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Don Bosco ''The Hand'' film released in Imphal

By C. M. Paul
Chennai, May. 4. The Chief Minister of Manipur Shri  Okram Ibobi Singh released a film entitled ''The Hand'', 1st May at Don Bosco School Imphal, capital city of Manipur in northeast India bordering Myanmar.
The film on St John Bosco, a friend of youth, popularly known as Don Bosco depicts the transformation his followers called Salesians wrought inIndia's North East in the last 90 years.
In a grand ceremony marking the arrival of Don Bosco relics in the city, Shri Singh handed over the first copies of the 25-minute documentary to Shri Rishang Kieshing, local Member of Parliament Rajya Sabha (Upper House,New Delhi).
''The people of Manipur are grateful and proud of what the sons and daughters of Don Bosco have achieved with our people in these past years,'' commented Shri Singh handing a copy to provincial superior of the Salesians of Dimapur province Dr. James Poonthuruthil.
''It is significant that the film is released in the capital of Manipur where four young Salesian missionaries where martyred in recent years at Maram (1997) and Ngarian (2001). In fact, the shoot of the ''The Hand'' film commenced from Ngarian where three of them where shot down. It is also one of the high points of the film and is a pointer to the total commitment of the Salesians to the region,'' said Fr. Poonthuruthil.
With its subtitle, ''Fashioning a people and a region...'' the film traces the arrival of the first Salesians in Shillong (Meghalaya) in 1922 and the many ways in which they endeared themselves to the people of the region and worked with them for development.
''Shooting in all seven states of the region we tried to capture the intense relationship of affection that Northeasterners have for Don Bosco and the Salesians, as well as the Salesians have for North East and its people,'' said award winning film maker of the region, Joseph Pulinthanath of Agartala (Tripura) who gave script and direction for the project.
General Secretary of Don Bosco Alumni Association Dimapur Dr. Stephen Kamson, endorsed the film saying, ''this movie has the aroma of the special relationship that North East has with the Salesians.''
It is jointly produced by two northeast Indian Salesian provinces of Dimapur and Guwahati and three other Salesian institutions - Guwahati-based Don Bosco Institute of Management, Bosco Reach-Out, and Sampari Pictures of Agartala.
The 'Hand' production team included technical experts from Don Bosco IMAGE,Kochi(Kerala).  Jiji Kalavanal sdb of IMAGE, himself a filmmaker of note, does the camera for 'the Hand' while Abhijit Bose of Kolkata (West Bengal) composed the background music score.
Postproduction of the 'Hand' was done at Don Bosco IMAGE Kochi.
Soon after the release ceremony, film buffs were seen making a beeline for stalls that sold DVDs of the 'The Hand'.
''A tribute both to the Salesians and to the people of North East, the film is well accepted by all,'' says Dimapur Salesian Mission Office Director Fr Elow Samuel.
''The demand for DVD copies is so much that we need to think of getting additional copies done quickly,'' he added.
According to the producers, the film would accompany the relic in its tour of North East and be available at all venues.
''There is great enthusiasm among the people for the film. We did not expect such overwhelming response,'' says Cyriac Pulinthanathumalayil sdb of Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) responsible for concept and production design of the film.
''I have a feeling that all 1,000 copies of DVD will be sold out in Dimapur province and we need to make additional copies for Guwahati province,'' he added.
The DVD is available at an affordable price of INR 100  (about USD 2.oo or Euro 1.70) at all DB relics Tour venues of northeast India.

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