A.R. Rahman unveils docu-film on Nagaland music at 77th Cannes Film Festival

BY | Monday, 20 May, 2024

Academy, Oscar and Golden Globe Award-winning composer Padma Bushan Dr. A.R. Rahman unveiled the first look and teaser, of a feature documentary titled ‘Headhunting to Beatboxing’. The unveiling took place at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in France, mentioned a DIPR report. Rahman unveiled the film along with Advisor to Chief Minister and Chairman Investment & Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN), Abu Metha and Chairman of Task Force for Music & Arts, Theja Meru.

‘Headhunting to Beatboxing’, directed by Rohit Gupta and produced by AR Rahman, delves into the intriguing journey of rhythm and sound, charting music’s growth through generations.

While talking about the feature documentary, Rahman said, “Music has this transformative power to change society and to connect and bring relevance to existence. ‘Headhunting to Beatboxing’ is a celebration of this universal rhythm that unites humanity in its diverse expressions. We look forward to the start of its film festival journey and what better than Cannes which celebrates cinema to make the first announcement on the film.”

From the ancient traditions of headhunting tribes to the musical renaissance in the state, the documentary promises to take audiences on an immersive and enlightening musical anthropological odyssey.

Abu Metha stated, “The germ of the idea came up when AR Rahman visited Nagaland to be part of the legendary Hornbill Festival. We knew we had to be part of it. The film is a collaboration of many creative minds, especially the TaFMA and masterfully captured by director Rohit Gupta. The real heroes are the musicians of Nagaland, who tell stories that go back to times immemorial and their music exemplifies the ambition of our youth”

Metha also highlighted Nagaland and its unique aspects to the international audience present at the launch. He emphasised on the rich cultural heritage of the Nagas and the unique qualities of Nagaland. Comprising of dozens of tribes and sub-tribes, He stated that Nagaland is an epitome of age old traditions, vibrant culture and diverse traditions which are exemplified by the tribal festivals that take place throughout the year. He added that “known as the Land of Festivals, the Nagaland experience is unique and special with the legendary Hornbill Festival being the flagship event”. Metha thanked the Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and the Central Ministry of Information & Broadcasting led by Union Minister, Anurag Thakur for the support extended for the film launch.

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Metha further thanked Dr. AR Rahman for his role in supporting and partnering with Nagaland. He stated that the young Naga musicians are very fortunate to be guided and mentored by a legendary figure. His contributions and partnership, especially by adopting an orphanage to empower them through music is commendable. “This has been made possible due to the constant support and vision of our Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio”, Metha stated.

“5 years in the making, the journey of this film has been a sort of metamorphosis for me. The rich and vibrant music today, transcending the scars of the past is something that truly blew me away during the making. I am excited to see audiences witness our hard work and the magic that exists in the music of Nagaland” added director Rohit Gupta.

Speaking at the launch function, TaFMA Advisor, Theja Meru thanked the musicians and artists of Nagaland emphasising that this is significant milestone for the community as Nagaland’s music story would be told in a positive manner to the global community.

The film marks Rahman’s second major foray into the realm of filmmaking as a producer, with his earlier production being 99 Songs. Its executive producers include Abu Metha, Adam J. Greig, Theja Meru, Rohit Gupta, Sheila Houlahan and Rohhit Daas.


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