We thought our 1936 Amateur Film about Shillong was the earliest moving image representation of Shillong, but we were wrong. Then we went on to make another spurious claim that this 1932 film of Iewduh/Bara Bazaar was Shillong’s oldest filmic representation. Apologies are in order because in the stash of films dumped by that drunk travelling academician also had a 1930 film (most probably by G. Steuart) scratchily telecined. And this time the film was not lost in the colonial picnic fever set in Shillong. It was set mostly in Cherrapunji and showed in its shaky, excitable moving camera, views of local people, dances, archery, religious ritual etc.
Shot List (with our questions)
- Views of Sylhet Plain
- Coal ropeway up Khasi Hills.
- Cherrapunji station
- Dances – are they Gorkha/Nepali dances or Khasi dances?
- A religious procession – whose religious procession do you think this is?
- Scenes of animal beheading. Is it Gorkha ritual?
- Shillong racecourse and golf course.
- Archery – in Sohra or Shillong?
- What tea garden is this?
- Landscapes mostly in Sohra(?). We think one of the shots is of Nohsngithiang Falls also known as Seven Sisters Falls
Unlike the other archival films we have uploaded, this one visual quality is terrible. We have tried to clean it up but viewing does call for some patience.
The way our archival collection keeps going back in time, it may turn out that some Lumiere cameraman may have shot Khasi Hills in the last decade of 19th century itself. If that film is ever found RAIOT will surely hear of it and share.