Sharma of Manipur to get V Shantaram award for filmmaking

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (UNI) The legendary filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma of Manipur has been selected for the prestigious V Shantaram award for his lifetime achievement in documentary filmmaking.

According to a Manipur government release issued here today, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was the chief guest at the inaugural function of the 10th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for Documentary, Short and Animation Films 2008, announced his name for the award in Mumbai last night.

The award, carrying a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, a citation and a shawl, was instituted by the Films Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. It will be conferred to the legend on February 9.

It was for the first time in the history of the MIFF that a person from the North East India was selected for the prestigious award.

Bhagwan Das Garga was the first recipient of the award for Life Time Achievement in the field of documentary in 1996. Other recipients included Fali Bilimoria in 1998, Vijaya Mulay in 2000, Kishan Lal Khandpur in 2004 and Ram Mohan in 2006.

Mr Sharma, who was present at the function, was overwhelmed when he heard the news.

''It was a big surprise to me. I never thought of such a grand honour,'' he said.

Twelve times winner of the National Film Award, Mr Sharma has had represented India in several international film festivals, including Nantes, Cannes, London, Toronto, Locarno, and Montreal.

He is the first Indian who received the prestigious Grand Prix in the Nantes International Film Festival for his feature film- Imagi Ningthem (My Son, My Precious) in 1982.

His other films of acclaim that attracted world wide attention include Ishanou (The Chosen One), Uncertain Regard was selected for the Cannes International Film Festival in 1991, and Sangai- The Dancing Deer of Manipur was declared the outstanding film of the year 1989 by the British Film Institute, London.

Mr Sharma has so far directed nine Manipuri feature films and 26 non-feature films.

Born in Imphal in 1936 , Mr Sharma's cinematic journey started in 1972 with the first Manipuri feature film ''Matamgi Manipur'' as a music director and actor.

He made his directorial debut with feature film ''Lamja Parshuram'' in 1974 followed by his first documentary ''Sana Leibak Manipur'' in 1984. He has also written an autobiography ''Living Shadow''.

Talking about his future plan, he said, ''I am planning to make documentaries on Manipur Pradip Kumar, Geet Govind and Manipuri classical dance forms. I would love to make Manipuri feature films but I can't as these involve huge money''.

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