| Mr Manipur Kh. Pradipkumar Singh |
Based on a true story, Aribam Syam Sarma’s Mr Manipur is a tribute to Kh. Pradipkumar Singh — a household name in the state — who has won a bodybuilding title and is living a life of dignity despite being diagnosed with HIV eight years ago.
The 22-minute documentary begins with a few close and mid-close shots of a muscleman doing various exercises in the gym, followed by night shots of a bodybuilding competition.
Soon, the results are out announcing Pradipkumar as the winner.
Sarma then goes on to unravel the extraordinary story behind the seemingly ordinary feat.
Newspaper clippings scroll to reveal that Pradipkumar is HIV positive, a fact corroborated by the champion himself at a gathering of eminent personalities: “I am a HIV-positive person and I came to know that in 2000. Since then I am undergoing anti-retroviral therapy. I appeal to the persons with HIV to accept their status.….”
He is made brand ambassador of the Manipur AIDS Control Society and is conferred the honour by the Manipur health minister at a glittering function.
The director’s use of interviews instead of background narration to enlighten the viewers has made the documentary interesting. His drug addiction, contracting the dreaded disease and then going on to win two championships in Pradipkumar’s own passionate but restrained words have lent the documentary a personal touch.
So have his parents’ interviews.
Equally impressive is his doctor’s statement about the process of treatment and his unmatched mental courage and conviction to recover from the disease.
In another interview, he comes across a “miracle man” who has become an inspiration to people living with HIV.
The documentary has been selected for the prestigious 7th MIAAC Film Festival in New York to be held under the auspices of the Indo-American Arts Council from November 5.