‘Memories of a Forgotten War’, a documentary on the extreme valour, sacrifice and sufferings of the soldiers and local people in Northeast during World War II, will premiere on online platform Moviesaints on September 2.
The feature-length documentary, directed by national award-winning filmmaker from Assam, Utpal Borpujari, has been produced by well-known cyber security expert Subimal Bhattacharjee under the banner of Jookto.
The documentary will be released coinciding with the day the war that ended 75 years ago.
The film, which was a part of the Indian Panorama at the 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in 2016, had a special screening at the 15th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in 2018.
Made over a period of three years, the film was shot extensively by an international crew in remote battle locations in Manipur and Nagaland, as well as in locations in the UK and Japan in addition to Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and New Delhi.
It features interviews of a number of veterans from the British Indian Army and the Japanese Army who fought each other in the treacherous terrain on Manipur and Nagaland at great human and emotional cost.
The film has some rare footage – such as never-seen-before visuals from inside the Renkoji Temple in Tokyo, which houses the urn containing the purported ashes of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
In fact, this is the first instance of any video being allowed inside the temple.
The only office of Netaji-led Indian National Army (INA) on Indian soil, located at Moirang near Imphal, also features prominently in the film.
Another highlight is the special footage of recovery of the wreckage of a lost 2nd World War plane by an expedition of the US Army in the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh.
“Until the National War Museum of Britain declared a few years ago that the Battle of Kohima was the most important battle fought by the Allied Army during the World War II, ahead of even the Normandy landing and many other such much better-known battles, the battles of Manipur and Nagaland hardly attracted any attention,” said Borpujari in a statement.
“We have tried to bring out some of the memories of those battles by retelling the tales of valour of the young soldiers and of the local peoples who participated in or witnessed those battles,” he added.
Borpujari won the national award for his debut Assamese feature film “Ishu” in 2018.
“We are really happy that this important film is reaching the audiences via Moviesaints, which is promoting quality cinema with a special eye on cinema from Northeast India,” said producer Bhattacharjee.
“Our film is an important part of the history of Northeastern India that needed to be looked at from humanistic point of view before it faded away,” he added.
“’Memories of a Forgotten War’ probably narrates one of the most bone chilling war anecdotes ever in its telling of the Battle of Kohima…and of how dehumanizing the process of war can be!” said MovieSaints chief operating officer Anupama Bose.