Haobam Paban Kumar has created a new chapter in the history of Manipuri cinema by making his first feature film feature in a major international film festival held in South Korea and India Premiere in Mumbai, the capital of Indian cinema. Seventy one minute long Loktak Lairembee tells about the story of Tomba who is sick and depressed since the authorities burnt his huts after blaming his community for the pollution of Loktak Lake. He has confined himself at home and lies idle the entire day, terrified of the possibility that the authorities may return to take whatever is left with him. One fine morning, Tomba accidentally finds a gun within the biomass. At first he is confused, but slowly, starts enjoying his newfound toy.
He becomes aggressive and starts looking for opportunities to use the gun. One day an old lady knocks at his door in the middle of the night. About the film, Paban Kumar states that decades of insurgency and socio-political uncertainty have thrown the society into disarray leaving the people recede into a cocooned existence devoid of any space for free and visible self-expression that evokes compassion and concern for others. He said, “Today when I look at my birthplace Manipur, I see guns all around. Gun – a symbol of authority and ownership… be it the insurgents or the State authorities. We forget that fear and anxiety instil further worries resulting in crass violence ! “I sincerely believe in redeeming our cultural values that propagate an inclusive society imbued with love, trust and tolerance and my film symbolically delves into the ‘fear psychosis’ that leads to mistrust and irresponsible conflicts,” he added.
Haobam Paban Kumar is one of the leading documentary filmmakers in the country. He has a three-year postgraduate Diploma in Direction & Screenplay writing from Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata. Paban Kumar came to limelight with AFSPA 1958, which won the International Jury and FIPRESCI awards at the 9th Mumbai International Film Festival 2006. The film also won the Swarna Kamal for the Best Documentary at the 56th National Film Awards 2008. His documentary- Phum Shang which bagged the Golden Conch in Mumbai International Film Festival 2016 toured around the world with flying colours. Loktak Lairembee is his debut fiction feature film.