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‘Tree of Tongues in Tripura’ : Film screened at Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) Documents Lives of Two Tribal Musicians

The Film is featured in the category of the ‘International Competition for Innovation in Moving Images’ in the film festival

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A still from the film 'Tree of Tongues in Tripura.' Youtube

Kolkata, Nov 16, 2016: As the grand celebration of cinema in the 22nd Kolkata International Film Festival keeps the city of joy brimming with the movie-buffs, the days keep getting better with the screenings of some of the precisely selected exquisite creations by some excellent artists.

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Morning of 14th November saw the screening of the film ‘Tree of Tongues in Tripura’, directed by the National Awards winner Joshy Joseph. Joseph is currently the deputy director general in-charge of the Films Division. He is a self-taught filmmaker who has made several documentaries on multiple subjects and is the proud winner of the National Awards for four of his projects. ‘Imaginary Line’ is one of his famous feature films and his latest feature-length documentary is- ‘One Day from A Hangman’s life’.

Tree of Tongues in Tripura
Director of Tree of Tongues in Tripura- Joshy Joseph. Youtube

‘Tree of Tongues in Tripura’ is a movie that is realized, triggered, discussed and conceived at a workshop on film-making at the Tripura University in Agartala. The film is about story-telling- one of the most delicate human urges and creativity.

Dedicated to the special narrative zone of Mahasweta Devi and the zone of Andrei Tarkovsky (as shown in the credits in the screening of the film in KIFF); the film explores the journey of the story-teller John meeting with an old tribal man, Thanga Darlong, who is a musician-playing the ‘Rosem’ flute and John introduces him as his grandfather to the team of his film that captures the music, life, and struggle of Darlong.

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Tree of Tongues in Tripura
Thanga Darlong in a still from the film. (Antara/ NewsGram)

As the film proceeds, the audience is made aware along with the film-making team on the movie that Darlong is not John’s grandfather but a friend of his late grandfather and being interested in him and his music, John has started the venture of knowing about Darlong and helping him in some ways. He also talks about meeting with Darlong’s actual grandson and taking help from the research on Darlong by Benjamin of the Tripura University. The film also views another tribal musician- Saudagar. When the narrative in the movie faces a crisis the frame captures the musicians, turn by turn, breathing in some wonderful tribal tunes.

Opening with a beautiful frame and stills from tribal people and their lives in Tripura, the film projects the flashes and fragmentary frames of a storm. Music is in the air of Tripura and stories exist in the breath of the wind. The narrative gets going and there are intervals filled with beautiful poems and magnificent music.

Tree of Tongues in Tripura
A still from the film

The film is a subtle and simple yet beautiful portrayal of the art of story-telling and the lives of the tribal musician. It is featured in the category of the ‘International Competition for Innovation in Moving Images’ in the film festival. It is produced by the Film Division, Govt. of India and edited by Sumit Ghosh. The cinematographer is Manesh Madhavan and the screenplay is by- Sumit ghosh and Nanita Nayak Chopra.

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Kudos to all the actors and the team of the film and the director- Joshy Joseph, for introducing the audience with such a wonderful project. Also, huge applause to the Kolkata International Film Festival for selecting Joseph’s work to be screened in the festival!

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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