A film made by a young Assamese filmmaker based on the 1962 India-China war will be screened at the Cannes International Film Festival on May 18. The 108-minute English language feature film titled 1962: My Country Land is 28-year-old Chow Partha Borgohain’s debut work. It has been produced by Marbom Mai under the banner Living Dreams.
Borgohain is also the writer and cinematographer of the Rs 2.5-crore film whose music has been composed by legendary Manipuri folk artiste Guru Rewben Mashangva along with Shankar Shankini. The film was shot at Tawang and Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, Sohra in Meghalaya and in Guwahati.
“Whenever people talk about Arunachal Pradesh, the stories of 1962 Sino-Indo war take a forefront. The stories of 1962 are fresh with the locals residing in the affected region but many others forgot the pain and torture the people went through during that time,” says Borgohain, who was born in Arunachal Pradesh and now based at Dibrugarh in Assam.
Watch the trailer of 1962: My Country Land here:
According to him, Jawaharlal Nehru’s iconic statement on AIR “My heart goes out to the people of Assam (at that time Arunachal was a part of Assam)” was “really disheartening as I wondered how our supreme leader could so easily give up on us”.
And this “thought really pushed me to write the story further. I managed to search the archives and also interact with many people and thus the plot began evolving,” said Borgohain from Cannes.
The story of 1962: My Country Land revolves around Luitya, an army Lance Naik who is given the responsibility of surveying the India-China Line of Actual Control in NEFA that may demarcate India and Tibet’s territory.
While surveying, he and his porter Gyatso lost their way in the vast terrain of the Himalayan mountains and end up finding a patch of land which is neither in India nor in China.
They encounter Wang, a trader from the Far East in that village with dark secrets and intentions, and the village chief’s daughter Yaka.
Luitya and Gyatso discover that the patch of land is an unknown and unmapped territory and there is fierce fight between Luitya and Wang to take over the land.
Wang tries to get Yaka but while resisting him Luitya falls in love with her. There an underground rebel leader tries to take over the land but Luitya, Wang and Yaka join hands to defeat him. Luitya, Gyatso, Yaka and Wang then all become friends.
By that time, the war breaks out and Wang and Luitya are forced to return. Luitya promises to return to Yaka once the war is over. Wang sacrifices the land for Yaka and gives up his mission by betraying his nation. War gets over but Luitya is left heartbroken to find that Yaka and the village go missing.