Rebecca’s celluloid take on witch hunting all set for release
Northeast India, especially Assam, has witnessed a spurt in incidents of witch hunting. A large number of people, especially elderly couples and single women and widows, have been brutally killed in the name of witch hunting in the recent past. The phenomenon of witch hunting, which has much more social ramifications, is not exclusive to the region alone and plagues many other parts of the country. Most cases of witch hunting, however, mostly go unnoticed and there is very little awareness about the issues amongst people outside.
In order to give a voice to this social evil, a Naga designer and film producer has teamed up with other likeminded people to make the first commercial Bollywood movie on the scourge of witch-hunting and its various ramifications. Shooting for the film, ‘The Dark Secrets of Tonhi’, has been almost completed and is set for a nation-wide release by the end of this month.
‘The Dark Secrets of Tonhi’ has been shot in Chhattisgarh, another backward area of the country where witchhunting is widely practiced. The word ‘tonhi’ means black magic in a Chhattisgarh dialect. The film is a platform to create awareness about witch-hunting and the plight of those miserable women who are killed in the name of practicing magic, said Rebecca.
“Our country is developing at such a rapid pace and we are trying to march side by side with other developed countries of the world. As such, it is really sad to note that women are branded as witches in many pockets of the country. The issue of witch-hunting is not just about ignorance as most of these women are killed for ulterior motives like property issues, and the like. This is an alarming issue which needs serious attention and a long-term solution is urgently required to end this brutal practice,” said Rebecca.
A fashion designer by profession, Rebecca who hails from Mokokchung shifted to Mumbai almost six years back. She is involved in the Mumbai fashion industry as a designer and stylist and presently runs her own production house by the name of Fashion Studio and Production House (Find Studios).
Like Assam, black magic is widely practiced in Chattisgarh and the movie was shot in actual locations where such incidents are reported on a regular basis. More than 50 women have been killed for practicing black magic in this year alone, said Rebecca. “The film was shot in real locations where these practices of black magic happen. Natasha Sikka plays the role of the black magic woman and J.Brandon Hill, an American actor plays the role of the doctor who is investigating the case. J.Brandon Hill has acted in movies like Bunti Aur Babli , Raaz 2 , Double Dhamaal to name a few and Natasha Sikka is a mega model and famous for doing bold scenes, she said.
The dark secrets of Tonhi, after its theatrical release in India, shall be sent to various International Film festivals across the globe. Since the content of the movie is very realistic and deals with the injustice that women some times face , this movie will surely attract the critics, Rebecca said.
The movie was shot in various locations of Bilaspur Chhattisgarh in the month of October 2012 . The Muhurat Shot of the movie was done by Hon’ Minister of Health and Family welfare Amar Agarwal at Hotel East Park, Bilaspur
‘Tonhi’ is Rebecca’s second film but will be released before her first venture, ‘Te Amo – I Love You’. She said, “This is our second movie and our first movie, Te Amo, will be released only in August. We had shot the movie in the Northeast and the whole team from Mumbai had a blast in Shillong and GUwahati. The film is about music and creativity depicted through the eyes of artists and a few artists from the region have also been featured in the film.”
As of now, Rebecca is keeping her eyes fixed on the box office. “I hope the film which deals with social issues does well and people react positively to our initiative,” she says.