Manipuri Movies : Far from 'Life is Beautiful'

Review by: Apanba Luwang *

Manipuri cinema has gone through such a significant positive change and a great progress in various aspects in the recent past.The acting, the direction, the shots, have all improved a lot in such a short span of time.

This reflects the skills and the creativity of the people in the region which they have proved themselves,despite of all odds prevalent in the region. I am not a film critic nor an expert in cinematography but being this region as my domicile, I have atleast a few experiences of all the many hardships the people in the region are facing.

Be it electricity or roads or law and order or unemploymenet or corruption ,and so on which every common man in the region has accepted it to be a part and parcel in their day to day life.

Friends staying far away from their hometown working or studying, either abroad or in some other city within india loves to listen to Manipuri numbers and ask for Manipuri movies whenever somebody comes to his place from his hometown. I do the same thing as well, but interestingly we dont have that much urge or interest to watch Manipuri Movies when we went home for vacation.

I got the opportunity to watch quite a lot of Manipuri movies like Naoshum, Ngamna Ngamnaba, Chumthang Makhong etc, which I watch them with rapt attention as if I am also a part of the movie.

It is one sort of uniqueness about Manipuri movies that most of these movies turned out to be tragedy movies. One thing which happens quite common is Hero or the heroine dies at the end and hero's sister went mad, Hero gives farewell to the heroine and went away at the end, the list goes on and on whichever is related to tears.

I am pretty sure the storywriter is well aware of this fact but due to some constraints he is oblized to write such stories.

One probable reason would be most theatre-goers wants tragedy movies. And if he dosent stick to the public demand, his business would go haywire.

Or is the director or the storywriter trying to show that we are chillie loving people where pain is pleasure.

But whatever may be the case, movies are something which have a great impact on the minds of the people and the society. There is one thing common to all of the **Woods , unfortunately other than Manipuri movies, and that is the moral of the story .

Be it Hollywood, or a Chinese movie or some Sandalwood movie, most of them have one message in common : "Good versus evil always ends with the victory of the good".

Another school of thought is that as these tragedic movies help to visualize the existing problems and hurdles prevalent in our society, it would help people to become more aware and help them tackle it in a better and more effective way.

But in my opinion, just by showing all the social nuisances or happenings we cant call it a complete movie. It should have some lesson to learn at some point usually at the end.

If movie goes like this : "Hero's brother is killed by some goons for no fault of his. His father also died because of the shock. To take revenge, hero in spite of being a good student, left his studies and took up arms. He is also killed by the police. Heroine went mad and died in a road accident".

I seriously doubt whether it makes any sense, of course except for the songs. In Manipuri phrase , this is what we call "Lu Kokpada Len taba" and most of the Manipuri movies seem to be of this sort. If we think from this angle, movies like "Ngamna Ngamnaba", "Chang si Chang" are really good movies. They are not only good comedy movies but they also convey a good moral to the viewers.

I appreciate the work and creations of many talented people like Moirangthem Inao and Romi Meitei who have written and produced such a good number of beautiful movies. But at the same time, from my view considering myself as a naive audience, I would expect some more to be added to our movies.

Trivially speaking, we should have a happy ending or we should atleast have some reasonable conclusion at the end which would leave the mind of the people at a state of well being, something which would make them feel that being truthful and being good always triumphs.

And I have a strong belief that this would not only have a positive effect on the minds of the people but it would also help make themselves feel that "Life is beautiful".

* Apanba Luwang, a first time contributor, reviewed this film.
The writer can be contacted at apanba(dot)l(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on May 25 2009.


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