Academy, Oscar, and Golden Globe Award-winning composer, Padma Bhushan Dr AR Rahman, unveiled the first look and teaser of the feature documentary titled ‘Headhunting to Beatboxing’ at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in France. Rahman was joined by Abu Metha, Advisor to the Chief Minister and Chairman of the Investment & Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN), and Theja Meru, Chairman of the Task Force for Music & Arts (TaFMA).

AR Rahman

‘Headhunting to Beatboxing’, directed by Rohit Gupta and produced by AR Rahman, explores the fascinating journey of rhythm and sound, tracing the evolution of music across generations.

Speaking about the documentary, Rahman said, “Music has this transformative power to change society and to connect and bring relevance to existence. ‘Headhunting to Beatboxing’ is a celebration of this universal rhythm that unites humanity in its diverse expressions. We look forward to the start of its film festival journey, and what better place than Cannes, which celebrates cinema, to make the first announcement.”

The documentary promises to take audiences on an immersive and enlightening musical anthropological odyssey, from the ancient traditions of headhunting tribes to the modern musical renaissance in Nagaland.


Abu Metha shared that the idea for the film originated when AR Rahman visited Nagaland for the legendary Hornbill Festival. “We knew we had to be part of it. The film is a collaboration of many creative minds, especially the TaFMA, and masterfully captured by director Rohit Gupta. The real heroes are the musicians of Nagaland, whose music exemplifies the ambition of our youth,” he said.

Metha also highlighted Nagaland’s unique aspects to the international audience, emphasizing the rich cultural heritage of the Nagas. He described Nagaland as an epitome of age-old traditions, vibrant culture, and diverse traditions, exemplified by its numerous tribal festivals, with the Hornbill Festival being the flagship event. He thanked Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and the Central Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, led by Union Minister Anurag Thakur, for their support of the film launch.

Metha further expressed gratitude to Dr AR Rahman for his support and partnership with Nagaland, noting that young Naga musicians are fortunate to be guided and mentored by such a legendary figure. Rahman’s contributions, especially his adoption of an orphanage to empower children through music, were commendable, Metha added.

“A film that took five years in the making. Produced by AR Rahman and directed by the brilliant Rohit Gupta, the film is a story about Naga musicians- a story that goes back millennia and at the same time exemplifies the energy, ambition and the new found confidence of Naga youth,” Metha said on X.

Director Rohit Gupta reflected on the film’s five-year journey, describing it as a metamorphosis. “The rich and vibrant music today, transcending the scars of the past, truly blew me away during the making. I am excited for audiences to witness our hard work and the magic that exists in the music of Nagaland,” he said.

At the launch function, TaFMA Advisor Theja Meru thanked the musicians and artists of Nagaland, emphasizing that this is a significant milestone as Nagaland’s music story will be told positively to the global community.

The film marks Rahman’s second major foray into filmmaking as a producer, following his earlier production, ’99 Songs’. Its executive producers include Abu Metha, Adam J. Greig, Theja Meru, Rohit Gupta, Sheila Houlahan, and Rohhit Daas.


(With DIPR inputs)

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