Haobam’s ‘Mr. India’ bags national film award

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Source: Imphal Free Press

Manipur Information Centre
NEW DELHI, Sep 11: Mr. India,  a non-feature film directed by  Haobam Paban Kumar, the first Swarna Kamal Awardee film maker of Manipur bagged the Best Non-Feature film on Social Issues in the 57th National Film Awards for the 2009 which was announced on Wednesday at PIB Conference Hall, Shastri Bhavan here. Haobam Paban Kumar  was selected for the award in his film for binging alive a motivational and touching story of indomitable human spirit and resilience. The struggle of an HIV patient who overcame all odds and barriers to win Mr. India title.

Haobam Paban Kumar who is the producer and director of the film –Mr. India will receive  the Rajat Kamal medal with Rs one lakh – Rs 50,000 each for producer and for director.

Haobam’s 47 -minute documentary chronicles around the life of Khundrakpam Pradip Kumar Singh who after knowing his HIV status joined a gymnasium defying doctors who had warned him against the rigors of body building. Nine years down the line, Kh. Pradip Kumar has several achievements to his credit, including the ‘Mr. Manipur’ title in 2007. This is a film about a man who is an inspiration for thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS in his home state of Manipur.

The film is an independent experimental venture by Cameramen-Irom Maipak and Avijit Nandy, Editor-Sankha, Production Manager-Deva Laishram, Asst. Director: T. Helendro & Producer/Director Haobam Paban Kumar.

Mr. India was screened at the Kos International Health Film Festival Ippokratis, Greece held from 1-6 Sept 2010 which focused films on health issues, on human beings and on similar theme films from all over the world.

A holder of Post Graduate diploma from Satyajit Ray Film and TelevisionInstitute, Kolkata  in 2006, Paban has established himself as one of the keenly observed voices of contemporary Indian cinema. As a proprietor of Oli Pictures, he has been making Television productions since 1998.

A Cry in the Dark, his 52-minute documentary, was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. AFSPA, 1958—this strangely named documentary was the talk of the town when it was showed at 9th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in 2006. The film- AFSPA-1958 directed by Paban Kumar bagged the best non-feature film in the 56th edition of national Film Awards 2008 and he became the first Swarna Kamal Awardee film maker of Manipur.

Paban today said that he was happy to learn the news. He is currently working on a documentary film on Sumang Lila, the popular traditional theatre of Manipur. Thereafter, he will take up Manipuri feature film which is very lagging behind in Manipuri cinema, he added.

Mention may be made that Manipuri feature film has not its place in the National Film Awards for the last ten years after the Manipuri cinema switched over its general format of celluloid to the primitive format of video.  The last Manipuri feature film which bagged the national film award was Makhonmani Mongsaba’s Chatledo Eidi in 48th National Film Award for the year 2001.

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