Here is an exclusive interview with the young and promising Khamon production team of Ramew Ramia from Shillong
Here is an exclusive interview with the production team of 'Ramew Ramia' which has generated quite a buzz simply because of its artistic storytelling mode which goes on to explore the paradigms of a person's inner thought which makes it a must watch short Khasi movie of late.
Greetings from TNT. May I have your introduction?
Ramew Team: Hello! We are Khamon Productions from North Eastern Hill University, consisting of Damechwa Lyngdoh Mawnai, Josiah Lyngwa, Ribha Merry Suchiang and Balumbokstar Nongbri.
TNT: I have to ask you, does the team go by a specific name? If yes, does it reflect the teams character? Who came up with the name?
Dame: Well as a team we decided to go with Khamon Productions, Khamon was derived from a song, which Josiah shared with the group one day. The song was sung by a Khasi singer and instead of saying "come on" we miss heard his pronunciation as Khamon, It was this song which entertained us during the conceptualization phase of the film and the song we sing when we are on shoot "Khamon". Everyone in the team was pleased with Khamon and besides it's like a motivation for us to "Khamon work harder" for the film.
TNT: Who has influenced you the most?
Jo: My mom, the things around me, Hayao Miyazaki, ODESZA and folklore literature.
Damechwa: I am heavily influenced by nature and my hobbies include Photography and I have been practicing Photography as a Professional and an amateur for over 5 years now. I also did a little bit of film making during my Undergraduate Course in Pune.
After meeting Josiah in college I was refreshed and inspired to learn more and want to learn more about Photography and the post processing aspect of modern day Digital Photography. Famous film movements like the Italian Neo-Realism movement also inspired me, with the use of natural light and amateur actors.
TNT: How would you consider your production genre? Who have had a huge impact on the type of works you make?
Jo: We don't label ourselves as part of any genre, since we're officially a temporary group working together under the university guidelines but we hope to carry on our works in the near future. My deepest thanks to Ma'am Amanda Tongper, whom I consider an artist who inspired me to learn more about literature and art.
TNT: Does the team have any ideology it adheres to? If yes, how does it influence you?
Jo: As a team we are not inclined to any certain ideology, we go with the flow, just chill and have a cup of sha saw, let the universe take over.
Damechwa: As Josiah mentioned we don't incline to any ideology. We just plan one day at a time, with a rough plan of what we were going to shoot for the whole week and we just processed one day at a time.
TNT: How was the latest work Ramew Ramia conceived?
Jo: It is a product of the mindset of a "khasi boy" who thinks he's trap in society, his daydreaming obsession of the unseen world, folklore-fantasy and his introversive nature that gave birth to RAMEW RAMIA. But it gradually turned into a beautiful work of art which addresses the moral decay of the Khasi identity and slowly detaching itself from its divine inheritance.
TNT: Did you avail the help of sponsors or government aid? If yes or no, what are your thoughts on this?
Jo: As a team, we were having concerns regarding sponsorship but then we felt the need that we should concentrate more on the creative aspect rather than focus on something we were not really good at and we didn't have much time, so by all means we had to complete the film in a very short span of time. I would like to thank Aubrieta A. Wankhar and Gordon Kharsyiemiong for their endless support towards our team and many other people who have helped us along the way, thank you.
Damechwa: First of all, as a team we rarely thought about the financial aspect for the film. But funds was needed and for this film frankly being a college project and we didn't have enough time, we decided not to look for any sponsorship and we went ahead and shot, compiled and edit the film. As Josiah mentioned we had a lot of support from Friends and tremendous support from our families.
TNT: I've watched Ramew Ramia, it is really good! Help me through the creation process though, how long did it take to complete?
Jo: We shot the film continuously for a week and did some retakes after that, a total of two weeks. I'm blessed and fortunate to have a great team starting with Dame, he's very good with camera work and helped me with the creative process and management, above all he's a professional, a very humble and gentle human being, also Ribha and Balum for being very cooperative and helpful throughout the whole process.
The most important idea of the film is to get the message to the audience. We incorporated moral themes, poetry, abstracts, all kinds of elements that make up the Khasi Identity and most importantly the cultural traditional vibrance of the Khasi Land. The flow of the film is conceived from the idea of "a play within a play" an idea that I got from Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" which I read during my college days, it became the foundation on how to construct a psychological effect of a dream, just like Christopher Nolan's Inception.
TNT: What was the most difficult part of creating this movie in particular?
Jo: Well…it had to be the scene where Kyrshan tried to commit suicide by drowning himself, we did more than six takes and mostly failed attempts, and we thought of removing the scene, but luckily during the editing process we were able to make it work.
Damechwa: Difficulties we faced are none. I'd like to count difficulties as obstacles, ones, which we as a team can always overcome. And Yeah, we dodged a re-shoot as Josiah was able to make the drowning scene work in the end.
TNT: What are you really trying to convey through this particular movie?
Jo: Never forget where you came from, trust God and believe there's good out there.
Damechwa: The film is out there for everyone to see, and there are many ways people can interpret the film. From my perspective, there are many layers in life ranging from simpler times to the struggle of an adult and a family; life in its greater sense and life to the many struggling students who are looking for a livelihood, towards temptations of the world and the end that is all like a dream. For us humans, we live our life according to our choices.
TNT: Who wrote the script for it?
Jo: I came up with the idea, then we had continuous informal discussions, brainstorming and just basically enjoying. The idea is to maintain a comfortable environment, without having any external interference that can disrupt the creative process.
Damechwa: The main idea for the film was conceptualised and conceived by Josiah and he also had a script he had written beforehand. When it was time for the script, we all sat together and brainstormed ideas. We changed the story when needed. Personally I loved the way Josiah came up with the idea and the first time he shared the idea with me I had goosebumps. I am glad that the film came together beautifully.
TNT: As a team, where do you derive your inspiration from?
Jo: Nature, Sha Saw, Smuk and passionate human beings.
Damechwa: As a Team I derived my inspiration from my teammates, close friends and the fact that the story has to be told.
TNT: How hard is it to create an original piece?
Jo: Actually, it wasn't that hard, even though we had problems from the very beginning of this project with numerous people who don't understand creativity, but we are grateful for a few who believed in us and drove us to our maximum potential.
I would like to thank the Dept. of Journalism and Mass Communication, the professors for their continuous effort and motivation towards our team.
TNT: Have you screened your movie at an event?
Jo: At the moment we are trying, if we could do that then it'll be great but foremost, we need public support.
TNT: What's in store for you guys this year? Any new production coming up?
Jo: Well…I don't know, Christmas? ..hehe. Nope, no updates for now.
Damechwa: For now we have no plans apart from a few ideas. If anything comes up everyone will know
TNT: When did you guys really decide to become a team? How would you describe your journey so far?
Jo: Since the beginning of the first semester and we also shared common interest and likes. So far the journey is absolutely amazing, we've been getting positive response from friends and families.
Damechwa: Josiah shared the idea with me and I knew that it was an awesome Idea, I just wanted to help make it a reality. He's quite the thinker and he can visualise and put what he saw into frames. So in the second semester when we were asked to make a group Josiah, Ribha, Balumbokstar and I came together to form a team, it was an easy decision.
TNT: Would you like to convey anything to our readers?
Jo: I would like to close this conversation with a quote from the great Hayao Miyazaki , "A child entering this world, must sit in another's chair, eat food from another's plate, sleep in another's bed".
TNT: Thank you for your time. We wish you the best and keep making good productions!
Jo: Thank you for giving us this opportunity! God bless you and the rest of the TNT team.
Damechwa: Thank you for the opportunity and platform to enable our voices to be heard. Please do watch the film like and share it Thank You and God Bless.
-Interviewed by Auswyn Winter Japang.