'Kangleiwood' Needs Censorship

T. Deepamanjuri Devi *

Scenes from ''Chayetpaa Tomnao'  Gee Nungshi Lamjel

Scenes from ''Chayetpaa Tomnao' Gee Nungshi Lamjel'

Recent years have witnessed Manipuri films occupying an important place in the lives of the people all over the state and outside where Manipuri speaking people reside. In a place where there is scarcity of entertainment sources, CDs/DVDs of films and shumang leelas have entered the everyday relaxation routines of all ages and generations alike. We laugh with Bala, cry with Abenao, hum with Sushmita. Joshep, Rangilal, Guna, Hemanta have been able to tickle our funny bones and lighten our tensed moments with their wit and humour. Gokul, Kaiku, Olen make us believe in the truth, strength and power of sincerity and simplicity. The list goes on. Kangleiwood does not lack talents.

And also Kangleiwood does not lack talentless people. Now-a-days every boy/man thinks himself as a hero and every girl/woman a heroine of films and music videos irrespective of whether they have talents/physical presentability or not as long as they have a little money for a digital camera and computer for what they call Shooting and editing. Sometimes it is allergic to see such distasteful things. Also I wonder how they are allowed reach us.

This short write up is not exclusively about talented actors and actresses, nor is it a review of Manipuri films. I just have a little wish to arouse interest among film fraternity and the public to give some attention to something that is lacking in our film-world, i.e. the need of censorship. Films have a long history in the state, but the increasing population of films is just a recent phenomenon resulting from factors that range from ban of Hindi films, exposure to advanced technological knowledge and skill, availability of talented actors, positive response from the receiving population, etc.

The extent to which films are touching the heart and soul of the people here shows that we need to filter out some elements in the films that are screened and produced here. A censor Board will do the job. From many reasons as to why a Censor Board is in need, I will bring up just three:

One, giving grades to films as 'A' for adult films, 'U' films meant for universal audience, etc. This will enable the audience to judge which film is suitable for which population.

Two, if there is Censor Board, not all films will be passed which will enable controlling the quality of the films and increase competition to act better, write better, edit better and produce and direct better films than we see today.

Three, there will be a chance to analyse the themes of films beforehand and check the sensitivity of the issues addressed keeping in mind the socio-political and cultural environment of the people here.

As a parent, I am worried about the increasing violence in manipuri films. The ugly scenes of killing people, blood tainted dead faces, grotesque pictures of tortured bodies have increasingly been included as part of the stories in films. Are these suitable for young hearts and innocent minds of thousands of children and teenagers who sing and dance with Gokul and Bala?

I was not worried when my five years old daughter was obssessed with Da-Aphao, Western Sankirtan or Dr. Hemogi Heloi. These films have some sense of aesthetics in their own right and my family loves watching them together again and again. But then my daughter started watching films with high contents of extreme violence, melodrama, and violence against women.

Inspite of the repeated warnings, I found her watching such films with great enthusiasm. I was really scared lest the films leave some imprint on the young minds of such innocent souls. Then one day, I read in a local daily about one young girl who died from an accident when she was imitating the hanging of Ureinu in the film of the same title.

Manipuri society has seen enough of violence in the recent past. And as a Sociologist, I am aware of how much films influence the behaviour patterns of children and teenagers who look up to their heroes and heroins as role-models. From exposing to extreme violence or violence agaisnt women, I don't want my son to grow up taking acts of violence too lightly nor do I want my daughter to grow up percieving herself as a potential victim of male violence or as just another object of male desire.

Just like any other parent, I want them to grow up both strong and independent with potential to make their own decisions regardless of the gender they belong to. A healthy environment is needed for such a wish to turn into reality and having a Censorship Board, I am sure will work wonders in this direction by providing a healthy filmy environment in Kangleiwood.

There has been news on how Manipur Film Forum is monitoring the originality in the dialogues of Manipuri films. The Puritanism in language is something they are working towards but what about the contents of the narratives. Is it ethical to show stabbing and murder of a person by goons using very chaste Manipuri? Is it ethical also to claim that film makers are showing the reality? Then how far should we go in depicting the reality in the films? Filmmakers should take caution here and should know the finer aspects of filmmaking. Is not it here that we need a Censorship Board which is very respectable, genuine and unbiased?

How can anybody forget that films provide food for thought to the audience? If the wrong food is given, indigestion will obviously be the result. And what happens if too much fast food is taken? As responsible citizens and parents of the future generations, we should be alert to the type of food we provide to our children so that they grow up healthy- physically as well as mentally. The choice is ours.

* T. Deepamanjuri Devi wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology at Manipur University
This article was webcasted on June 30, 2014.


Who is the Best Actress?

  • * Abenao
  • * Binata
  • * Devita
  • * Kamala
  • * Manda
  • * Sonia
  • * Sunila


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