TODAY -

Priyakanta Laishram : Manipur's Openly Queer Filmmaker

Brainee Hijam *

 Priyakanta Laishram is a film-maker, actor, film-producer, writer
Priyakanta Laishram is a film-maker, actor, film-producer, writer



Born on 07 November 1998 in Imphal, Priyakanta Laishram is a film-maker, actor, film-producer, writer and film-editor with several international and national level film awards under his belt.

Popularly known as, Priyakanta Thoi Laishram, he is considered a flamboyant filmmaker and the "Queer Icon" of Manipur. He is one of the first openly queer Manipuri filmmakers and finest auteurs to emerge out of contemporary Manipur.

Priyakanta’s active presence in the public eye and his work are instrumental in triggering an open dialogue about LGBTQ+ culture in the context of Manipur as well as the entire North-East India at large. His public image is marked by explicit flamboyance, an unapologetic pronouncement of living life on his own terms.

Despite mimicry, bullying, ignorance and alienation, Priyakanta exhibits a selfhood which is not restricted by shame. He counters the shaming with the flamboyance and experiments with his sartorial choice and physical appearance a great deal, resorting to non-binary, gender-neutral clothes.

Priyakanta's films depict complex politics of representation, try to critique heteronormativity, venture into transgressive themes, and thereby challenge the status quo-ist boundaries and assumptions about gender and sexuality. His movies try to make powerful statements about the physical and emotional agencies of his women and queer characters.

 Priyakanta Laishram is a film-maker, actor, film-producer, writer
Priyakanta Laishram is a film-maker, actor, film-producer, writer



Through his independent lifestyle, socially relevant films, media presence and popular talkshow - Up-Close With Priyakanta Laishram, the Manipuri people are allowed a glimpse into an alternative philosophy of a life beyond the binary established by hetero patriarchal societal norms which they had hitherto been unaware of.

It makes the general public not only acknowledge that there are other forms of desire, sexuality and gender identity than the normative ones, but also to take into account the regressive ideals, sexism and bigoted temperament that they hid beneath the veneer of superficial respectability.

With films like It's Not My Choice, Who Said Boys Can't Wear Make Up, The Foul Truth and Oneness, Priyakanta Laishram is today hailed as one of North-East India's greatest movie directors and a name to reckon with when it comes to portraying queer lives and aesthetics on the silver screen.

He is breaking boundaries by being an openly queer Manipuri film-director, who, despite the public criticism, is willing to risk everything in order to bring about some major changes in the society.

On the work front, his forthcoming film Oneness (2023) is the first gay-themed movie of Manipur and it will be released by the end of this year.

 Priyakanta Laishram is a film-maker, actor, film-producer, writer
Priyakanta Laishram is a film-maker, actor, film-producer, writer




* Brainee Hijam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at braineehijam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 30 2023 and updated on April 19 with the correct Date of birth .



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