About the film
Zubeni grew up in the 1980s-90s in the midst of a 50-year war for Naga independence. She says its traces still exist today – in her memories, in the photographs she takes, in herself. Elsewhere in Nagaland, 98-year old Cheno Khuzuthrupa remembers the war through a wooden engraving outside his house, while Shoupa and Zubeni talk about an Austrian ethnologist’s photography in the area in the 1930s. Meanwhile, Zubeni’s niece, Hannah will turn 3 in a few months, and Zubeni has been wondering how to capture her image.
In Nagaland, the past lingers on, framed through photographs, casting shadows over the present.
‘Scratches on Stone’ is an exploration of the textures and residue of violence in Nagaland – through the personal experiences of a photographer, Zubeni Lotha; through people and images that remind us of the political violence that the place has been through; and the legacy of the anthropological photographic tradition that has always foregrounded the idea of ‘violence’ among the Naga people.
Amit Mahanti is a filmmaker, cameraperson and editor, who has worked on films and video installations that explore questions of ecological transformation, culture and politics. His films include ML 05 B 6055 (2008), Malegaon Times (2012), Every Time You Tell A Story (2015) and Scratches on Stone (2017)
He has also been selected for art/film residency programs at Khoj Studios, New Delhi; Parco Arte Vivente Experimental Centre of Contemporary Art, Turin; Kran Film, Brussels and Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski, Warsaw. He was also a recipient of the Charles Wallace India Trust Short-term Fellowship, 2016.