Manipur filmmaker Borun Thokchom

Imphal: Adding yet another feather to his cap, filmmaker Borun Thokchom from Manipur has bagged the Best Documentary Award for his film ‘I Rise’ at the 9th Mumbai Short International Film Festival (MSIFF).

I Rise’ is a film based on the life of boxer Laishram Sarita Devi, a seven-time Asian Championship medallist. Films Division, Mumbai produced the film.

The 52-minute-long film directed and cinematographed by Thokchom also won the ‘Best Film on Women Outstanding Achievement Award’ at the Tagore International Film Festival 2020 held in West Bengal earlier this year.

Speaking with EastMojo, Thokchom expressed his happiness for the recognition while speaking about the challenges and difficulties of being a documentary filmmaker.

“I am feeling great because documentaries do not have a proper platform to showcase and sending to the festival is the only option. And I am sending the film to other festivals as well,” said Thokchom, who won the national award for The Silent Poet in 2011.

The film was selected from the list of 19 documentaries selected for the competition, with four each are from India and Spain, three from the United States, two each from Germany and France, one each from Croatia, Brazil, Hungary and Poland, respectively.

Altogether, 392 documentaries from over 55 countries participated in the festival, he said.

A poster of ‘I Rise’ film

Talking about how he got the idea of making a documentary on the star boxer, Thokchom said, “I was very inspired by Sarita Devi. Despite coming from a poor background and the remote district of Thoubal, she overcame everything and went on to become a reputed boxer in the international arena.”

However, what strikes Thokchom is the historic 2014 Asian Games incident at Incheon in South Korea where the Manipuri boxer refused to accept her bronze medal protesting against the match decision.

It was this lady standing up for her rights, and that is how the film ‘I Rise’ was made, said Thokchom.

It took almost five years for filmmaker Thokchom to finish the documentary as he started shooting in 2015 and wrapped up only in December 2019.

“Since we had a small crew, I did almost everything from scripting to research and handling the camera,” added filmmaker Thokchom.

He is now working on another project based on World War II in Manipur.

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