The Headhunters

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Paramvir Singh
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The Headhunters

Post by Paramvir Singh »

Nilanjan Datta'sfilm is doing well in the festival circuit.

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Arunachal Pradesh in north eastern India is a land of 26 ethnic tribes and more than 100 sub tribes, shrouded by myths and mysteries, traditions and rituals. Its panoramic landscape of snow covered mountains, lush green forests and gurgling mountainous streams is as breathtaking as it is remote and elusive. Once disconnected from mainstream India, this solitary land is slowly losing its uniqueness and culture, as the consumerist mainstream is slowly and surly making its way into its land, in the garb of development.

`The Head hunter’ is an exploration of this encroachment. It is also an exploration of loss of identity, alienation, lopsided development and an encounter with one’s own past. It is a mythical reality, yet it mirrors the concerns that I had while growing up in Arunachal and seeing its people closely. People who took pride in their culture, their traditions and their uniqueness. Today I see bewildered youth everywhere, shying away from their past, in their quest of being accepted in the mainstream. There is large-scale deforestation and unplanned constructions everywhere and I fear that this beautiful land like many other regions of India, will soon be a victim of flawed developmental plans.

The Film “The Head Hunter” brings forth a pertinent question about the creation of a homogenous culture of existence and morality. It is about an old tribal man from a forgotten tribe of India, who dwells in a forest as ancient as him. He belongs to the North Eastern tribe of India called the `Wancho tribe,’ dreaded for their practice of head hunting. He is the lone caretaker of one of the wildest forests of India. When the government decides to build a road through the forest, he resists and protests only to be managed by a young official, who belongs to the same tribe as the Old man and speaks his native language, befriends him and tricks him to spend a few days in the city. When he finally comes back to his forest everything has changed forever.


-Best Film In Wancho, Awarded by the honorable President of India at the 63rd National Film Awards of India. 2016

-Special Jury Mention best Debut Direction at the 25th ‘Aravindan Purushkaram, Kerala, India, 2016

-Golden Palm for Best Screenplay at the Mexico International Film Festival. 2016

-Special Jury Mention For best direction in Prag Cine Awards, Assam, India, 2016

-Best Actor North East at Prag Cine Awards, Assam, india, 2016

-Special Jury Mention at World Festival of Emerging Cinema, Trinidad & Tobago


-World Premier at the 17th Jio Mami Mumbai International Film festival, India Gold Competition Section, November, 2015

-Screened at Indian Panorama section in the 46th International Film Festival of India, Goa, November 2015

-Screened in the 14th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) in the India Cinema section, 2016,

-Screened at the 5th Angkor Wat International Film Festival, Cambodia, 2016

-Screened at the 11th Canada International Film Festival, Vancouver, 2016

-Screened at World Festival Of Emerging Cinema, Trinidad & Tobago, 2016

-Screening at the Ischia International Film festival, Italy on 28th June 2016


“The Head Hunter”
-Nokshaa Saham: Main lead as the Old Man. A non-actor from a tribal village from Longding District in Arunachal Pradesh.He belongs to the Wancho tribe and had never acted in any form of performative Art form before this film.
-Mrigendra Narayan Konwar: A trained actor from National School of Drama, Mrigendra plays the second main role in the film. Mrigendra is an assamese and had to learn Wancho language for this film.

-Nilanjan Datta: Story, screenplay dialogues and Direction. A graduate of FTII, pune. Presently is working as Associoate Professor of film editing at FTII, Pune.

-Rupak Das: Screenplay. A graduate of FTII, pune. Rupak is presently working as an Associate Professor of Production at FTII, Pune.

-Navnita Sen Datta: Assocaite Director & Editor. A graduate of FTII, pune Navnita has been involved with numerous award winning short film and documentary films. This is her third feature film as an editor.

-Anmol Bhave: Location Sound, Design & Mix. A graduate of FTII, Pune, Anmol has won 2 National Award before and is renowned sound recordist in Marathi cinema.

-Maulshri Singh: Cinematography. A graduate of FTII, Pune. This is her first Feature film.

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