be able to forget her past and embrace another life? What lies in her past that has rattled her so much? Does the friendship that Duh has to offer to her blossom to something more? Or are Duh’s affections just one sided?
Information for the audience:
Directors: Pradip Kurbah
Writers: Paulami Dutta Gupta , Pradip Kurbah
Producers: Jova Kurbah, Arpana Kurbah, Vishakha Singh
Key cast: Merlvin Mukhim, , Sweety Pala