Manipuri filmmaker Romi Meitei wins best director award at film festival in Russia
89-minute-long 'Eikhoigi Yum' revolves around Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in the northeast.

Imphal: Adding another feather to his cap, celebrated Manipuri filmmaker Mayanglambam Romi Meitei has won the Best Director award for his debut non-commercial film ‘Eikhoigi Yum‘ (Our Home) at the 19th Kazan International Muslim Film Festival in Kazan city, Russia.

Last month, he also won the Best Feature Film in Manipuri (as specified in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution) category for the same film at the 69th National Film Awards 2021.

A whopping 127 feature films from around the world competed in various award categories during the five-day-long Kazan International Muslim Film Festival, which concluded on Saturday.

Despite receiving this prestigious award, Meitei didn’t express his full elation, considering the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur.

“I would be happier winning this award if there were no conflict in Manipur. The ongoing clash has rendered thousands homeless, and in this situation, winning an award seems meaningless,” he said while praying for the restoration of peace and normalcy in the state.

Some Russian audience members who are aware of the Manipur conflict even expressed their hopes for normalcy to return to the state soon, said Romi, a resident of Kongba in Imphal East district.

89-minute-long ‘Eikhoigi Yum’ revolves around Loktak, the largest freshwater lake in the northeast. With the fishing community facing eviction notices from the government, the film narrates the impact of globalisation on a small remote village, causing residents to move away in an attempt to make a living.

Mongjam Joy Singh, Manipur Art & Culture and Information & Public Relations Commissioner, expressed happiness over Meitei’s achievement, describing it as a “silver lining among the dark clouds hovering over Manipur.”

“Romi Meitei’s ‘Eikhoigi Yum’ has performed exceptionally well in the festival circuit, winning state awards, regional awards, national, and international awards. But the Best Director award for Romi for the film is the 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 endeavors,” Joy said.

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Echoing the same sentiment as the Commissioner, Sunzu Bachaspatimayum, Secretary of the Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS), said, “Despite the turmoil in Manipur, Manipuri Cinema continues to make its mark with Romi Meitei’s ‘Eikhoigi Yum.'”

“Among other honours, Romi’s ‘Eikhoigi Yum’ also won the Best Feature Film award at the 14th Manipur International Film Festival held in Imphal in 2022,” he said. “A big congratulations to Romi and the ‘Eikhoigi Yum’ cast and crew. Romi Meitei has made Manipur proud again by winning the Best Director’s award,” added Sunzu.

Also Read | Opinion: Why only a ‘political solution’ can save Manipur

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