Culture

Centre urged to honour Aribam Syam Sharma with Dadasaheb Phalke Award

The turning point for Manipuri Cinema came in 1981 when Aribam Syam Sharma used a 16mm Bolex camera to film his sensational Imagi Ningthem (My Son, My Precious), a story about the unconditional love of a woman for the illicit child of her husband.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 29 Jul 2022, 8:26 am

A scene from Aribam Syam Sharma's award winning film 'Imagi Ningthem' (PHOTO: Aribam Syam Sharma Archives)
A scene from Aribam Syam Sharma's award winning film 'Imagi Ningthem' (PHOTO: Aribam Syam Sharma Archives)

 

The Film Forum Manipur has approached Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur to consider honouring Manipur's legendary filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honour for Indian Cinema.

In a letter addressed to the Union minister, on behalf of the creative fraternity and people of Manipur,
forum chairman L Surjakanta said that Manipuri Cinema recently completed 50 years of having released the first Manipuri feature film on April 9, 1972 - Aribam's Matamgi Manipur.

This milestone was observed as a yearlong celebration and the credit for this milestone is largely due to Aribam Syam Sharma's brilliance and dedication in creating masterpieces that have moved international audience, furthering the growth of Indian Cinema as a whole, it said.

Besides his films, Aribam has also been the force to install an ecosystem for growth of committed filmmakers and technicians in the state of Manipur.

Aribam Syam Sharma is the ground breaking doyen of Manipuri cinema, who has been working relentlessly in portraying the cultural and emotional nuances with a humanitarian vision through cinematic storytelling with utmost simplicity and distinctive artistic signature, it added.

The forum reiterated its appeal to consider Aribam Syam Sharma for the award.

While Aribam Syam's Imagi Ningthem and Ishanou feature in the 100 greatest Indian films of all time, national award-winning film critic Meghachandra Kongbam referred to him as the ‘Genius of Indian Cinema’ considering his contribution in all of the three genres of cinema – Art, Commercial and Documentary.

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Even today, at the age of 86, the veteran Manipuri filmmaker is busy scripting for his next production. So far, he has directed 15 feature films and 31 non-feature films and scored music for 25 films.

Nearly all of his films have been screened at the ‘Indian Panorama’ of the International Film Festival of India. With 15 national awards - six for feature films and nine for non-features - a rare feat by any standards, Aribam Syam Sharma is an internationally acknowledged filmmaker of artistic excellence.

Aribam is a self-taught filmmaker. The production of Matamgi Manipur - the first Manipuri feature film, was the incubation period for Aribam’s filmmaking career in 1972.

Not only did he participate in the production as an actor and a music director, he contributed in direction as well with his deeper understanding of the culture and traditions of the state.

Lamja Parsuram, made in 1974, was his debut film as a director. Then came the folklore based, Saaphabee, released in 1976. It won Aribam his first national award for feature film. Olangthagee Wangmadasoo was his third film whose release coincided with Sholay in 1979.

The film went on to become a super hit and still holds the record of being the longest running film ever made in Manipur. It ran for 34 weeks.

The turning point for Manipuri Cinema came in 1981 when Aribam Syam Sharma used a 16mm Bolex camera to film his sensational Imagi Ningthem (My Son, My Precious), a story about the unconditional love of a woman for the illicit child of her husband.

Not only did Imagi Ningthem win the third national award for Aribam, it toured many reputed international film festivals in New York, Denver, Locarno, Montreal, London and all. It topped it all by winning the ‘Grand Pix’ at the Festival des trios Continents at Nantes, France in 1982, the first Indian film to win such a reputed award.

In 1991, Aribam directed another international milestone, Ishanou (The Chosen One) which created another Indian record of featuring at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival as an official selection in the
‘Un-Certain Regard’, another rare feat for Indian Cinema.

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Ishanou also featured at several international festivals as an official selection across the globe including – Rotterdam, Toronto, London, Singapore, Seattle, Hawaii, Nantes, Vancouver, Fribourg, Tokyo, among others.

A versatile artist and well versed in music, both as a singer and composer, and in theatre, Aribam studied Rabindra Sangeet and Philosophy at Visvabharati, Santiniketan.

Despite his training in classical Indian traditions, Aribam’s pioneering contribution as a composer reflects a deep understanding of the nuances of indigenous music and his compositions are considered classics.

The filmmaker has documented more than 30 hours on the various traditional art forms of Manipur.

In 2006, the Government of India conferred the fourth highest civilian award, ‘Padma Shri’ on Aribam for his contribution to Indian Cinema.

Two years later, in 2008, he was conferred with the prestigious award in the field of short and documentary filmmaking in the country, the ‘Dr V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

The Manipur government also honoured him with “The Manipur State Lifetime Achievement Award” for his outstanding contribution towards the growth and development of Manipuri cinema in 2000.

In 2014, he received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival, Assam.

The Manipur State Film Development Society and the Film Forum Manipur, in 2015, conferred the title, ‘Jewel of Manipuri Cinema’ upon Aribam Syam Sharma.

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First published:29 Jul 2022, 6:06 am

Tags:

Manipuri cinemaImagi NingthemFilm Forum ManipurAribam Syam SharmaDadasaheb Phalke Award

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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