Classification Of Manipuri Cinema [Old version]

By: Akee Sorok *

Cinema or film-makers in Manipur can be divided in many generations, First generations (visionaries) film-maker, where some group of people tries to make film and failed success and the second generation ( luminaries ) where some people learn from the first generations film-maker mistake and make film in originals form.

The golden era we say where Aribam Syam Sharma and M.K. Binodini along with legendary cameraman of Manipur late K. Ibohal Sharma crafts perfect film in Manipur with so much of limited sources. The second generations film-maker were indeed one of the golden moments in Manipuri cinema around the world but surprisingly not in India.

Film such as Imagi Ningthem, eshanou viz was widely appreciate all over the world while nobody watch the film in Manipur or rest of India and we can really count how many people from Manipur have seen the film including me who have only watch three films from Mr. Syam Sharma and hope to watch the remaining soon and I still couldn't know how many films has Mr. Syam Sharma made till now without counting all the documentaries he's doing now and it about watching films not reading about.

Apart from Mr. Syam Sharma there are many director who have won many national awards for their excellence in film but nobody have watch their films which is infact very strange, he sense that we love (read Manipuri) to boast about our culture as if others don't have but while it comes to Manipuri cinema people turns their face away and maybe due to that rest of the India dint's bother to watch our films and even in NFAI(National film Archive of India) short term course don't bother to include to Manipuri films in their syllabus.

Well that was the second generations film-maker of Manipuri cinema which was an Italian Neorealism and conceptual films. The third generations film-maker s give a new taste of cinema more like Bombay cinema where song played an important role. While second generations film-maker believe in Neorealism the 3 stages film maker try to venture out in true Bombay cinema sense or Bengal cinema, the third generations film-maker continue till the end of 20th century and as usual no availability of films and many people have missed out most of the film other then those telecast by the national television.

The third generations film-maker struggles due to the pressure for the cost for cellulose as Kodak and Fuji increase their prices as well camera hiring price increases and the third generations film-maker hardly produced any film which infact can be said as the end of third generation film-makers. However the film Chatledo Eidi depict the architecture of darkness, unpredictable situation which is used in America cinema term by French as Noir and interestingly it end at only one film for the third generation film.

The end of third generation give a thumb up sign of fouth generation film maker who only makes film only on video digital format is still reigning with so much film down the lane wit little availability of cinema theatre which is worst of any kind. The production is enormous but sadly fourth generation film-maker makes film only for the local market while rests the worlds are making film for the world.

The film however is better not to go outside once one of my friends at FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) says that Manipuri video film are all same except for the title well which is indeed true, film is not about how much you made it's about how much have success world wide.

The fourth generations film-maker generation however ignore the world cinema well world cinema doesn't mean watching world cinema it's about competing with or get inspired which is also shown during so many screening held at Imphal none of the 4th generation ever come and watch a film. I may sound too against them but in some sense it was about new technology but the kind of film making is very cheap in sense of narrative and story telling and ended up a mere humongous production of film other than arts.

It would also be wrong to say that every film maker does that, there are infact some good film maker. In this rein of fourth generation film-maker somehow a new film called Yenning amadi Likla and Mami Sami which was quite surprising.

Yenning amadi Likla made to the Indian panorama last year, which can be said another form of film noir where the light are dimmed and unpredictable story gives a new flavor and Mami Sami is completely a film noir which takes to another level of film making and the fifth generation film-maker is now born along with the fourth generation film maker. The fifth generation film-maker is trying to make a strong visual description with different point of view of film.

Films is a art form film is not about giving a message to the audience and that's why there are different form of genre viz educational films, documentary etc. My sense of film making has change drastically after doing the course at FTII, pune and I find it really strange when the people at FTII dint know about Aribam Syam Sharma other then the faculty so it is high time for us to let the whole of India knows about film in Manipuri and stop praising ourselves. And the government should recognized film as an industry not as an arts and culture.

Disclaimer: I don't means to hurt anybody it's my views towards Manipuri cinema.

* Akee Sorok is a regular contributor to
The writer can be contacted at amickki(at)yahoo(dot)com .
This article was webcasted on October 14, 2008 and re-edited, re-webcasted on December 09 2008.


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