‘Best film critic award tribute to Manipuri culture’

Imphal, March 29 (IANS) Having been deemed ‘Best Film Critic’ in the 63rd National Film Awards, Meghachandra Kongbam, a Manipuri, says the honour he has received is actually a tribute to his state’s rich culture and arts.

“It is a great honour that I have been thus selected. India has taken note of the rich arts and culture of Manipur which is reflected in the films,” Kongbam told IANS.

An alumnus of Banaras Hindu University, Kongbom is additional director in the public relations department of the Manipur government and a regular contributor to mass circulation vernacular publications in his state.

The jury of the National Film Awards was impressed by the perspicuity of Kongbam’s film writings.

“Meghachandra Kongbom interprets the world of Indian cinema for his readers in Manipuri. His lucid understanding and love for cinema makes him the ideal ‘Film Whisperer’ in Manipur, where access to Indian films is often limited,” said the jury in its citation.

This limited access to films has actually become a strength of the Manipuri artistes, directors and technicians, Kongbam believes.

“Most of the Manipuri artistes, directors and technicians have not undergone any formal training; they are rather self made. And yet they have made commendable inroads. Many of them will bring laurels if there is adequate exposure to films and formal training,” he said.

Kongbam himself was fortunate to have received formal training when he needed it.

“I got a degree in journalism in 1979 from BHU. I got knowledge of films after attending a film appreciation course in 1985. The same year I started writing about films,” he says.

Kongbam manages to find time as a film critic despite shouldering responsibilities as a ‘one man show’ of sorts at the Manipur Information Centre in New Delhi that he is currently in charge of.

He has long experience of covering film events, including the International Film Festival of India (IFF).

Kongbam has a good opinion of films from his home state.

“The Manipuri films occupy a respectable place in the Indian cinema. It is no mean achievement that this small state bagged various national and international awards. The films merely showcased the rich culture of the state,” he says.

He was the founder member and president for two terms of Cine Artistes and Technicians Association which was established in 1998. He was the board director of the Manipur Film Development Corporation from 2002 to 2004.

The ‘Best Critic Award’ of the 63rd National Film Awards carries a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) trophy and a purse of Rs.75,000.

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