There are so many things I am proud of Shillong; the Shillong cool weather due to the AC installed by Jesus Christ in celestial Cathedral church, the quintessential herbal Kwai making all the Khasi girls unfit for kissing, the flourishing educational institutes run by catholic missionaries, the seductive girls from all over the northeast headed by Raisa Deb Barma, NE-Mega model 2004 vanquishing the male libido consequently breeding confused races, the kingly Lou Majaw, mesmerizing music videos by Pradeep Kurbah and Jova's compact DVD store in Police bazaar where you get some of the best non-adult movies. Now see what happens when some Khasi, a Mizo and a Manipuri get together in some corner in Shillong.
The first time when I saw Khasi Don and Khasi Jimmy pompously striding down Laitumkhrah road in their boisterous bikes, I thought these guys must be asshole. They didn't look intelligent. They didn't look clever. They didn't look creative. But when I listen to their diligently crafted song Mawlynnai, I became the biggest asshole. I promptly got converted into a Snowhite fan. And I have to make a music video on this song to promote their new album-URANGDAJIED.
Making a good music video usually can cost 31 thousand and 75 paise and can go up to 49 lakhs and 55 paise. But Snowhite as a band didn't have any collective bank balance other than the band members' huge personal accounts. (The bassist DON a lecturer in a college, the vocalist TIMMY an engineer, the guitarist BAHEP a sound engineer and the drummer JIMMY a hot model and a college student). The money that Snowhite have earned from stage gigs, have they spent it on drugs, booze and whores? Ask Snowhite these questions if you are an asshole.
For the production, the only assets we had was the lovely song Mawlynnai by this Khasi band, Mizo Reuben's Canon XL1 camera bought from remote Australia, Manipuri Doren's strong aesthetic and technical sense lauded even in Bihar and our biggest asset FAITH. The Bible says 'Faith can move mountains'. Honestly, we were planning not to move any mountains in Shillong and alter Meghalaya's geography. We just wanted to make a good music video.
In the first scene, Khasi Jimmy - the drummer plays a Khasi warrior. Mini-kong Darinia, our asst. director and make up artist had to use cow's blood (purposely) that could eradicate bulls miles away on Jimmy's face. In fact the bull Jimmy got almost eradicated. He felt sick.
In the second scene, I wanted to shoot in chroma key, which needed a good well-lit studio with a blue screen. I wanted to show Bahep, the lead guitarist running in the nude with Shillong's fast traffic in the background. Hiring a good studio required a good deal of budget that could eradicate the Khasi band Snowhite from this planet before completing their first music video. But we had a novel idea. We borrowed Mizo Maria's sun gun lights and Khasi Don's blue coarse plastic sheet used to cover his monster bike. It was fun shooting, not Bahep's nudity but the cheapest guerilla production technique.
In the third scene, Timmy the vocalist with the power chord needed to be painted in
yellow. We decided to hire Laitumkhrah painter, the wistful Leo. We honestly bribed him with kwai, persuaded him with bidi. If it didn't work, our last option was to kidnap his doting mother. Timmy's scene also needed an exceptional studio with gigantic white screens. I instinctively knew too many slipshod compromises could eradicate me from this tough profession. Poor Jimmy was almost eradicated. But we apprehensively had to be contented in Golf link against the blue sky.
In the last scene, Khasi Don the bassist and talented lyricist play an inquisitive philosopher. We shot in
Our last stop was Mawdong Vision in Laitumkhrah own by Khasi Ampareen Lyngdoh (my weird ex-professor who is a politician now and has become a minister) with Khasi Andreas technically supporting the studio as editor. I guess we were technically smart enough to extract more tea, biscuits and kwai from her house than the economical fees we paid her. I hope kong Ampareen didn't have to consequently sell her non-linear editing machine to pay for her gruesome grocery bills. A chance encounter with NeTV channel Chairman & Managing director, the flamboyant Manoranjana Sihn to show the video in her channel didn't finalize, as the time wasn't ripe.
Ajtak and Headlines Today showed clippings of Mawlynnai video in my interview. People who have watched the video are wild about its strong concept but honestly said it lack the technical excellence like other professional music videos, the ones you see on MTV. Well how much can you achieve with a camera and all the equipments and technical compromises. If people who have seen the Mawlynnai video like it, give the credit to Manipuri Doren, his associate Mizo Reuben and his Australian partner Canon XL1 camera. If you hate it, blame Snowhite.
Snowhite has released their new album-URANGDAJIED. I assure you these guys are really talented. Please do get an album of URANGDAJIED - the ultimate in Khasi rock. Please support local bands. Please support Khasi rock.
PS: The article was originally written 5 years ago in an apartment in
~OINAM DOREN is a writer / filmmaker who is fulfilling his childhood dreams of making connections with different cultures and races.