Interview with team “My Japanese Niece”
By W Rorrkychand Singh for KanglaOnline
“Feeling really happy……….as per scheduled we have started mock shooting”- Mohen.
Almost after 2 years of arduous research and paper work, team ‘My Japanese Niece’ (MJN) is all set for light, camera and action. Probably for the first time in Manipur, we are undergoing mock shooting, director of the upcoming war documentary movie, Mohen Naorem informed in a candid interview with entertainment reporter of www.kanglaonline.com.
Here is an excerpt of the interview with the director along with Junichi Kajioka, the main protagonist of MJN……..
KO: How are you preparing for your role?
Junichi: Most of the Japanese soldiers died because of hunger not because of malaria, cholera or any other epidemic diseases. I’m playing 25 to late 40s in the film and when I look like a hunger starved Japanese soldier I will be in my late 40s. Dieting is on and at the same time hectic practices ahead to portray the same youth to be seen as an old man.
KO: Something about the Budget
Mohen: Earlier, while we were scripting the first script, without any war scene it was estimated around 1-2 crore but it has multiplied only to bringing an actual war background. The realistic aspects of the film could do only with locations, costumes and properties like tank, explosions, sophisticated weapons, helicopter, antic, gigantic stage etc….. and here comes the need to hike the budget.
KO: How would you incur the budget from the present Manipuri film market?
Mohen: No, no its an international venture, already talked with Japanese ambassador for tie up and it aims at international markets; there are plenty of it. Interestingly, the Ambassador was touched with the story line that he assured to make use of the movie for promotion of peace around the globe.
KO: Comparatively, it’s a small budget with other international ventures; what do you really expect from MJN?
Junichi: I don’t think about budget; I don’t decide the film to involve depend on its budget. MJN is special and a meaningful project- without doubt it would strengthen the bonding between Japan and Manipur. It has a good subject matter and it’s very rare to find such film; we cannot see such project anywhere, it does not matter how much he (Mohen) pays for me.
Most of the war film is based on “who killed and who rose,” but this film is something that would message across to the world about peace and “help even in the war front to save lives”.
Mohen: Luckily, there would not any draught for funds as long as blessings of supporters exist; peace-lover individuals and even from overseas have join and ready to lend their hands in this project.
KO: About the rumour- MJN is a joint project with some foreign Embassies, how far it’s true?
Mohen: No, it’s not. But we met Japanese Embassy in New Delhi and they also welcomed such an effort to promote international peace, love and solidarity. They are actually looking forward about MJN and even hope to make use of the films to promote their diplomatic relation with Korea and China.
Apart from it they were so anxious and at the same time serious about MJN, that if it turn out to be another blow to the history of Japanese. So they even asked me to make some good side of them. When, some Japanese political affair officers came to Manipur they literary went on asking about this movie to some high level officials including our Chief Secretary and officials of state Tourism department, “One such movie is coming from your state, what would be the consequences of it?” I came to know about the gravity of their curiosity about MJN through Indo-Japan Friendship Association, Imphal. In fact is- they want to cross some political limits with MJN, where political affair does not succeed so far.
KO: Movie of such genre might require lots of research and field works?
Mohen: Yes! Work started since 2011 and now research and field study is almost at the stage of culmination. Feeling really happy………. As per scheduled we have started mock shooting.
KO: Mock shooting, is it so necessary?
Mohen: We believe on perfection, though the film is from Manipur, audience around the globe is waiting to witness it.
KO: Where will the film be shot….?
Mohen: The film will be shot at Manipur, Bangkok and Japan. The war scenes will be shot at Bangkok. Initially it would be shooting in Japan and some part of Indo-Myanmar border.
KO: MJN a brainchild of whom?
Mohen: It’s team effort. See, not only acting in the film, Junichi is helping me as production manager, making the cost effective so that it can be have a good move in a low budget as well as selection of location, drafting of script etc…throughout each and every development of the film. But the main location is- Manipur. The Manipur scenes will be shot at Kamray Ching, and Mongjam.
KO: Lastly, any other Manipuris in the film?
Mohen: There are some, apart from well-know faces like Bala and Abenao, we are in search of new talents. Abenao would be seen in a challenging role.
KO: Tentative date of release?
Mohen: On the 70th anniversary of the battle of Imphal in the year 2014, its gonna be a big incident.
Production: Legend Studio Production
Director: Naorem Mohen
1) Fanny Fandora (French)
2) Sheria Vallah (Iran)
3) Deepsikha Poddav (Bengali)
4) Robert Megha (Manipuri)
Music: Luna Luna (Japanese)
Camera: Elfassy (French) (CNBC, Discussion)
Costume: Japanese USA based
Photos courtesy: Rorrky, MJN Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MyJapaneseNiece)