Loktak Lairembee

Lady of the Lake
Haobam Paban Kumar
2016

For further information please download the film sheet (PDF).

The flames reach high into the sky when the fishermen's huts burn on Loktak Lake, a rural paradise in northeastern India where extreme beauty meets extreme violence. In Manipur, it's about survival of the fittest. The fishermen have no security, just like the shaky foundations of the floating islands of biomass to which they owe their livelihoods. One day, Tomba comes across a pistol wrapped in plastic as he’s laying traps, changing his mood from one of lethargy to one of vague belligerence. His wife is worried. Yet their daily struggle for survival has made the couple grow apart and Tomba begins to drift away. He feels even more threatened when he encounters a mysterious woman in a boat. But is the danger real or mere psychosis? Just another way of distracting himself from the unbearable nature of the everyday?
Haobam Paban Kumar made a name for himself with documentaries about Manipur. In his feature debut, which was shot exclusively with non-professional actors from the region, he expands his cinematic exploration of the land of his home into the story of one dramatic, individual fate, where mythology and political struggle merge into an ethnographic thriller. (Dorothee Wenner)

Production: Oli Pictures, Imphal
Screenplay: Sudhir Naoroibam, Haobam Paban Kumar, based on the shortstory "Nongmei" by Sudhir Naoroibam
Camera: Shehnad Jalal
Cast: Ningthoujam Sanatomba, Sagolsam Thambalsang
Running time: 71 min
Language: Manipuri