Berlinale Forum features Haobam Paban Kumar’s Lady of the Lake
(Lady of the Lake)
Director, Producer, Screenplay Haobam Paban Kumar
2016, 82 min, Manipuri
Festivals 21st Busan International Film Festival; Golden Gateway, India Gold at 18th Mumbai Film Festival; Netpac Award (shared) at Kolkata International Film Festival; Kaleidoscope India: Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Dubai International Film Festival; International Film Festival of Kerala
The Loktak Lake in Manipur, North East India is a unique ecosystem where fishermen live in huts built on floating biomass. In 2011, the government burnt down hundreds of these huts, blaming the fishermen for polluting the water.Thousands of them became homeless with their livelihood snatched. Ever since, Tomba, one among them, has been sick and depressed, confining himself in his home and lying idle the entire day. His wife, Tharoshang, works hard to make ends meet. One morning, Tomba accidentally finds a gun within the biomass. At first confused what to do with it, he slowly starts enjoying the company of his new-found toy. He keeps the gun beside him all day, believing it will save him from any impending danger. He becomes aggressive and starts looking for opportunities to use the gun. One day, an old lady knocks at his door in the middle of the night.
Manipur-based screen-writer, producer and director Haobam Paban Kumar is an alumnus of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute. His documentary ‘AFSPA, 1958’ (2005) won the 9th Mumbai International Film Festival’s FIPRESCI Award, besides twenty others in his career. His next, ‘A Cry in the Dark’, premiered at 2006 Toronto International Film Festival; screened at New York’s MoMA; and won a special jury mention at the 2007 One World Human Rights Film Festival, Czech Republic. His films, ‘Ngaihak Lambida’ (2006), ‘The First Leap’ (2008) and ‘Mr India’ (2009) were screened in the Indian Panorama, IFFI, Goa. ‘AFSPA, 1958’ and ‘Mr India’ won India’s highest honour, the National Award in 2008 and 2010,respectively.