29 September, 2020

Steering Stories

Amar Maibam’s Highways Of Life chronicles the experiences of truck drivers stranded in Manipur due to protests and blockades

Steering Stories

For someone who spent a lot of time on the road—he was once a bus conductor—it is befitting that Amar Maibam made a documentary on truck drivers. His movie, Highways Of Life, has won the Best Film award at the Liberation DocFest in Bangladesh.

It follows a group of truck drivers in their journey to Manipur amid protests and blockades that often leaves them stranded in hostile territory. National Highway 37 and 2, which the truckers take, are considered among the worst roads in India. The journey from Jiribam to Imphal, around 220 km, can take as many as four to five days. The roads are so damaged that often the drivers have to fill in potholes with dirt and gravel so they can continue driving. After the collapse of the Barak bridge, the landlocked Manipur was cut off from the rest of the country. The film chronicled the drivers’ experiences as they stayed together for at least 24 days and forged friendships amid the hardship.

Highways Of Life was shot between 2013 and 2017. It is Maibam’s fourth film and won him his first international award....



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