Imphal: Adding another feather in his cap, celebrated Manipuri film-maker Mayanglambam Romi Meitei has bagged the best director award for his debut non-commercial film “Eikhoigi Yum” (our home) at the “19th Kazan International Muslim film festival” in Russia’s Kazan city.
Last month, he won the best “Manipuri film” in the language specified in the Schedule VIII of the (Indian) Constitution category for his same flick at the 69th National Films Awards 2021.
A whooping 127 feature films from across the world vied for various award categories during the five-day long Kazan cinema festival that culminated on Saturday.
Despite bagging the famed award, Meitei didn’t express his fullest elation, considering the unceasing ethnic conflict besieging Manipur.
“I would be happier winning this award had there been no conflict in Manipur. The ongoing clash has rendered thousands homeless, and in this situation bagging award seems meaningless,” he said while praying for restoration of peace normalcy in the state.
“While our country has accomplished the Chandrayan 3 moon mission, the displaced people are still unable to return to their native homes, and at his juncture a question arises – which is farther, the moon or the homes of the displaced people?” he said.
Some of the Russian audience, who are aware of Manipur conflict, even said they would pray for normalcy to return to the state very soon, said Romi , a resident of Kongba in Imphal East district.
The 89-minute Eikhoigi Yum revolves in and around Loktak, the biggest fresh water Lake in the northeast.
With the fishing community facing eviction notice from the government, the film is a narrative on the impact of globalization on a small remote village which causes the residents to move away in an attempt to eke out a livelihood.
Manipur art and culture commissioner Mongjam Joy Singh, while expressing happiness over Meiteis’s feat, said his glory is “like a silver lining among the dark clouds hovering in the sky of Manipur.”
“Romi Meitei’s Eikhoigi Yum has done exceptionally well in the festival circuit winning state awards, regional awards, national and international awards. But the Best director for Romi for the film is icing on the cake, I must say. I congratulate him and wish him to continue bringing glory to Manipur and Manipuri Cinema in his future endeavours,” Joy said.
Echoing Joy, Manipur state film development society (MSFDS) secretary Sunzu Bachaspatimayum said “despite the turmoil whirling in Manipur, Manipuri Cinema continues to make its mark with Romi Meitei’s Eikhoigi Yum.
“Among other hordes of honours, Romi’s Eikhoigi Yum” also won the best feature film award at the 15th Manipur International Film Festival held in Imphal in 2021,” he said.
“A big congratulation to Romi and the Eikhoigi Yum cast and crew. Romi Meitei has done Manipur proud again winning the Best Director’s award,” added Sunzu