Aribam Syam Sharma | Eminent Film Maker from Manipur |

About Aribam Syam Sharma

Aribam Syam Sharma, a film director, actor and music director from Manipur came to limelight with his award winning film Imagi Ningthem (My Son, My Precious) that received the grand prix at Festival des.....
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1974     Lamja Parshuram
1976     Saaphabee
1979     Olangthagee Wangmadasoo
1981     Imagi Ningthem
1983     Paokhum Ama
1990     Ishanou
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Critics Review

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Critic- Gene Moscowitz
“Variety” -published in New York

Every once  in a while a seemingly little film, made without means and technically wanting, turns up at a film festival where its contents and treatment easily overcome its technical side. This is such a film. It has a poetic feel, a human impact, sans sentimentality that should see it making the festival rounds.
It is from a northern part of India near the Burma border where the people are Mongol in appearance. Only a few films have been made there, and this one should cast a spotlight on the area and director Aribam Syam Sharma.
A teacher comes to a village and an old man asks her to tutor his grandson who is sickly. She does so likes the boy and his grandfather. She finds out his mother has been seduced by a man and died in childbirth.
It turns out that the father is the husband of her cousin. She gets her cousin to visit and the boy gets an idea she is her mother. The woman is attracted to him. She comes again and decides to take the boy with her while her husband is absent.
Though knowing it is her husband’s son and having a older boy away at school, she begins to love rather than philandering her husband’s bastard child.
The relationship is adroitly built and developed. The husband comes and objects to  the boy there and will not hear  of adoption. He does not know it is his son. The grandfather wants to take the boy back and she will not have it and ultimately will keep the boy.
Touching without being sentimental, the film makes a statement on human relations that transcandsits  to hit a universal impact. Already invited to the third Nantes World Film Fest in France, it could also find theatrical outlets with proper handling, treatment and placement to allow its merits to speak for themselves.

Derek Malcom, Film critic of THE GUARDIAN, London
In symposium-Cinema in 2000 during Filmotsav’82, Calcutta

“…………………. one of the best films I have been at this year’s panorama, for instance, was in Manipuri-Aribam Syam Sharma’s “Imagi Ningthem” (My Son, My Precious). Technology? You must be joking. The film stock looked as if it was reconstituted waste paper. The imagws flickered almost if they were ashamed of themselves. Nobody seemed to be able to be decide at what speed to run the projector. With the consequence that even the female characters began to walk like Charlie Chaplin. Yet My Son, My Precious seemed to me something quite apart from its technical deficiencies and the exigencies of its simple plot-line. Ladies and Gentlemen, it was about real and not invented people. About India, not about east-west land in between. It expressed something true and honourable and exiting for, all its faults. And its very differences from the films of West were what helped to make it fascinating to me. Am I patronizing to this very little film, in a language I have never before encountered in the screen? Well, perhaps I am as is the habit of Western critics faced with something they do not completely understand. But I insist on my point about the film’s essential purity……………”

In “THE GUARDIAN”, LONDON (January 29,1982)

“……………. The biggest surprise of all was My Son, My Precious from the little state of Manipur, which produces about six films ayear as compared to Bombay’s 250 or more. Made by Aribam Syam Sharma on film stock that looked as if it had been rescued from a rubbish tip, its story of a little boy pulled hither and thither by family conflict was acted with a natural pace that belied all its technical shortcoming…………”

“……this much admired film…………. that was beautifully acted and absolutely authentic looking”

John Warrington in Films and Filming (March,1982)

“A discovery was from Manipur. Technically, the film is a mess, a postage old stock, badly printed and shot on an ageing 16mm Bolex with sound equipment, that would be a BBC technician’s nightmare. An amateur effort………but it is a big but.

The story, the direction and performance are so closely observed that they glow through all the technical imperfections.

Here are real people who, without saying anything specific about their society, say so much, it is a minor master-piece with a splendidly natural performance by the boy Leikhendro who plays Thoithoi and I am glad to say that it will be appearing as my critic’s choice at the next London Film Festival.”

New York Times, April 21 1982

“Imagine a very simple, heart felt but threadbare KRAMER VS  KRAMER like story sent in a remote corner of India, My Son, My Precious is something along these lines and something genuinelessly and effortlessly touching……….
The setting is in the Manipur region near the Burmese border, and neither the actors nor the directorial style is typical of Indian Cinema.

Many of the players, particularly the women, have the beauty of south sea islanders, there are times when the film suggests Gaugin, even though its in black and white. And Aribam Syam Sharma, the director makes this usually plain and unencumbered drama.

In fact, it is almost primitive at times, there’s nothing about the crude cinema   work or rough editing to recommend this film an technical terms. But, it’s story is told so plainly and persuasively that it cannot help but have an appeal. The film ends on a slightly ambiguous note, but it seems to endorse a position with which the audience may not agree. In any case, Mr. Sharma tells this story in a manner that’s both elegant and crude.

The characters lack the strict manners usually evident in Indian films, but they are instinctively stately, even when squatting in the dirt of Thoithoi’s village. No less interesting than the film’s narrative is the courtliness of its characters, and the dignity with which all but the worst of them greet a trying situation.


“Aribam Syam Sharma’s My Son, My Precious made in the northeast Indian state of Manipur, on the Burmeese border looks like it was shot in 1932 on army surplus stock,(considering that Manipuri is a language spoken by less than a quarter of a percent of the Indian population, it’s no surprise that only eight films have been produced in the region since, 1972, half of them by Sharma).

There’s an unassuming ethnographic modest to this story of a teacher in a remote village who unwillingly discovers an illegitimate child fathered by her cousin’s husband. Surviving an awkward shift in protagonist, the film goes on to detail the betrayed, wife’s obsessive love for her husband’s bastard a passion which is deftly to the mythological in the moving final scene.”


“This gentle, compassionate film from Manipur is a worthy successor to the early work of Satyajit Ray. A village school teacher brings together the motherless child of an adulterous alliance and the wife of the dead mother’s  seducer.”