Bored with his job as a night watchman, Tage Richo turned to filmmaking.
The 42-year-old Arunachalee has directed five feature films to this day in his Apatani dialect and played roles in several local Hindi feature films, including Taro Chatung’s ‘Frontier Students’ in 1993.
Richo was bored with his job of a night chowkidar at the state civil secretariat and desperately wanted to break free. So after three years of service he one day resigned to pursue his dream.
"In 1993, I came to know that an audition for an Apatani audio album was being held at Itanagar. So, I came from Ziro to try my luck. I learnt that Taro Chatung was looking for an artist for his upcoming film ‘Frontier student’," he said.
"Instead of attending the audition, I met Chatung. Just after a brief interaction, he agreed to offer me a role in his film. It was the beginning."
Thereafter, he acted in many short films for Doordrashan Itanagar and also worked as cameraman for the then popular news show ‘News & Views’ under Taro Chatung for more than three years.
In 2003, he directed a comedy film ‘Dolyang Lampii’ in Apatani, and in 2005, he directed ‘Vishwasgath’ a local Hindi feature film. In 2006, he again directed Dolyang Lampii-II.
He also produced two feature films in Apatani ‘O Tanjo Nyima’ and ‘Onya’ in 2011 and 2013 where he played lead roles.
Richo is planning to produce films in his dialect so that the rich cultural heritage of the Apatani community could be exposed to the outside world.
"Finance is one of the major hindrances in Arunachal Pradesh as most of the financers never want to invest in such ventures out of fear of losing money, considering the small profile of the movie-going public in the state," he said.
At best, he points out, they want to produce only small-budget films where scope of creative manoeuvrability is pretty small.