IMPHAL, Sept 16 � Mr India, a non-feature film produced and directed by Haobam Paban Kumar, the first Swarna Kamal Awardee film maker of Manipur, bagged the best non-feature film on social issues award in the 57th National Film Awards.
Kumar�s film was selected for bringing alive a motivational and touching story of indomitable human spirit and resilience. The film is based on the real-life struggle of an HIV positive patient who overcame all odds and barriers to win �Mr India� body building title. Kumar receives the Rajat Kamal medal with Rs 1 lakh in cash � Rs 50,000 each for being the producer and the director.
Haobam�s 47-minute documentary chronicles the life of Khundrakpam Pradip Kumar Singh, who after knowing his HIV status, joined a gymnasium defying doctors who had warned him against the rigors of body building.
Nine years down the line, Kh Pradip Kumar made several achievements, including the �Mr Manipur� title in 2007. This film is about a man who is an inspiration for thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS in his home State Manipur.
The film is an independent experimental venture by cameramen Irom Maipak and Avijit Nandy, editor Sankha, production manager Deva Laishram, assistant director T Helendro and producer/director Kumar.
Mr India was screened in the first week of this month at the Kos International Health Film Festival (in Greece), which focusses on films on health issues, on human beings and on similar themes from all over the world.
A post graduate diploma holder from the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute of Kolkata in 2006, Paban has established himself as one of the keenly observed voices of contemporary Indian cinema. As a proprietor of Oli Pictures, he has been into TV productions since 1998.
A Cry in the Dark, his 52-minute documentary, was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. AFSPA, 1958 � this strangely named documentary, was the talk of the town when it was showed at 9th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in 2006. The film bagged the best non-feature film in the 56th edition of National Film Awards 2008 and he thus became the first Swarna Kamal Awardee film maker of Manipur.
Kumar is currently working on a documentary film called Nupi Shabi, based on males acting as female during Sumang Lila, the popular traditional courtyard play of Manipur. Thereafter, he will take up Manipuri feature film which is very lagging behind in Manipuri cinema, Kumar said.
The last Manipuri feature film to bag a national award was Makhonmani Mongsaba�s Chatledo Eidi in the 48th National Film Award for the year 2001.