Manipur filmmaker Haobam Paban Kumar has won the ‘German Star of India’ at the 14th Indian Film Festival in Stuttgart, Germany for his feature film ‘Loktak Lairembee’ (Lady of the Lake).

Adil Hussain-starrer ‘Mukti Bhawan – Hotel Salvation’ was adjudged as ‘Audience Award Winner’ in the festival.

Loktak Lairembee was chosen by the jury as it offers ‘an unflinching view of the convention of the cinema’ and simultaneously tells a story that is relevant to our time. Director Paban Kumar used amateur actors for the film around Loktak Lake. “In this scenic paradise, extreme beauty meets extreme violence,” the jury noted.

The jury felt that, “the team of filmmakers carves out a subtle, poetic and even hypnotic way into a world between dream and reality, where issues such as expulsion, human rights and conflicts that arise in our home, our world and our environment are portrayed in this film with great integrity and honesty”.

The German Star of India award comes with a prize of €4,000.

“This is a huge honour. This is a very small budget film made with support of my family and friends. I am really thankful to the jury, organisers and all those who supported us,” an elated Paban Kumar told The News Mill at the achievement.

Director Haobam Paban Kumar has a degree in directing and writing from the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute in Kolkata. He first entered the spotlight with his film ‘AFSPA, 1958’ (2006), with which he won the International Jury and FIPRESCI Award at the 9th Mumbai International Film Festival 2006.

Many of his other films, such as ‘A Cry in the Dark’ (2006), ‘The First Leap’ (2008), ‘Mr India’ (2009), ‘Ruptured Spring’ (2012), were awarded prizes.

Earlier this year, ‘Loktak Lairembee’ has won the national award best film in environment conservation.

More than 40 current film productions from all over India gave a unique insight into modern Indian cinema. The main focus was on election campaigns in India and stories about strong women.

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