'Lady Of The Lake' Travels From Manipur to Berlin for the International Film Fest
GUWAHATI: Manipuri filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar has won several awards before but his debut feature film -- Loktak Lairembee’s (Lady of the Lake) has become even more special as it has been selected for the prestigious 67th Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival 2017.
The ‘Forum’ section of the Berlinale which features ‘avant-garde, experimental works, political reportage and yet-to-be-discovered cinematic landscapes’ will screen two Indian films.
The other Indian film is Newton by Amit V Masurkar.
For a state like Manipur, which grabs the headlines throughout the year for negative reasons, it’s a huge achievement. Paban Kumar’s film is second after ‘Ishanou’ by Aribam Syam Sharma in Cannes in 1990 to get recognized in a major global film festival. This is a rare feat.
“I think it’s very important for me and the entire region. When Aribam (Syam) Sharma ji’s film went to Cannes, the whole generation was inspired. It’s an inspiration for all of us. I was a bit worried with my first feature film but to reach to this level is a very great thing for me,” Paban Kumar said.
The 71 minute deals with the gun violence which is one of the major worries for not just Manipur but most of the northeast region.
Here is the synopsis: The Loktak Lake is a unique ecosystem where fishermen lived in huts built on floating biomasses. In 2011, the authorities, in the name of protecting serenity of the ecosystem, burnt down the huts leaving thousands of fishermen homeless. Tomba, one of the victims, lives with a harrowing nightmare of looming displacement since then. He is haunted by seamless fear of further intervention of authorities that would make him homeless forever.
Confined in his makeshift hut, Tomba senses the spirit of evil around, while his wife Thambalsang works hard to make their living. One fine morning Tomba accidentally finds a gun hidden within the biomass. He marvels with the gun as his power of self-protection. He transforms himself to an assertive man who is looking for an appropriate offense. One day, an old lady who mysteriously wanders in the lake, knocks at his door in the middle of the night. Fearful Tomba, anticipating the lady as the spirit of all evils, chases her and commits an unintended crime.
“In a larger context it talks about the whole problem of the northeast. Gun does not lead us to anywhere. All my ideas come from the day to day happenings around us in the contemporary life. I think it was important to talk about the issue at that point of time when I was planning to make the movie,” Paban Kumar added.
A graduate of Kolkata’s Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Paban Kumar made his first documentary, AFSPA, 1958, about the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act, in 2006 which was highly appreciated by the critics globally and has won several awards.
His other works which were critically acclaimed are Mr India (2009), about an HIV positive body builder, and Ruptured Spring (2012), about child soldiers.
Three of his films – AFSPA 1958, Mr India and Floating Life – have won National Film Awards.