An interview with Hijam Shyamdhani in February 2011

Interview - Jinendra Maibam *

An interview with Hijam Shyamdhani by a Film Academy Manipur (FAM) representative, Jinen Maibam on the eve of his receiving Best Supporting Award of the 5th RJ Film Vision Special award 2011 organized in connection with the 6th foundation day of FAM.

Hijam Shyamdhani

Hijam Shyamdhani

"I truly appreciate the FAM's various efforts"... Shyamdhani

The contributions made by various veteran artists in Manipur film industry are worth a million appreciations. Hijam Shyamdhani is one among the shining veteran star of Manipur. His role as the father of Manimatum (Kaiku) in Basantagi Nongallamdai added more value to the film. FAM appreciated his contributions to the theatre and film world by awarding him Best Supporting Role in this film. He is the son of late Hijam Thambalngou and Hijam (o) Meipakpi Devi from Chingamathak Nameirakpam Leikai. He was born on 15th of March 1943. Presently, he resides at Singjamei Thongam Leikai, Imphal.

Hijam Shyamdhani

Hijam Shyamdhani speaking at a Drama Festival

FAM: How do you feel on receiving the award?
Shyamdhani: Thank you very much, all I can say is Thank you.

FAM: How did you become an artist?
Shyamdhani: From my childhood, I always had an interest in plays. So, in the year 1958, I was a part of the "National Touring Drama Party" which toured almost every corner of Manipur and won various awards. I also got the "Best Supporting Actor" award in the All Manipur Drama Festival organized by Manipur Theater Centre in the year 1959. In 1964 I joined the Manipur Dramatic Union (MDU) and took part in as many as 30 plays with various lead roles and also won many awards.

FAM: Can you please name some of your well known plays?
Shyamdhani: Of course. Some of the successful plays are Alexander, Rana Pratap, Mewar Patan, Karna-Arjun, Kurukshetra, Khamba-Thoibi, Kege-Lamja, Shanulembi Thambalnu, Sati Khonang, Ramer-Tamti, Garavniwas, Landobigi Macha, Cheng Kilo Ama and Tikendrajit. The ISKON Society was so pleased with my role in Karna-Arjun that they award me Gold Medal.

FAM: Can you tell us the name of the Institution in which you have directed?
Shyamdhani: Yes, right now I am at MDU. I have also directed more than 30 plays which includes epic plays, society based plays, folk historical plays with Panthoibi Nitya Mandir, Lilong Chajing Cultural Institution, Juvenile Theatre, Orion Theatre, Leimayon Art Centre. And also I have directed above 40 short plays which took part in National Level competitions and won various awards.

FAM: As a theatre artist, how did you enter the film world?
Shyamdhani: Even when I was a theatre artist, I got many film assignments but due to non availability of time, as I had a government post, I couldn't sign any of them. However, after getting pension, I started taking film assignments.

FAM: How many films have you done till now?
Shyamdhani: Four films are in process right now, and I have also signed 5 more films. And, I have done 20 films till now.

Hijam Shyamdhani

Hijam Shyamdhani receiving an award at a Drama Festival

FAM: What about All India Radio and TV?
Shyamdhani: Yes, presently I am one of the B-High artists and am taking part in many of the All India Radio, Imphal's play. And, I have played important roles in many Doordarshan Kendra's tele-plays too.

FAM: Among the films that you have done till now, which one do you like the most?
Shyamdhani: I would have to say Basantagi Nongallamdai. One of the important reasons why I like this the most is because I have also acted the same role in radio play version of this film.

FAM: As a senior artist what message would you like to give to FAM?
Shyamdhani: To be frank, I really don't know much about FAM activities. However, the initiative taken up by FAM in giving trainings to the enthusiastic actors and models are worth appreciating. FAM is the new image of Manipur film industry and I wish the institution a bright future.

Related Material:

* This interview was done for Manipur Film Academy (FAM) by Jinendra Maibam in early February 2011. This interview is originally published in Meiteilon for FAM and later translated in English by e-pao eRang Team. This article was first webcasted on June 01, 2011


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