‘Andro Dreams,’ a documentary directed by the acclaimed Dr. Meena Longjam, emerged as the ‘Best Documentary’ at the 8th edition of the Jagran Film Festival held on Sunday in Mumbai. The film has captured the remarkable journey of a girls’ football club from the remote village of Andro in Manipur.
Dr. Meena Longjam, a recipient of the 2015 national award for her documentary ‘Autodriver,’ has a decade-long career dedicated to highlighting women empowerment. In Autodriver,’ she depicted Imphal’s first female autodriver. In ‘Achoubi in Love,’ Longjam explores Achoubi’s mission to protect Meitei Saigol ponies, essential to polo.
‘Andro Dreams’ is the latest gem in her collection, shedding light on the extraordinary efforts of Laibi, a woman in her 60s who has been operating the AMMA FC football club for over two decades, and Nirmala, a talented young football player.
Laibi’s story is one of resilience, as she has battled poverty, insurgency, and gender biases to keep the girls’ football club thriving. Despite facing challenges such as inadequate funding and proper equipment, AMMA FC has consistently produced national and international football champions.
‘Andro Dreams’ couldn’t have come at a more crucial time, given the violence that has plagued Manipur over the last five months. Director Meena Longjam’s film was edited amid the ongoing turmoil.
The documentary is a celebration of the dreams of these young football players from Manipur and carries a message of unity and peace. Dr. Meena Longjam shared her hopes for the film, stating, “Now more than ever, there is a need for peace and 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 said, “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.”
‘Andro Dreams’ has not only made waves in India but is currently making the rounds at domestic and international film festivals. It has been selected at the IDS-FFK Festival in Kerala, the Korean International Ethnographic Film Festival, and the Festival Internacional de Cine de Fusagasuga’ in 2023.
This heartwarming documentary, which sheds light on the unwavering determination of these young football players and their mentor, is a testament to the enduring spirit of Manipur and the power of film to inspire and unite.
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In 2015, Longjam’s debut film ‘Autodriver’ was released and garnered coverage in notable publications such as the Times of India, Business Standard, The New Indian Express, The Citizen, Assam Times, E-Pao, North-East Today, The Better India, Pro-Kerala, Millennium Post, IForHer, NorthEastNow, Time8, India Herald, IFP, and EastMojo. Subsequently, the second film, ‘Achoubi in Love,’ was launched in 2019, receiving attention from publications like Sangai Express, E-Pao, and Imphal Times. Longjam’s journey continued in 2023 with the release of the third film, ‘Andro,’ which gained recognition in the Times of India, The Sangai Express, Mathrubhumi, Assam Tribune, and Ukhrul Times.
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