Imphal, Jan. 28: Aribam Syam Sharma’s latest Manipuri feature film Leipaklei (2012) has been selected for the Jeonju International Film Festival to be held at Jeonju, South Korea, from April 25 to May 5.
Festival programme co-ordinator June Yun-kyung Kim told Syam Sharma about the selection of the film for the section — Special Section: Beyond Bollywood — of the 14th edition of the international film festival.
“The invitation came after the festival authorities saw my film at the Calcutta International Film Festival held recently. It will open a route for Manipuri feature films made in the digital format to be screened abroad. I am very happy,” Sharma told The Telegraph.
Leipaklei is the first Manipuri video digital feature film selected for film festivals held outside the country.
“This will also provide proper exposure to Manipuri films and our artistes abroad,” he said.
Based on the Sahitya Akademi Award winning play, Leipaklei, written by Arambam Samarendra, the film tells the story of a woman named Leipaklei who is separated from her husband. She lives a hard life with her little daughter.
She had a lover once, but he joined the army and went to war. It was believed that he died in the war and Leipaklei lives in the hope that her lover will return one day.
Leipaklei is the name of a flower — a symbol of patience and strength.
National award winning actress Leisangthem Tonthoingambi plays the protagonist.
Leipaklei had a good response from the audience and critics in the 18th Kolkata International Film Festival in November 10-17 last year and was the inaugural film of the 5th Guwahati Film Festival held in Guwahati in December 10-16 last year.
After scoring music as well as acting in the very first Manipuri film, Matamgi Manipur (1972), directed by Deb Kumar Bose, Aribam Syam Sharma made his directorial debut in Lamja Parshuram (1974), which was a super hit.
The film screened more days than that of Raj Kapoor’s Bobby screened at another theatre in Imphal.
His second Manipuri film, Saphaabi (1979), based on a Manipuri folk story, received the national award in regional category.
His third film, Olangthagi Wangmadasoo (1980), was a blockbuster running successfully more than 30 weeks breaking the record of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay, which was simultaneously screened in Imphal at another theatre.
Imagi Ningthem (1981) was the first Indian film to win a Grand Prix in the Festival of Three Continents, Nantes, in 1982.
His Ishanou (1990) was recently at the Indian International Film Festival, Goa, in the Centenary Indian Film section, among 27 Indian films selected.
Acclaimed as one of the most original filmmakers of the country by international critics, Syam Sharma, now 73, has won five national film awards in Manipuri features and eight national awards in non-features.