No Ho can resist when the drummers beat dama and dumeng.

Plot Outlines

The Mage Porob festival of the Ho people pushes all — young and old — from their village homes to gather for a community dance. No one stops dancing until the sun sets. The film goes deeper asking what is the Ho way of life beyond Mage Porob?

Plot summary

The Ho people remember their ancestors and deities as the dehuri (elder and priest) offer the prayers and best flowers, fruits, leaves and meat. (Kujur) But a festival is not a festival without a community dance. All conflicts come to an end when Mage Porob drags the villagers to the dancing field. Even a mother with a baby taps her feet to the rhythms of dama and dumeng while holding the next dancer with one hand and the baby with the other. The entire village becomes an assembly line. The once-successful music arranger who is now partly disabled still keeps the drummers in sync with his coordinated hand gestures. The dancing field is that place where young members of the community get to meet and approach their future partners. The Sarapancha, an elected local political leader, also joins the dance group for a short while. The real world problem pauses as buckets of water are sprinkled to settle the dust right before the dance starts. The Ho way of life goes much beyond Mage Porob. The people, their language and culture have seen so much change around since the community started moving out of the Chota Nagpur Plateau of present-day Jharkhand and Odisha. (Damodaran) All that change and the nature that every Ho calls home has shaped their animist cultural and religious practices. The film is touched by the free-flow conversations between the villagers that cite folklore, songs and the meticulous jamming of dama and dumeng, two signature percussion instruments that are seen in every single Ho cultural gathering. (Reichel) When the entire film is shot in the Keshpada village, some of the annotative additions along with subtitling were done in collaboration with the Veer Birsa Munda Ho Students Union Odisha (Birbasa) in Bhubaneswar.

Plot synopsis

The Ho people are an indigenous group that has made the lush nature their home for ages now. Majority of the community are in the eastern states of India — Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. This documentary is merely a window to the vast expanse of the Ho people, their language and culture. Set in the Keshpada village of the Mayurbhanj district in Odisha, the entire film is narrated many members of the local community. The film is an outcome of a collaboration with the entire Keshpada village and the Birbasa student group in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, apart a funding support from the National Geographic Society. (Rajpal)

Mage Porob was filmed in 2018 and was released in 2019 for a limited view. It was made public in 2020 with an Open Access with no restriction to the native speaker community. The film follows the festive life of the Ho community. The film’s namesake Mage Porob is one of the most important festivals of the Ho people, and to some extent the other Munda people of which the Ho group is a part of.
According to the Ho genesis legend, Sing bonga (IPA: siŋg bɔŋgaː, Romanization: siṅg baṅgā), the god of creation created Luku kola, the first man on the earth. (Paty) Mage porob is a celebration to pay tribute to Sing bonga. This film was shot around the time of the year when the Keshpada village was busy preparing for the festival. Women cleaned the houses and prepared fresh rasi, a rice-based fermented alcohol and the sal trees were on full bloom. The film would allow the audience to immerse themselves in the tight-knit Ho culture that ensures how men and women respectfully offer rasi to each other and drink as a family. The storyline also follows the sacred worship of “guan bunga, the cattle shed worship by a family elder. When the rasi starts settling and men beat dama and dumeng, the entire village comes to the village ground. Boys bring buckets of water to sprinkle and settle the dust. But when the whole village starts dancing, with women holding babies in one hand and their partners on the other, the dust would not settle so easily.
The Ho people are an Adivasi (a term used across South Asia to broadly include the indigenous peoples) group that belong to the Munda family. The 2011 census of India recorded the Ho population to be 1,421,418 who are spread primarily in India across the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, and a small percentage in Bangladesh and Nepal. The Ho language, that is written with the Warang Citi writing system, is listed as a vulnerable language in the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. (Moseley)


Title Documentary Feature
Language(s) Ho
Name in Ho (Warang Citi writing system)
Name in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) /mɑːge pɔɾɔb/
Director Subhashish Panigrahi
Producer Subhashish Panigrahi
Screenwriter(s) Subhashish Panigrahi
Cast Khuduray Tiyu, Rama Tiyu, Debendra Tiyu, Bagun Singh, Tuna Purty, Matai Tiyu, Bhola Purty, Santanu Tiyu, Sidio Singh, Mathura Singh, Dabung Singh, Jena Singh, Dibakar Melghandhi, Ladura Singh Haiburu, Bipin Chandra Tiyu, Laxmi Haiburu, Singo Haiburu, Phurmi Singh Sundi, Mathura Deogram, Pritam Munduya, Cheley Munduri, Buddha Rout, Lalit Mohan Singh Banara and Kuna Kandeyang
Country of production India
Country of Origin India
Filming location(s) Keshpada, Mayurbhanj district, Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Location scouting Lalit Mohan Singh Banara
Interviews, translation, and coordination Lalit Mohan Singh Banara and Santanu Tiyu
Captioning translation Santanu Tiyu, Mangal Singku, Sibanath Hasdah, Biswajeet Sinku, Kuna Kandeyang, Rabindra Boipai, Vishal Bandra, Rajiv Sawayan, Sunaram Singh
Overall coordination Laxmidhar Singh, Mangal Singku, and
Veer Birsa Munda Ho Students Union Odisha (Birbasa)
Year of Production 2018
Release Dates 30 June 2019 (India)
Duration/running time 40 minutes (appx.) / 00:40:50 (hh:mm:ss)
Genre Documentary
Distribution company O Foundation (OFDN)
Production company O Foundation (OFDN)
Screenwriter Subhashish Panigrahi
Camera Subhashish Panigrahi and Prateek Pattanaik
Recordist (location and Foley) Subhashish Panigrahi
Additional sound Prateek Pattanaik
Advisors Mangu Purty, Eddie Avila
Keywords Ho, Adivasi, indigenous language
Budget US$3,076 (estimated)
Film website
Permanent media archive Film on Internet Archive (
Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR) EIDR:
Official logo DOI logo by International DOI Foundation (Public Domain)
Logo of Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
Summary No Ho can resist when the drummers beat dama and dumeng.
Copyright 2019 © Subhashish Panigrahi. CC-BY-SA 4.0

Technical details

Film type Documentary Feature
Language Ho
Spoken Languages Ho
Colour Info Color
Frame Rate 24 fps
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Stereoscopy No
Captions English (Closed Caption), English (Open Caption)

Viewing and screening

You can watch the entire film online on the Internet Archive or even download and share among others to watch offline for free of cost. You are most welcome to contact the producer if you would like to conduct a discussion post screening.


A detailed dossier containing the datasheet, synopsis and other important details can be downloaded from here.

Promotional posters


Kujur, Joseph Marianus. “The “ho” and their dances.”

Damodaran, Vinita. “Colonial constructions of the ‘tribe ’in India: The case of Chotanagpur.” Indian Historical Review 33.1 (2006): 44-75.

Reichel, Eva. “1 Introduction: Living in a world of plenty.” The Ho: Living in a World of Plenty. De Gruyter, 2020. 7-25.

Rajpal, Seema. “O Foundation and National Geographic Set out to Document Endangered Languages before They Are Lost Forever.” The New Indian Express, 25 Aug. 2018,

Paty, Chittaranjan Kumar. “Changing Tribal Life of Chotanagpur.” Changing Tribal Life: A Socio-philosophical Perspective (2003): 95.

Moseley, Christopher. UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Accessed 16 May 2021.

The Datasheet Last updated: 2021-05-16

Cite this film

O Foundation (OFDN) (December 2, 2022) Film: Mage Porob (2019 documentary). Retrieved from
"Film: Mage Porob (2019 documentary)." O Foundation (OFDN) - December 2, 2022,
O Foundation (OFDN) May 13, 2021 Film: Mage Porob (2019 documentary)., viewed December 2, 2022,<>
O Foundation (OFDN) - Film: Mage Porob (2019 documentary). [Internet]. [Accessed December 2, 2022]. Available from:
"Film: Mage Porob (2019 documentary)." O Foundation (OFDN) - Accessed December 2, 2022.
"Film: Mage Porob (2019 documentary)." O Foundation (OFDN) [Online]. Available: [Accessed: December 2, 2022]

Logo of Internet Movie Database (IMDb) Official logo DOI logo by International DOI Foundation (Public Domain)

© 2020. Subhashish Panigrahi. CC-BY-SA 4.0