The critically acclaimed film, Axone just made its debut on Netflix. The movie, named after the traditional pork dish from Nagaland, Axone, pronounced akhuni gives you a sneak-peek into the lives of a group of Northeastern friends who are living away from their homes in New Delhi.
The movie begins with a simple premise, a friend of theirs is getting married and they want to cook her her favourite dish from back home. But soon, Axone brings into foreground the real issue – the struggle of living in a city that doesn’t understand your culture.
These group of friends struggle with their landlord, who won’t let them cook the dish because it smells too strong. And then go on to ask everyone they know in the area if they can simple use their kitchen. The dish works as a simple metaphor for cultural identity.
The film also sprinkles in direct messages in the form of eve-teasing, discrimination and a backstory of violence. Terms like malai, Iski toh aankhien bhi nahi khuli to tum sabh ek jaise dikhte ho are present throughout the film as reminders of casual racism in the country. However, the indirect metaphors are more impactful. They make you think, worry and empathise with the characters on-screen.
Axone is a romance, a thriller, a comedy and a drama. Filmmaker Nicholas Kharkongor portrays a simple day in the lives of North Easterners living away from home, with a slice-of-life tale that stays with you long after you watch it. The cast of the film is icing on the cake, with North Eastern actors playing the roles instead of a bad casting like in the case of Priyanka Chopra playing Mary Kom.
Mary Kom was a film that celebrated a woman from the Northeast but it casted a North Indian actress for the role. And while Chak De! India did manage to talk about the discrimination faced by north easterners in the food court scene and also cast the characters appropriately. Axone is the first film to take it up as the main subject and talk about it extensively.