Netflix, the global streaming giant, has been upping their game in India this year with original content like Sacred Games, Ghoul and Lust Stories. However, apart from their own shows and movies, Netflix also boasts of eclectic library of Indian movies.
Not just the standard blockbusters of Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, the two Bollywood superstars signing a deal with Netflix, the streaming giant has the best of regional films in their collection, especially Marathi, Tamil and Malayalam.
Netflix is also a platform for filmmakers in Northeast India to showcase their work to a global audience, especially at a time when the theatrical business is not exactly doing wonders. Currently, representation from Northeast in Netflix is not very high though in coming days, we expect lot more content from the region to be added by them.
Here, we look at some of the movies from Northeast India available on Netflix which can make for a good Sunday afternoon viewing.
Pradip Kurbah’s Onaatah, which won the National Award in 2016 for the Best Khasi Film tells the story of Onaatah, the protagonist, who tries to gather the broken pieces of her life after a tragedy befalls her on a fateful night. Despite the dark subject, the treatment of the movie is refreshingly candid and it really warms you up. The film presents the gorgeous Khasi Hills with its entire splendour and also keeping the local flavor intact. Add to it the immensely likeable character of Duh, who would anything to earn a living and everything to get Onaatah’s attention. Apart from being a heartwarming romantic drama, the movie asks some really important questions.
Loktak Lairembee, or maybe better known as ‘The Lady of the Lake’ to the global audience, is a commentary on Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and people living around it. Manipur filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar’s movie based on a short story by co-writer Sudhir Naoroibam focuses on the condition of fishing families who are blamed by the government for polluting the lake. When the protagonist accidentally finds a gun one day, tension escalates. The film keeps it short at a runtime of 70 minutes and it offers some interesting insight about the lake, the people living around it and politics of the area.
Maj Rati Keteki
Santwana Bordoloi’s Maj Rati Keteki is currently the only film from Assam available on Netflix. Starring Adil Hussain in the lead, this film tells the story of a renowned author Priyendu Hazarika who returns to his hometown after a long time and revisits his past. The nostalgia driven narrative seamlessly travels between past and present and touches on lot of issues like casteism in Assamese society, child abuse, workplace harassment etc. Maj Rati Keteki is a relatable human drama laced with very fine performances from the cast.
Fireflies in the Abyss
The brutal attack on social activist Agnes Kharshiing recently has once again shown how illegal coal mining in thriving in Meghalaya despite a ban from National Green Tribunal (NGT). In this documentary made in 2015, filmmaker Chandrasekhar Reddy looks at the lives of the miners working in the ‘rat holes.’ Shot mostly on a camcorder, this film is not an easy watch. But despite all the hopelessness surrounding the mines and the workers working here, you still go back with the cheerfulness and camaraderie of the subjects of the documents.
PS: Kothanodi, an anthology of four short stories based on Lakshminath Bezbarooah’s Buri Aair Sadhu was part of Netflix but it expired on October 1.
With promising independent filmmakers from the region churning out original content, Netflix might be tempted to include more titles from the region in coming days.