United after 40 years

Forty years after he went missing, a 66-year-old Manipuri man was reunited with his family, thanks to his fondness for Hindi film songs and a video clip posted on YouTube, says a report in Assam Tribune. Khomdan Singh was 26 when he left his Imphal home in a huff in 1978. The family did not know where he was for 40 years till a neighbour brought the video of a grey-haired and bearded man singing old songs to his notice.

Mumbai photographer Firoze Shakir had spotted Singh the singing on the city streets. He got to know the man and shot a video of him while he sang old favourites and uploaded it on the video-sharing website last November. In the clip, the singer identified himself as Khomdan Singh of Manipur, which caught the attention of the neighbour. The family members thought it could be their missing Khomdan and approached the Imphal police, which got in touch with their counterparts in Mumbai.

“They sent a photo of the young Singh to us. Based on that, we located the person at the Bandra railway station and brought him to the police station,” said a police official. Shakir said he had developed a rapport with Singh over a period of time. “I began shooting him more as a case study than anything else. Children would tease him on the streets calling him a Nepali and he would shout back at them, saying he was a Manipuri, an Indian and not a Nepali,” the lensman said.

Drive to London

Manipur chief minister N Biren announced that the Centre has earmarked Rs 1,600 crore for the upgradation of the 100 km Imphal-Moreh road, the country’s gateway to the south-eastern nations, to four-lane, says a report in the Sangai Express. He said this at the flag-off ceremony of “Road to London 2018”, at Imphal last week. The expedition from Imphal to London will cover 18 countries, 16,000 km in 49 days and it is the biggest cross-border expedition of the country. There are 26 participants — including eight women from different corners of the country. A similar event was held last year also.

Kapur on regional cinema

Internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, the jury chairperson of the 65th National Film Awards, says the tag of “regional cinema” must not be attached to Indian movies in languages other than Hindi.

Kapur, who last made Bandit Queen in India, is stunned by the quality and range of subjects that some of the movies in Assamese, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi touched upon, says a report in the Assam Tribune.(“What an eye opener it has been chairing the National Film Awards 2018. The quality of regional cinema has left us stunned. It’s world class and it’s time to take away the tag of regional cinema.

For Hindi cinema no longer can compete with the quality we saw from other languages,” he tweeted. The filmmaker said non-Bollywood movies deserve the spotlight. Unfortunately, mainstream media and Bollywood enjoy a highly incestuous relationship. So the brilliance of the new regional cinema remains hidden from audiences. It’s time for that to change,” said Kapur.