The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 19 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aribam repeats double crown feat

Imphal, March 18: Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma has repeated a rare feat of winning two national film awards in two different categories the same year.

While his Leipaklei won the Rajat Kamal for being the best Manipuri feature film, his documentary on polo, Manipuri Pony, bagged the Rajat Kamal in the non-feature film category in the 60th National Film Awards, 2012. The awards were announced in Delhi by chairpersons of the three juries — Basu Chattarjee for feature films, Rana Raje for non-feature films and Swapan Mullick for best writing in cinema — in a media conference today.

Syam Sharma had bagged double awards in 1991 with his feature film Ishanou and a non-feature film, Indigenous Games of Manipur.


Film circles here said there was no Indian filmmaker yet who had ever repeated the feat, leave alone achieve it.

Manipuri Pony, which won the best exploration/adventure film award was directed by Syam, produced by Films Division and written by his son, Aribam Gautam. The award carries Rs 50,000 each for the producer and director.

The film traces the historical significance of the game of polo, which has its origin in Manipur and is played all over the world. The film reveals lesser known facts and contrasts these with the current state of the Manipuri pony, which seems to have no role to play in the present context.

Leipaklei, produced and directed by Syam Sharma, carries a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh each for the producer and director.

The film tells a simple story in a straightforward and simple narrative highlighting social realities in Manipur.

“I am very happy because I work both on feature and non-feature films and I am told that there is no filmmaker in India who could win awards in two different categories till now,” Syam told The Telegraph.

He is especially happy because Leipaklei is a kind of tribute to his friend Arambam Samarendra, who was a playwright and had written the story for the film. “For me, the film is a tribute or homage to my friend who is no more. We worked together in our theatre days and I directed many plays written by Samarendra,” Syam said.

He said the award to Manipuri Pony was an acknowledgement to the historical significance of the pony in Manipur. “I feel very bad about the dwindling role of the pony in our society,” he said.

Apart from Syam Sharma’s films, Baandhon (Assamese) and Ko:yad (Mising) bagged the Rajat Kamal for the best feature films in their respective languages.

Ko:yad also bagged the Rajat Kamal for best cinematography.

Moni Bordoloi bagged the Rajat Kamal for best narration /voiceover in a short film, Suranjana Deepali (Assamese), with the jury deeming her narrative, “Evocative, gentle and understated, the voiceover gives a meaningful expression to the subject of the film.”

Veteran actor Bishnu Kharghoria, who played an old man in Baandhon, was awarded with the Jury’s Special Mention Award “for emoting the life and moods of an old man caught in the vortex of the tragedies of life”.