What is wrong with Manipuri movies?

By: Rakesh Soram *

Most people will ask a very big question when they see the title of this article. The question who the dude is this fellow Rakesh and who is he to speak of such a controversial topic. So before I continue further I will make one point very clear. I don't claimed to be an expert- but I will say that I have acquired a huge amount of information regarding movies and techniques of movie production., from watching movies Manipuri, English, World movies etc and from reading and researching for the last 6,7 years. Now these things said, let's get on with the business.

Now to see what is wrong with Manipuri movies, let's dissect the film making process into three parts:
1. Pre-production
2. Production
3. Post-production

Out of this three I will discus only those things regarding production stage. After completion of pre ' production stage production stage comes next. It is in this stage that the actual shooting of the movie take places and it is in this stages that the Manipuri movie makers makes the most mistakes. Many people are involved in this stages but I will discuss only the important ones.


This fellow is the guiding spirit of the entire movie making process. He is the face behind the camera who inhales life to the movie. But in Manipur direction is a very big joke. For every new movie there is a new self styled director. If you have the money (not much, about 3-4 lakhs), you also can be a director even if you have never been there before. Since there are many such self styled directors, how can one hope to see a good Manipuri movie? One should not hope, it will only be a piper's dream.


The job of a cinematographer is to visually capture the concepts and ideas of the director by using camera and lights. But when the direction is of mediocre quality how can one expect to see good cinematography. In Manipur self styled cinematographers (who do not know that cinematography also includes lights) are more easily available than directors.

In Manipur there is a belief that if you can handle the camera or camcorder you become a cinematographer or videographer, whatever it is. This is a wrong belief cinematography is not just about pressing the power button then pressing the record button and moving the camera here and there. A good cinematographer is a lot like a painter, like a painter a good cinematographer tries to capture the 3D world into the 2D film. He creates the illusion of a third dimension on the 2D film by using various techniques like perspective, composition, lights and shadows etc. So my advice to upcoming cinematographer is ' before taking the big plunge buy a SLR camera costing around Rs. 15,000- Rs.20,000 spend at least a few months mastering the basics.

Art director:

While watching Hollywood movies sometime even Hindi movies everything in every scene right from the colours of the dress of the actors, to the overall colour of the environment, to the placement of each and every object in the scene seems to matching and right. This is the result of the work of the art director. It is his job to see that colours of dress of the actors are matching; each and every prop are in place and have matching colours etc.

But in Manipur art direction is a big joke like the case in direction. Most Manipuri film have an art director, but for namesake only. If you are a relative or a friend of the producer or the director you can be the art director for that movie. It is the result of work of art director like these that we are seeing now in Manipuri movie.


Actors are the soul of any movie production. They interpret the ideas of the director into something that have a life and character of its own, by using their body as a medium. But I don't know how many actors in Manipur can actually do that. In every movie we are used to seeing the same acting, same dialogue delivery. The best part of Manipuri movies are the songs. Our actors are really good at song and dance. But song and dances are not reason for the existence of movies.


This is the most important part of a movie. Without a story we can not make a movie. A good story keeps us glued to the cinema screen from the beginning till the appearance of the final credits. Story is also one part of Manipuri cinema that, there is too much to be said. Till now I have not seen a single Manipuri movie that can keep my attention at least for a few minutes. All the stories are the same, the same plot, the same theme; I don't want to write more.

Lastly what is a movie? A movie is interplay of myriad sounds and lights, camera angles, a gripping storyline, great emotion and music which keeps you glued to your seat and transports you to dreamland. But I am still wondering whether a Manipuri movie is going to transport me to wonderland even if it is only for a fleeting moment.

* Rakesh Soram is a self confessed cinema buff and contributes regularly to e-pao.net.
He can be contacted at daket_analyst (at) yahoo (dot) com.
This article was webcasted on March 21, 2008.


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