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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Irom Maipak, Manipur’s only national award-winning cinematographer, dies of Covid-19

Irom Maipak, the only national award-winning cinematographer of Manipur, was also the founder president of the All Manipur Cinematographers’ Association.

Written by Jimmy Leivon | Imphal |
Updated: May 21, 2021 4:33:13 pm
Irom Maipak was 52 and is survived by his wife, a son and daughter. (Source: Facebook)

Acclaimed cinematographer of Manipur Irom Maipak breathed his last on Thursday at a hospital in Imphal after battling Covid-19. He was 52 and is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.

Maipak, the only national award-winning cinematographer of Manipur, was also the founder president of the All Manipur Cinematographers’ Association.

In his career as a cinematographer spanning over 30 years, Maipak had worked with several renowned filmmakers of Manipur and went on to bag a number of awards.

The biggest breakthrough of his career came when he won the national film award (Rajat Kamal) in Cinematography in 2002 for his work on ‘The Monpas of Arunachal Pradesh’.

Maipak’s demise has left the film fraternity of Manipur in shock, which term it as a great loss not only for Manipur cinema and the state as a whole. The Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS) organised a virtual condolence assembly for him.

Filmmaker, Sunzu Bachaspatimayum, who is also the secretary of MSFDS, said Maipak is known for his uncompromising framing even in difficult and uncontrolled situations. Sunzu recalled that Maipak would not take a shot until the framing was perfect.

Another acclaimed filmmaker, Haobam Paban Kumar, said, “I’ve lost a good human being, an artiste and a friend.”

Paban said many of his films wouldn’t have been possible without Maipak and added, “Tamo Maipak was a born genius. Camera was in his blood. He had magic in his hands. He was a wonder in an uncontrollable situation.” Paban had collaborated with Maipak in several of his award-winning films like Phum Shang, Mr India, Nupishabi and Kangla.

Maipak had the experience of working on a range of formats such as celluloid, video and digital films. He mastered his skills from Ernest Gusella and Tomiyo Sasaki and filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma.

Among the slew of awards that Maipak won are Maibi Award in the 13th Manipur State Film Festival 2020 for the film ‘Nongphadok Lakpa Atithi’, Maibi Award in the 7th Manipur State Film Festival 2010 for the documentary film ‘Mr India’, NETV People’s Choice Award 2005 and Best Videographer Award in the All Manipur Video Film Festival 1993 for the Kuki feature film ‘Kinepna Pacha’.

Maipak had also worked in ‘Ima Sabitri’ directed by Bobo Khuraijam that won the Silver Conch Award in the 15th Mumbai International Film Festival 2018; ‘Phum-Shang’ directed by Haobam Paban Kumar that won the Golden Conch in the 14th Mumbai International Film Festival 2016 and national award in the 62nd National Film Award in 2014.

His laudable cinematography ventures also include ‘Leipaklei’ directed by Aribam Syam Sharma that won the 60th National Film Award 2012; ‘Nupishabi’ (Women Impersonator) produced by Films Division, Mumbai 2010 that was presented in the Film Appreciation course at NFAI, Pune, 2011; and ‘The Zeliangrongs’ directed by Haobam Ronel that won the Special Mention Award in the 58th National Film Award 2010.

He had also cinematographed biographical film ‘Guru Laimayum Thambalngoubi Devi’ directed by Aribam Syam Sharma that was screened in the Indian Panorama Section of the 37th International Film Festival of India 2006, Goa. He also cinematographed ‘Cheina’ directed by Oken Amakcham that won the best feature film in the 5th Manipur Film Awards 2006.

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