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Northeast rock on reel

Abdul Gani
Besides, the natural recourses and cultural diversity, there is another thing for which the region is famous for but due to several reasons may be due to the negative impacts like bomb blast, ambush, economic blockade, drug haul etc, the focus is being diverted to somewhere else.


But here is a remarkable effort is being initiated by young filmmaker Bidyut Kotoky who is going to explore the unusual popularity of rock music in the northeastern part of the country against the backdrop of violence-ridden, socio-political situation in the region through reels.  

The film ' tracked the journey of eight rock groups from eight different states of the region including Sikkim till it culminated in the grand finale on May 24 last, the birth anniversary Bob Dylan at the day-long concert organized by Lou Majaw, a popular rock musician of the country.  

“The film will try to bring to light how these youngsters arise out of the negative energies that surround their environment with the guitars in their hand and songs of life and dreams in their lips,” Bidyut Kataky said.  

“The film uses the concert as a vista to walk into the in one of the most beautiful regions of the country, where music seems to be just another way of life. A region of unparalleled beauty and beautiful people, the northeast always has been that place of 'the unknown' even for the rest of India. It will provide a surprise discovery for viewers that in a region which otherwise is mostly shrouded in talks of internal strife and unrest, somehow always had music playing and growing in its midst,” said the Mumbai based young filmmaker.  

The 52-minute 'Guns and Guitars' attempts to draw parallels with Bob Dylan's own journey as the music legend's 70th birthday celebration is being planned on a grand scale thru a day long concert in Shillong.  

“The idea of 'Guns and Guitars' came to me when a musical instrument shop owner mentioned that a large percentage of his customers belong to the northeast region. Then I thought - while the best of alcoholic beverages from across the country and indeed the world are easily available in the neighborhood wine shop in the northeast and for something as basic as guitar strings the large number of musicians is dependent on music shops from outside the region. Maybe there's another story hidden here,” he said.  

For past 38 years, Lou Majaw has been organizing an annual concert on Bob Dylan's birthday and over the years, this has become somewhat of a legend in itself.   

“Way back in the 1970s I felt a strong urge to thank Bob Dylan for the way his songs had touched my life, and rather than writing him a postcard I thought of thanking him with a birthday concert,” Kotoky said quoting Majaw.             October 2011

Abdul Gani is a journalist and based in Guwahati.