Meena Longjam’s Andro Dreams, which documents the journey of a girls football club from a remote village in Manipur won the ‘Best Documentary’ at the 8th edition of the Jagran Film Festival in Mumbai on Sunday.
Andro Dreams edited by Sankhajit Biswas is yet another feather in the cap of Manipur’s film industry, stated a release.
The documentary directed by Meena Longjam is about the struggles of two brave protagonists – that of Laibi, who is in her 60s and runs a football club AMMA FC, and her most promising young football player Nirmala, it mentioned.
Laibi, who hails from the village of Andro in Manipur, has battled poverty, insurgency and the patriarchy to successfully run this girls’ football club for the last 22 years, it stated.
Despite the lack of funding and proper equipment, this football club has consistently produced many of India’s national and international football champions, it added.
It mentioned that the last five months of violence in Manipur has also meant that director Meena Longjam herself has faced great risks to her life and personal safety to bring this movie – Andro dreams to the screens. The final cut of the film was edited amid the violence, it added.
Andro Dreams is currently doing the circuits at domestic and international film festivals. It was selected at the IDS-FFK Festival, Kerala, the Korean International Ethnographic Film Festival, Festival internacional de cine de Fusagasuga’ 2023, it added.
Speaking on the win, Meena Longjam says, “In the last five months everyone has known the kind of violence that has ravaged the state of Manipur. Now more than before – there is a need for all of us to stand united; a need for peace, reconciliation. I hope my film on the dreams of these football players from Manipur will resonate with our national audience. We hope this tale of young girls dreaming big will bring back the spirit of solidarity and sportsmanship; that it will bring back the peace the state so desperately needs; that we can unite as we play for team India.”
Co Producer Jani Viswanath says, “I am very proud and happy over the win. This is well deserved. Last year, I went to Manipur to meet the founder of the AMMA FC football club in person – Laibi. She’s so strong. I love her spirit; her courage in running this club against all odds,” it added.
Meena Longjam has won many awards in her decade-long career as a filmmaker – the most notable of which is her 2015 win for the documentary ‘Autodriver,’ which showcased the struggles of Imphal’s first female auto driver, it stated.
Her films are focused on women empowerment. For instance, in her second documentary ‘Achoubi in Love’ – which has traveled to over 30 national and international film festivals – she documents her protagonist Achoubi’s fight to save the indigenous Meitei Saigol ponies – ponies that gave rise to the sport of polo, it added.