The Shillong Chamber Choir and the Little Home School
The Shillong Chamber Choir and the Little Home School
IDFA 2008

The Shillong Chamber Choir and the Little Home School

Urmi Juvekar
27 min
International Premiere
Festival history
Neil Nongkynrih, a famous concert pianist who studied and worked in London for 13 years, grew tired of his hectic, elitist career and decided to return home. He found his personal refuge in the picturesque hills of Shillong, in Northeast India, and decided to start a chamber choir there. Although the project was low profile at first, the choir became so good that soon it was performing in London, Milan, Sri Lanka and in many big cities across India. Nongkynrih wanted to help underprivileged, disabled children who came to him from neighbouring villages. Some weren't all that musically gifted, but he just couldn't turn them away. The Shillong Chamber Choir has become an experiment for Nongkynrih, a little spiritual oasis in a materialistic world. He teaches the children to remain humble and share whatever they have. In practicing music, they are strictly disciplined but still playful and eager to sing popular Hindi film songs. The choir performs Western songs, but also Khasi music, characteristic of the people living in "the abode of clouds", or the Meghalaya, as it is called in Sanskrit. "They sing so beautifully, the purity in their voices is so touching that you can't help getting moved to tears when you hear them," says the director, for whom this observational film was also a special challenge.
Screening copy