Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wanna get married to my wife?

You love your wife. Your wife loves someone else. What do you do? Ask her lover to get married to her. And the three of you live happily together. Impossible, you say. But that's the premise of the first ever feature film to emerge from Arunachal Pradesh.

Ahsan Muzid's film 'Sonam' depicts the practice of polyandry among the Brokpas, yak shepherds who live on the mountain slopes in Tawang. This tradition, based on a custom of the Monpa society, is still being followed in remote areas.

Muzid explores how this complex way of life affects relationships. Sonam, a woman caught between two husbands, is torn between her love for one and her loyalty to the other. She wastes away until she finds ultimate atonement in her own death.

'Sonam', made in the Monpa dialect with English subtitles, has garnered a clutch of awards at various film festivals, most recently at the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Images (MAMI) festival. And righty so. Muzid must be feted for his technical finesse and his ability to eke out emotions from first-time actors.

It must have been a struggle to shoot 'Sonam' in a state where film culture is absent and that too at such high altitudes. Tawang district looks absolutely breathtaking on screen and I wonder if the state government is doing enough to promote it a tourist attraction. Hoping to see other films from the region. Coz there are enough tales waiting to be told.

Rating: ***

Remarks: The good thing is Muzid doesn't go overboard with melodrama. His story, which has universal appeal, is his strong point. His characters are believable and their emotions true to life.

120 mins - 35 mm Cinemascope
Direction/Screenplay - Ahsan Muzid

Deccan Herald review
The Hindu review

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