Panthougi Liklam (Footprints Of My Father) is a 7-minute-long Manipuri short film directed by the immensely talented filmmaker Rakesh Moirangthem.
The film was awarded the 'Best Short Film' award at an online short film competition organised on the occasion of Parakram Diwas - marking the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
The competition went live on January 23, 2021, on the MyGov portal.
The competition was jointly organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). The competition received around 1346 entries in total.
Shot in one single location with one major character and even with this minimal arrangement, the filmmaker successfully touched the hearts of the viewers and critics alike.
I was speechless for a few minutes after I watched the film and I spoke to Rakesh to know more about the film.
But before that, I would love to draw your attention to some of the comments made on the film by some leading film personalities from across the country.
Noted Bengali filmmaker and writer Ranjan Ghosh, sharing his views about the film said, "I liked the simplicity with which the emotion of patriotism has been expressed. I got a lump in my throat. Panthougi Liklam is a simple, honest, and powerful film."
"This short is a stunning visual of 7 minutes and it left me speechless. A most minimalistic projection of human emotions through thrifty close shots, and each shot radiates the effect of a beautiful painting in a frame," said renowned film critic Dr Dipsikha Bhagawati.
"No words to appreciate the beauty of the protagonist's aesthetic execution. Thank you Rakesh Moirangthem for this brilliant work of art," Dr Bhagawati added.
Praising Rakesh's work, filmmaker Subhrajit Mitra said, "Very patriotic. In the beginning, it is much poignant, using the native lullaby and musical wind instrument creates the mood. The acting and the camera work justify the moments. In the end, the use of the national anthem uplifts the emotion. Very introspective production overall."
Cinematographer Supratim Bhol, sharing his views, said, "After watching Panthougi Liklam all I could say is that it was a remarkable filming exercise. It is simply organic. The format of making gives a feeling of our diploma film days! Best wishes to Rakesh."
Selecting the right story is one of the most important aspects of filmmaking and the story of Panthougi Liklam is exceptional.
Moreover, selecting the right story requires a lot of brainstorming and discussions.
On being asked the back story of selecting the story of Panthougi Liklam, Rakesh said, "While selecting the story for my film, I took the support of my story writer Somendro Moirangthem. I shared all my ideas and points regarding the patriotic theme I had in mind. And after thorough discussions, we finally zeroed on into this story."
And after the story was finalised, it took Rakesh a week to complete the writing of the screenplay.
As the conversation deepened, I learnt a lot more about the film and its making from Rakesh.
On being asked if he had to face any hurdle while making the film, Rakesh said, "Luckily, by God's grace, our team didn't have to face any major hurdle during the production of the film."
"The team was set and we had a proper understanding. Moreover, we were committed to the theme of the film," he further said.
The film stars award-winning Manipuri actress Tonthoingambi Leishangthem in the lead role and she has put up a brilliant performance.
When asked about the decision to select her for the role, Rakesh said, "Regarding the main cast of the film, I had a detailed discussion with the entire team."
"The script demanded someone like L Tonthoi, a national award-winning actor, for the role," he further adds.
"We had no doubts in her talent and we knew she will bring the character alive and she did the same," he further said.
For every successful filmmaker, his or her unit plays an important role in the success and failure of the film and for Rakesh, his unit was and is his strength.
"The entire unit was positive and well understanding and they supported my vision. It is them who made everything happen," he said.
"I appreciate everyone for their tireless efforts and the positive attitude. This has brought success to us and the entire team is celebrating this success now," he added.
If you are interested to watch Panthougi Liklam, you can contact Rakesh Moirangthem at +91-70055-68835.