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‘Eigi Kona’ best Manipuri feature film in 67th National Film Awards

Produced by Dr K. Sushila Devi, under the banner of Luwangpokpa Mamikol Productions, the 90- minute Eigi Kona is an index of how polo players and ponies are leading pathetic lives in the birthplace of polo

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Imphal: ‘Eigi Kona’ (Stallone My Pony), directed by Bobby Wahengbam and Maipaksana Haorongbam won the best Manipuri feature film in the 67th National Film Awards on Monday.

The 67th National Film Awards were announced on Monday evening in New Delhi, with the honours for films from the year of 2019. The awards function were initially going to be held in May last year but were delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The awards are given out by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation that comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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The awards are presented by the President of India traditionally. However, for the 66th National Film Awards, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu did the honours, while the President Ram Nath Kovind hosted the high tea for the winners.

Produced by Dr K. Sushila Devi, under the banner of Luwangpokpa Mamikol Productions, the 90- minute Eigi Kona is an index of how polo players and ponies are leading pathetic lives in the birthplace of polo. Thawai, a young boy loves to play Polo riding Stallone, a pony. Like him, Stallone is a descendant of the horse his famous grandfather’s mount on the polo field. Again, like him, horses are in a pathetic condition for want of food and shelter. Poverty drives his father to sell off Stallone. Thawai becomes sick with the pangs of separation from Stallone. Such a wonderful and skilful polo pony is now being used to ferry liquor as it is more paying financially.

Unable to see Thawai’s suffering, all including the coach, mentor, and family members try to bring back Stallone. The owner, who used to be a great player himself, finally hands over the pony to Thawai for the love of the game.

Speaking to The North East Affairs, Bobby Wahengbam said the award was just a stepping stone to do something better and make quality films in future.  About the current state of affairs of cinema in Manipur, he said there are abundant talents in Manipur, but it is very difficult to channelize them in a proper way.  We need patronage or collective efforts either from the state government or from like-minded people if want to compete at the international level, he added.

The co-director of the film, who incidentally also wrote the screenplay, shared his sheer joy at winning the award not just for himself but at the thought that Manipuri cinema has once again managed to take a center stage.  He dedicated the award to all members of the unit, actors, technicians and everyone involved in actualizing his imagination on the screen. He also has a special word of thanks for the producers, Dr Sushila who made this journey of ‘Eigi Kona’ possible.

Director Priyadarshan’s Malayalam war epic Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea, that is headlined by Mohanlal, won Best Feature Film. The film is yet to be released in theatres, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The best acting honours went to Manoj Bajapayee for Bhonsle, Dhanush for Tamil film Asuran, and Kangana Ranaut for two of her films: Panga and Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi.

Here is the complete list of all the winners:

Feature Film Awards

Best Feature Film: Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam)

Best Actor (shared): Manoj Bajpayee for Bhonsle (Hindi), and Dhanush for Asuran (Tamil)

Best Actress: Kangana Ranaut for Panga (Hindi) and Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (Hindi)

Best Supporting Actress: Pallavi Joshi for The Tashkent Files (Hindi)

Best Supporting Actor: Vijay Sethupathi for Super Deluxe (Tamil)

Best Director: Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan for Bahattar Hoorain (Hindi)

Best Debut Film of a Director: Mathukutty Xavier for Helen (Malayalam)

Best Child Artist: Naga Vishal for KD (Tamil)

Best Action Direction: Avane Srimannarayana (Kannada), Vikram Mor

Best Choreography: Maharishi (Telugu), Raju Sundaram

Best Special Effects: Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam), Siddharth Priyadarshan

Special Jury Award: Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Tamil), Radhakrishnan Parthiban

Best Lyrics: Prabha Varma for Kolaambi (Malayalam)

Best Music Direction: D. Imman for Viswasam (Tamil)

Best Background Music: Prabuddha Banerjee for Jyeshthoputro (Bengali)

Best Make-up Artist: Ranjith for Helen (Malayalam)

Best Costumes: Sujith Sudhakaran and V. Sai for Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam)

Best Production Design: Anandi Gopal (Marathi), Sunil Nigwekar and Nilesh Wagh

Best Audiography (Location Sound Recordist): Iewduh (Khasi), Debajit Gayan

Best Audiography (Re-recordist of final mixed track): Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Tamil), Resul Pookutty

Best Screenplay (Original): Jyeshthoputro (Bengali), Kaushik Ganguly

Best Screenplay (Adapted): Gumnaami (Bengali), Srijit Mukherji

Best Screenplay (Dialogue Writer): The Tashkent Files (Hindi), Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri

Best Cinematography: Jallikattu (Malayalam), Gireesh Gangadharan

Best Editing: Jersey (Telugu), Navin Nooli

Best Children’s Film: Kastoori (Hindi)

Best Film on Environment Conservation: Water Burial (Monpa)

Best Film on Social Issues: Anandi Gopal (Marathi)

Best Film on National Integration: Tajmahal (Marathi)

Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Maharishi (Telugu)

Best Female Playback Singer: Savani Ravindra for Bardo (Marathi)

Best Male Playback Singer: B Praak for Kesari (Hindi)

Best Films in Each Language:

Best Hindi Film: Chhichhore

Best Telugu Film: Jersey

Best Malayalam Film: Kalla Nottam

Best Tamil Film: Asuran

Best Paniya Film: Kenjira

Best Mishing Film: Anu Ruwad

Best Khasi Film: Iewduh

Best Chattisgarhi Film: Bhulan the Maze

Best Haryanvi Film: Chhoriyan Chhoron Se Kam Nahi Hoti

Best Tulu Film: Pingara

Best Punjabi Film: Rab Da Radio 2

Best Odia Film: Kalira Atita and Sala Budhar Badla (shared)

Best Manipuri Film: Eigi Kona

Best Marathi Film: Bardo

Best Konkani Film: Kaajro

Best Kannada Film: Akshi

Best Bengali Film: Gumnaami

Best Assamese Film: Ronuwa – Who Never Surrender

Special Mentions: Biriyani (Malayalam), Jonaki Porua (Assamese), Lata Bhagwan Kare (Marathi) and Picasso (Marathi)

Non-Feature Film Awards

Best Voice-over/ Narration: Sir David Attenborough for Wild Karnataka (English)

Best Music Direction: Bishakhjyoti for Kranti Darshi Guruji – Ahead of Times (Hindi)

Best Editing: Arjun Gourisaria for Shut Up Sona (Hindi/ English)

Best Audiography: Radha (Musical), Allwin Rego and Sanjay Maurya

Best On-Location Sound Recordist: Rahas (Hindi), Saptarshi Sarkar

Best Cinematography: Savita Singh for Sonsi (Hindi)

Best Direction: Sudhanshu Saria for Knock Knock Knock (English/ Bengali)

Best Film on Family Values: Oru Paathira Swapnam Pole (Malayalam)

Best Short Fiction Film: Custody (Hindi/ English)

Special Jury Award: Small Scale Societies (English)

Best Animation Film: Radha (Musical)

Best Investigative Film: Jakkal (Marathi)

Best Exploration Film: Wild Karnataka (English)

Best Educational Film: Apples and Oranges (English)

Best Film on Social Issues: Holy Rights (Hindi) and Ladli (Hindi)

Best Environment Film: The Stork Saviours (Hindi)

Best Promotional Film: The Shower (Hindi)

Best Arts and Culture Film: Shrikshetra-Ru-Sahijata (Odia)

Best Biographical Film: Elephants Do Remember (English)

Best Ethnographic Film: Charan-Atva The Essence of Being a Nomad (Gujarati)

Best Debut Non-Feature Film of a Director: Raj Pritam More for Khisa (Marathi)

Best Non-Feature Film: An Engineered Dream (Hindi)

Other Awards

Most Film Friendly State: Sikkim

Best Book on Cinema: A Gandhian Affair: India’s Curious Portrayal of Love in Cinema, by Sanjay Suri

(Special mentions: Cinema Paharana Manus by Ashok Rane and Kannada Cinema: Jagathika Cinema Vikasa-Prerane Prabhava written by PR Ramadasa Naidu)

Best Film Critic: Sohini Chattopadhyay

Producer:

Dr. K. Sushila stepped into film production as an extension of her cultural activism. “Eigi Khangatlaba Wareng Khara” (My Selected Works: An Account) and “Cyclical Odyssey around the Universe” are the two books she has written so far. Dr. Sushila retired from government service as the director, Art & Culture department. “Eigi Kona” is her second feature film. 

Director:

Bobby Wahengbam is an actor, writer, teacher and filmmaker. He is the national award recipient for the Best Book on Cinema in the 65th National Film Award, 2017 for his book, ‘Matamgi Manipur – The first Manipuri Feature Film.’ At the state level, Bobby is awarded the ‘Best Book on Manipuri Cinema’ for his second book, “Manipuri Cinema: A World of its Own” in the 10th Manipur State Film Awards 2016. In the same year, he also received the state awards for the ‘Best Film on Sports/Social Issues’ and ‘Special Jury Award’ for his documentary on human trafficking, “Soft Target”, produced by Films Division, Mumbai. Bobby was also adjudged ‘the Best Critic’ in the XXth Manipur State Film Awards 20XX.

Maipaksana Haorongbam is a national award winning filmmaker. His “Eibusu Yaohanbiyu” (Let me join you) was awarded the ‘Best Manipuri Film’ in the 63rd National Film Awards 2015. The same film went on to win the ‘Best Children Film’ and ‘Best Direction’ in the 10th Manipur State Film Awards 2016.  Maipaksana also bagged the ‘Best Feature Film’ award in the 12th Manipur State Film Awards 2019 for his Tangkhul feature film, “Wonnam” (Scent of a Flower). Maipaksana is an editing graduate of the Jyoti Chitraban Film & Television Institute, Guwahati.

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