Premjit Naoroibam

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Premjit Naoroibam

By a Mayang

Facts from: Oinam Doren’s

“The man who made the first Manipuri digital film: An interview with Premjit Naoroibam”

E-pao July 28, 2012

(Mr Oinam Doren is a national award winning filmmaker and a freelance writer on cinema, music & culture.)

Premjit Naoroibam, the managing director of Kangla films (address: Palace Gate, Imphal), produced 'Lammei' (2002), which set into motion the digital trend that was to take over all of Manipuri cinema.

Early career

Premjit began his working life with a watch shop that he managed on BT Road, Imphal.

The birth of Manipur’s video movement

The first video film that Kangla films produced was "Echelsida,” (dir: Oken Amakcham). It was a video adaptation of a Shumang Leela play in which Premjit had once played the lead. It was shot on VHS , at a cost of Rs.60,000. Oken was by then an all-India celebrity, having won a national award.

Each VHS copy was sold for Rs1500 or loaned from video parlours for Rs200 a day. Premjit sold around a hundred copies of the film.

That being the era of celluloid films in Manipur, Premjit used a VHS projector to screen it at Imphal’s Mata Cinema. The film ran for 35 days.

The making of "Lammei"

The script of "Lammei" evolved during a 10-day workshop conducted in 2001 by Kangla Films, directed by Oken Amakcham, addressed by Manipur’s leading film artistes (e.g. RK Bidur, K Ibohal Sharma, Meghachandra Kongbam, Makhonmani Mongsaba and Diya) and attended by 45 film lovers, including two children. There were sessions on every aspect of filmmaking.

"Lammei" (d: Oken Amakcham ) cost Rs.1,50,000, and was shot on a Sony digital 8 camera together with a VHS superdrive VCR. Its four songs were edited on an Apple G5 while the rest of "Lammei" was edited on the VCR itself.

Difficulties in getting the film screened

Premjit obtained a censor certificate for the film and, unique to Manipur because militant groups were boycotting several forms of cinema, a permit from the Deputy Commissioner, Imphal. The owners of most cinemas were reluctant to screen the film for fear of the militants’ reprisals.

The film was screened at Friends Talkies, using a second-hand video projector that Premjit’s uncle bought for another Rs.1,50,000. Lammei ran for 45 days, during all of which Premjit had to operate the projector because no one else knew how to.

Premjit and his uncle each earned three times as much as they had invested.

Thus was the digital age born in Manipur. Filmmakers in the state gave up on celluloid altogether—till 2012 when one celluloid film was made. (Films in several other Indian languages, spoken by relatively few people—not enough to justify the costs of 35mm celluloid films, too, are made in the digital format alone.)

The Government of India, in a major concession, allowed Manipur’s digital film to compete for the national film awards.

See also

Manipuri Cinema, in the last section of which there are links to other articles on Manipuri Cinema.

Assamese cinema: This page has, at the bottom, links to several other articles in related to Assamese cinema.

North-Eastern cinema

See also

Assamese cinema: This page has, at the bottom, links to several other articles in related to Assamese cinema.

Manipuri Cinema

North-Eastern cinema

and individual pages about

Abenao Elangbam

Bala Hijam

Hamom Sadananda

Lairenjam Olen

MA Singh/ Maibam Amuthoi

Mohen Naorem

Ningthoujam Rina

Premjit Naoroibam

Raju Nong

Romi Meetei

Tonthoi Leisangthem

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