FAHREL TAWK LAM
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Had the chance to film my wife's Culteral dance. History story: The Hmar women would grind sticky rice out of these large sticks (you see them hopping over). One day they were tired of grinding and decided to have some fun with these sticks as a break; which is now known as the Bamboo Dance. Makeup by @mercysolodyankin soundtrack by Odesza
This personal project was supposed to be completed 3 years ago. Due to so many blessed work we have been getting, it had to be delayed. But I’m proud and happy it’s done. And want to share a quick personal backstory to this short film.
My wife and I married in India. Ever since I visited the first time. I fell in love with Manipur and it’s culture. The country opened my eyes in many new levels. The humbleness and love Manipuri bring is unparalleled. What also stood out is the passion in the Hmar Tribe when it comes to singing.
Did you know Hollywood made a movie about my wife’s tribe? Based on true story of a Hero known as Ro. And I am blessed to have met him before his recent passing.
The third visit to India’s purpose was to introduce our little Amelia to her roots. And for her village to meet her too. It was an amazing experience to celebrate her 1st birthday in a village with her true tribe. Shortly after, we were invited to join the King of Churachandpur (or Chief as the Tribe like to call it) and witness a beautiful tribal performance. It is known as Bamboo Dance. And if any of you are from China, India or similar nearby cultures, you might just get nostalgic seeing the performance as they are all very similar.
So hearing about this dance with my sister in law as one of the performers, I requested if I can film her. And given with permission I did just that. I really enjoyed the performance. (Actual video top of this blog) Shortly after the beautiful dance, some of the folks saw me with my equipment and approached me. I was told of the story of how the dance started:
A couple of Hmar girls were grinding rice to make some special recipe for their family. It required heavy labor, as you can see in the video. During their little break, the men got drunk and started to mess around with big wooden grinders known as Pestle or in Hmar “Fahrel” (the ones girls used to grind rice against the cupped plank) and were simply just playing with the girls until it became as the “Fahrel Tawk Lam” which means “The Coming of Pestles to Make Music”
Learning this, I want my girls to know this rich history. And I thought to myself, why not make the film. The performance is here. I’m here too, and the village is full of talent. And filming it, will guarantee the history will not be forgotten. In less than a few days before flying back home, we gathered everything and everyone together and filmed the mini production all in 2 days. It was an amazing experience and we are thankful to everyone who was involved. And thanks to Jeffrey D Tusing, my brother from another Mother, for also putting in many hours and resources for making this happen.
Also, this video is more special to my wife and I since Little Amelia was casting in the film too as the baby. Her middle name is tribal, “Lalremruot” meaning “The Lord’s Will”.
If God is willing, we would like to make multiple short folklore romance films and also remake the true story of Ro and how the Head Hunters came about meeting Jesus just a century ago!