"Mary Kom" : A Film on MC Mary Kom

Ngamtinlun Touthang *

Miss World / Bollywood Superstar Priyanka Chopra visits Mary Kom at her Langol quarter :: 15 July 2013

Miss World / Bollywood Superstar Priyanka Chopra visits Mary Kom at her Langol quarter on 15 July 2013
Picture Credit :: Jimmy

"Mary Kom" is no longer a 'boxing queen' only but also a Bollywood (Indian) film now. The film will have two versions: National and International. The former will be in Hindi focusing more on the family life of Mary Kom, whereas the later will have more action sequence in the boxing ring without songs. The release date of the film is schedule for 5th September this year, but it is already a household name in popularity. The release of its first look (poster) recently on 15th July and the official trailer on 23rd July has been responded well by the audience to indicate that it would be a hit on the screen.

Shortly, we'll be able to see a Hindi/English film based on the story of a north-easterner. The role of Mary Kom being played by the well-acclaimed actor Priyanka Chopra had already affirm that it will be one of the most successful films of the year. Even if it is not as successful as expected, in terms of profit earned, it will still be one of the most popular films especially in the north-east.

Many people deserve appropriate appreciation in this regard. The first credit should go to Mary Kom. For her hard work is well recognised now. The same credit must be extended to Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the well known film-maker, for taking up this bold step, Omung Kumar (Director), Saiwyn Quadras (Story & Sreenplay), and all the crew members.

Interestingly, the poster and trailer had already gone viral in many of the social networking sites, especially Facebook. In fact, many facebook-users have started a debate on the prospect of the film, most of them focusing on its popularity. While many preferred to question the wisdom of the film-makers for choosing a Bollywood actor instead of one from north-east, many also argued that the film would be a success only if actor like Priyanka played the role.

The former groups believed that Mary Kom is already a household name who doesn't need a popular face to make the film success; and the later groups are of the view that a popular face like Priyanka is very much needed since many Indians outside north-east are yet to be familiar with Mary Kom. This is perhaps a clear indication that the film would be well-received.

Mary Kom being a sports celebrity, and Priyanka a well-known beauty queen and a successful Bollywood actor, may be equally credited if the film become a success as plan. Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, said that this is already a historic film since a world champion in one arena (Miss World 2000) portrayed world champion in another arena (five times world boxing champion) for the first time. In fact, the success of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' had shown that the taste of a biopic on sportsperson well suited Indian audience. Apart from Priyanka, other starrers include Danny Denzongpa, Sunil Thapa, Minakkshi Kalitaa, Zachary Coffin, Shishir Sharma and others.

Since the film is based on the life of a Manipuri, and a number of scenes are expected to be shot in Manipur including the birth-place of Mary Kom, some sort of a biography of her may be recorded here.

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom (in short MC Mary Kom) was born on 24th November, 1982 in a village called Sagang in Manipur's Churachandpur district as the first child of a poor agricultural labourer. While she was still a small child, her family shifted to Kangathei village. Though Mary Kom would soon become Queen of Indian Boxing Ring with the title "Magnificent Mary", her parents Mangte Tonpa Kom and Saneikham Kom @Akham were just honest hard-working cultivators and true believers.

From such a humble beginning, she went on to become five times World Champion before winning the Olympic medal. Married to Onler Kom, now she is mother of three sons. So far, Mary Kom had won 18 gold medals and two each of silver and bronze at the international level, and 12 gold medals at the national level, apart from others. Her achievements have been fairly recognised with a number of awards including the coveted Padma Bhushan (2013), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2009), Padma Shri Award (2005) and Arjuna Award (2003). Looking back at her past life, she wrote in her Memoir 'Unbreakable' thus: "I hope that my life is proof to youngsters across India that it is possible to do more if they dare, if they have the will."

It is basically because of all these achievements, especially the Olympic medal that attracted Bollywood film makers to make a film on the life of Mary Kom. Mary Kom, however, said the project was started even before the Olympic Games. Hopefully, this tiny state of north-east India will soon be known to all Indians including the most illiterate class who do not even care what an Olympic medal is all about. Along with the film, people will also remember the name "Kom" which is a small tribe of Manipur. Actually, the Koms are traditionally great warrior tribe.

Moreover, it is heartening to learn that the film is schedule for a release in Manipur also. This will give a great opportunity for the people of Manipur to watch the film as soon as it releases. It will also have International Premiere at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival which will take place from September 4 to September 14 this year.

Meanwhile, one serious question that hunts our mind is whether the situation in Manipur would permit the release/screening of the film as Hindi films have been banned since the past few years. But, it is good news that the film is a biopic of a Manipuri and has an international version in English which will not be a problem.

Last, but not the least, it is a moment of joy for all the people of Manipur and northeast as a whole to see a Hindi/English film based on the success story of a person from the state. This is all the more so with the Kukis, Kom being one of the traditionally great Kuki tribes.

* Ngamtinlun Touthang wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was webcasted on August 01, 2014.


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