Retelling an Ao-Naga folktale in a musical way
Music is something which is deeply ingrained in the lives of the people of the region. Contrary to what many believe, the affinity of the people here for this art form is not something new and the same can be traced back to the early ways of life of the people. For instance, members of the Naga tribe have been known to communicate with one another through singing and they also sing or chant while working in groups or alone, proving the amount of influence music has in our lives. Seeking to bring to life this age-old relationship between music and the people, a group of musicians in Nagaland have now evolved a new form of musical drama, Howey musical drama, which retells an Ao-Naga folklore in a musical way.
The play, Lichaba’s Daughter, is based on a Ao- Naga folklore and has been further modernised for further appeal. It has been scripted by noted musician Guru Arenla Subong. As the folktale goes, Lichaba – the maker of the world – had a daughter called Tsungrosenla, who by chance was married off to an ordinary man. They settled and led a normal family life, till suddenly the wife started reminiscing her earlier days with her father – her beautiful looks and everything else that she had… She wanted to get them back and needed help from the husband. The husband consented to her pleadings and agreed to get the special food from Lichaba. The wife soon started on the diet of special food that her husband brought from Lichaba and very soon, she began to regain her old beauty. The husband was curious to know the reasons for her physical resurgence for even his father-in-law had warned him not to be interested in the food he sent for his daughter. Curiosity however prevailed and the husband, determined to know the reasons for his wife’s transformation, finally realises that she was fond of human flesh, which her father was providing as special food.
Being an ordinary mortal, he realised he cannot cope with Tsungrola, who was the daughter of the great Lichaba (a god). Due to the clash of styles between the heavenly and the mortal, he became more and more determined to get rid of Tsungrola – his wife. With the husband being filled with despair and helplessness, the end of the play is really tragic and heartrending. He finally manages to get rid of Tsungrola, who transforms into a bird after being abandoned on a tall tree left with no means of escape. Colourful and well-dramatised, the entire play is a wonderful concept and is very much pleasing to the eyes.
The cast and crew list of the film includes Arenla M Subong, who plays the part of Tsungrola, and her husband Moa Subong, who plays the role of Meja – Tsungrola’s husband. The character of Lichaba is essayed by Dilip, while the other crew members are Zokoi (Achi and Ato), Ayimla (Atem), Tia (Nungshi and Akato, Vinino (Vinili), Mughato (Longri), Akokla (Akala), Impang (Kivi) and Lisa (Yashi). The child artistes are Marjo, Noel, Lensana and Abigail. The camera was handled by Akum Subong and Imli Subong while the video was edited byMoa Subong. The music and songs were composed by Arenla Subong and Moa Subong.
Recorded in Soulspeak studios of Dimapur, the drama is being marketed globally by US-based Createspace and distributed by Filmbaby, Ryko Distribution/WEA, Netflix Distribution and Super D – all film distributors in the United States. The same is also available for download at Amazon.