Imphal : Tara Ramanujan’s debut Forbidden (Nishiddho) was adjudged the best film, Bharat Mirle got the best direction award while Prabhakar Kunder and Gargi Roy Chowdhury won the prizes for best actor and actress respectively at the Ottawa Indian Film Festival awards, that ended on Saturday.
Haobam Paban Kumar’s second Manipuri feature film – Nine Hills One Valley (2020) – evoking the futility and barbarism of ethnic conflict through the journey of a Tangkhul man travelling to Imphal City, bagged the Special Mention in the June 14-18 festival awards.
The film was selected in the competition section of the festival with other 11 films, said Meghachandra Kongbam, President, Film Society of Manipur.
Tara Ramanujan’s debut Forbidden (Nishiddho) which recounts the unlikely kinship between an ex-idol maker from Kolkata and a tough Tamil midwife bagged the Best Film in the Festival.
The award for Best Direction went to Bharat Mirle for The Road to Kuthriyar; the Best Actress award was won by Gargi Roy Chowdhury for Mahananda; the prize for Best Actor was bagged by Prabhakar Kunder for The Chicken Curry (Koli Taal). and the award for Best Screenplay was won by Deepankar Prakash for Naneera.
The award for Best Short Film went to Together by Azad Alam.
The three-member jury – Mariam Hamdy (Egypt), Premendra Mazumder (India) and Carlos Coelho Costa (Portugal) – selected the awards from the Festival’s official competition.
Anam Ahum was the main protagonist of the 75–minute long film- Nine Hills One Valley produced by Warepam Jhansirani and Haobam Paban Kumar for Oli Pictures. National Film Awardee Irom Maipak and Ranjan Palit were the cameramen. The sound was done by Sukanta Majumdar and Editing by Sankha and Story, Screenplay and Direction by Haobam Paban Kumar.
An accomplished documentarian, a director of two non-fiction features and six shorts since 2005, Haobam Paban Kumar is a prominent voice coming out of the restive eastern Indian state of Manipur, on the border of Burma (Myanmar). He also dabbles in the art of fiction storytelling.
His debut fiction feature, Lady of the Lake (Loktak Lairembee), was featured at the 67th Berlin Film Festival in 2017. Nine Hills One Valley is his second narrative feature.
Winner of the Special Jury Award at the 14th Manipur State Film Awards, the film was selected for the Jogja NETPAC Asian Film Festival, the International Film Festival Trissur, the Kolkata International Film Festival and as part of the India Gold section of the Mumbai Film Festival.
Haobam Paban Kumar said, “Nine Hills One Valley is my personal journey about my intrinsic dilemma of being born in a place like Manipur, which is absorbed into the tapestry of the diversity of indigenous people. Here, people aspire to reach out for an elusive harmony while standing up each day for their forest and land and culture. This film was made during the distressing solitude of the Covid pandemic.”