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‘Axone’ Holds A Mirror To Our Society That Discriminates Against People From The Northeast

Axone is a Netflix film that focuses on how a group of people from the Northeast region of India migrate to Delhi and face racism in the big city on a daily basis. The plot is about cooking axone or akhuni, a fermented soybean product with a strong aroma, for a friend who is getting married on the same day and the struggles they face while cooking it.

With great hurdles, they finally cooked the fragrant dish and also give a pretty strong message. The movie proves to bring light to the instances that are not taken much into consideration in the country. The cast has portrayed their performance strong enough to highlight the message and subject of the film.

Here are a few reasons to why one must watch Axone:

1. It shows different ways of racism

There are several instances in the movie that showcase racism. The landlady in many occasions passes remarks on the girls Chanbi and Upasana, who are from Northeast India, about their character. She doesn’t let these girls cook any food that has a strong smell. One more instance occurs in the movie in which a guy from Delhi passes a sexual comment on Chanbi in the local market. When the latter raises her voice, she is publicly humiliated with a slap from the guy. Throughout the movie, we see several other racist comments.

2. The message

With all the frustration from the day, Chanbi says to another woman from the Northeast, “We have the right to cook our food,” to which, the latter simply replies, “And they have a right not to smell our cooking!” This shows that we all have the right and the freedom to speak up and raise our voices, but living in a society, one gets muted.

3. The real ‘Bendang’ story

A still from Axone.

The character of Bendang is seen having a timid behaviour due to a tragedy e suffered. This story arc is inspired by a true event that happened to Nido Taniam, a young man from Arunachal Pradesh, who was beaten to death by a mob in Delhi in 2014. The murder of Taniam ignoted people to go out for several rallies and protests.

Unlike the real Taniam, the director, Nicholas Kharkongor, kept his character alive by showing Bendang deal with depression and portraying him as someone who doesn’t get involved with people. However, in the end, he does come around and even sings a Hindi song that he was struggling to sing in the beginning.

4. Sayani Gupta as ‘Upasana’

To show how people from the Northeast region are stereotyped against for their facial features, the film has a character called Upasana, played by Sayani Gupta. Upasana is Nepali, and doesn’t and is not considered ‘one of them’ just because she looks different from the rest of the people from her community.

5. Shiv — the friend we all need

The landlady’s grandson, Shiv, also known as Hyper, proves to be the go-to friend everyone must have. Though the entire gang found him irritating due to his stupid hacks, he was the only who would come up with an idea and helped them till the very end. The character definitely made the film entertaining.

6. The last scene

The wedding scene in the movie proves to be a cultural scenic beauty. All the friends dress up in their traditional outfits and we just can’t take our eyes off of them!

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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