Drawing huge attraction, screening of Manipuri films under the Special Manipuri Cinema section titled "Golden Jubilee of Manipuri Cinema" featuring in the ongoing 53rd edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) began at the Maquinez Palace-I in Panjim.
Introducing all about the Manipuri films, Festival Director and Managing Director of National Film Development Corporation Ravinder Bhaskar paid rich tribute to the pioneers of Manipuri cinema which has inspired a generation of storytellers of not only Manipur but of the entire country.
The section was opened on Wednesday night with the films - "Ratan Thiyam The Man of Theatre" directed by Oken Amakcham and "Ishanou", directed by Aribam Syam Sharma.
Oken Amakcham and Kangabam Tomba Singh, the male protagonists of 'Ishanou' who were present at the opening ceremony, were felicitated with a shawl and memento each. Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS) officials -- Secretary, Sunzu Bachaspatimayum and Executive Member and Film Forum Manipur Chairman, Laimayum Surjakanta Sharma were also felicitated before the screening of the two films on Wednesday night.
Other films featuring in the Special Manipuri cinema section of the 53rd IFFI include "Brojendragee Luhongba" directed by S.N. Chand, "Loktak Lairembee" by Haobam Paban Kumar, "Matamgi Manipur" directed by Deb Kumar Bose, and 'Phijigi Mani' directed by Oinam Gautam.
Meanwhile in the non-feature category films such as "Ilisha Amagi Mahaoa directed by Ningthouja Lancha, "Look at the Sky" directed by Ashok Veilou, "The Silent Poet" directed by Borun Thokchom and "The Tainted Mirror" directed by Romi Meitei would be screened in the coming days.
Deb Kumar Bose directed 'Matambi Manipur' was the first Manipuri film, which was released on April 9, 1972. Since then, April 9 is celebrated as birth anniversary of Manipuri cinema.
Prior to the screening of the Manipuri films under the Golden Jubilee of Manipuri Cinema, Manipuri documentary film "Beyond Blast" directed by Saikhom Ratan was screened at INOX, Panaji.
Director Saikhom Ratan and producer Konjengbam Sushila Leima of the film were honoured ahead of the screening.
This year's edition of IFFI also recorded the highest number of 25 delegates from Manipur with many filmmakers, critics, and officials taking part in the film extravaganza.
Despite many odds including resource crunch and lack of investment in technology, Manipuri cinema kept its flag high, thanks to the indomitable spirit of its filmmakers. The NFDC in collaboration with Entertainment Society of Goa is organising the nine-day IFFI, which will conclude on November 28.