In a captivating narrative, the documentary “Andro Dreams” takes the spotlight, opening the Non-Feature Film Section of the Indian Panorama at the 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The film unfolds the extraordinary life of Laibi Phanjoubam, a 60-year-old woman from the remote village of Andro in Manipur.
Laibi’s story transcends the ordinary as she runs a handloom and weaving craft shop, challenging entrenched patriarchy, economic hardships, and the orthodoxy of her ancient village. Directed by National Award-winning filmmaker Meena Longjam, “Andro Dreams” captures Laibi’s inspiring journey and the challenges faced by her all-girls football club, Andro Mahila Mandal Association Football Club (AMMA-FC).
“Andro Dreams”: A Distinct Cinematic Chronicle
Spanning 63 minutes, “Andro Dreams” presents a cinematic chronicle led by a trinity of a female director, producer, and cast. It sheds light on the struggles of Laibi Phanjoubam and showcases Nirmala, a promising young football player, in the spotlight.
Director Meena Longjam emphasizes the significance of representing the lives of people from Manipur, stating, “Andro Dreams captures the real life of Laibi and the girls of her football club fighting against all odds.” Her accidental foray into documentary filmmaking reflects a commitment to showcasing the obscured lives of Manipuri people.
Longjam delves into the nuances of documentary filmmaking, highlighting the need to build long-term relationships with subjects. She believes that documentaries are not one-off projects but continuous endeavors to portray untold stories.
The first Manipuri woman to win a National Award for her film “Auto Driver,” Meena Longjam continues to break barriers. Executive producer Jani Viswanath echoes the sentiment of empowering women in filmmaking, referring to women as the “silent pillars” of society. The aim is to bring them to the forefront, providing opportunities and support for their talent.
“Andro Dreams”: Indian Panorama at 54th IFFI
The Indian Panorama section at IFFI commenced with “Andro Dreams” in the Non-Feature section. This section, introduced in 1978, celebrates the diversity and richness of Indian cinema, showcasing 25 Feature Films and 20 Non-Feature films at the 54th IFFI.
The film festival, held from November 20th to 28th, 2023, continues its tradition of promoting Indian films and cultural heritage through cinematic art.