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Mani Numit – 50 Years and Marching on

Mani Numit – 50 Years and Marching on

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A scene from first Manipuri Film "Matamgi Maniour"

Manipuri film reaches the milestone of 50 years. East India Story congratulates each and every member of the Manipuri Film Industry.

The major factor for conflicts between two generations is the mental gap in terms of thinking pattern & current trends. This is because the world is constantly changing and adoption to change becomes difficult at times. But till date we have not been able to recognize a perfect balance of tradition and trends and it remains unknown for now and for days the days to come. In a way one can say that the fast changing world is directly proportional to our day-to-day life. Good or bad is subjective.

But this phenomenon is not new. Since ages the thinking pattern of two generation has been conflicting with each other. Perhaps this perspective is what influenced Debkumar Bose to make the movie Matamgi Manipur which means ‘The Times of Manipur’, the first full length Manipuri feature film released in the year 1972. The film narrates the story of a middle-class family which is stuck between trends and tradition.

The father Tonsna a retired man lives with his two sons, a daughter-in-law and a daughter. Ibohal one of the son is a easy-going and spoilt young man who wants to live a fashionable life. His wife, Tampak, on the other hand wants to live the life of a virtuous ideal house-wife. Ibotombi the other son is a progressive young man who is always challenging the old values and is often angry to the fact that people do not understand the need to change old beliefs and progress in life. Tondonbi, the daughter, who is a college girl, has ultra modern ideas about life. She wants to enjoy life and in this pursuit makes the best of the given situation and the circumstance.

In this situation Tonsna does not take the trouble of guiding his children or helping them to adjust with the society which is slowly changing its image. The result is that Ibohal makes a mess of his life; Ibotombi is frustrated because the world of his existence does not change as fast as he would like it to do. Tondonbi also ends up in misery and desperation. They drift in different directions pulled by their diametrically opposite attitudes. The family seems to be destined to disintegrate, but then they begin to understand each other better and decide to live together happily thereafter. This movie was awarded the President’s Medal in the 20th National Film Award and is based on a play by Arambam Samarendra titled Tirtha Yatra.

Manipuri film industry has produced many more films since then. Some of the makes which is worth mentioning are:-

Brojendragee Luhongba, also released in 1972 was directed by Sapam Nodiachand holds a special place in history of Manipuri cinema. The movie was based on a story by Lamabam Kamal Singh.

Imagi Ningthem, which was released in 1981 brought Manipuri Cinema on the international map as it was awarded the Grand Prix at the Festival of Three Continents, Nantes in 1982. The film was directed by the maestro Aribam Shyam Sharma and the story and screenplay was by  M.K. Binodini.

Sanakeithel, released in 1983 is the first Manipuri feature film to be edited by a Manipuri. The film introduced an example of neo-realism in Manipuri cinema and was directed by Maibam Amuthoi Singh. The story and music was by Nongmaithem Pahari.

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Langlen Thadoi, released in 1984 was the first full-length color Manipuri feature film and was also the first film produced by a woman. It was directed by Maibam Amuthoi Singh and produced by Kh. Sakhi Devi for Kay Pee Films International

Ingallei, released in 1990 marked the arrival of the next generation directors. It was directed ny R.K. Kripa.

Lammei, 2002 was the first digital Manipuri film that was approved for theatrical release and was released on the 24th of May 2002. It marked the transition of two phases in the evolution of Manipuri Cinema- the waning of celluloid cinemas and the rising of digital cinemas. Since its release, there has been a surge in the number of Manipuri films as many production houses ventured into making films.The movie was directed by O. Gautam and Oken Amakcham

50 years has passed since the first Manipuri movie was released. The Manipuri film industry proudly celebrates Mani Numit (Cinema Day) on 9th of April every year to commemorate the release of this film. We from East India Story, congratulate each and every member of the Manipuri film fraternity for stepping into this milestone.

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