By Khelen Thokchom
Imphal, Sept. 7: It seems that the days of Manipuri celluloid films are not yet over.
The hope of revival of local celluloid films got a shot in the arm when Japan Landa Imphal (Imphal in Japan war) ' the first Manipuri film in five years and a celluloid one in 10 years ' was released at the almost packed 900-seat new auditorium of Manipur Film Development Corporation.
Aribam Syam Sharma, a film director, actor, critic and music director from Manipur, came to limelight with his film Imagi Ningthem (My son, My Precious) that received the Grand Prix at the Festival des Trios Continents, France in 1982. He has directed 14 feature films and 30 non-feature films, rooted in the socio-cultural milieu of Manipur. His films screened at many International Films Festivals. He has won the National Award 15 times. His work for the promotion of film scenario in Manipur makes him a noted film personality. The Government of India conferred him “Padmashri” in the year 2006.
Nongmaithem Chittaranjan Singh, more commonly known as Nongmaithem Pahari, was an Indian singer, a composer, a revolutionist and a writer. He used to sing in Manipuri. He was perhaps the most prolific Modern Manipuri singer before his death on 18 October 2006 in Imphal, Manipur, India.
Nongmaithem Pahari's greatest contribution to the culture of Manipur is the way he introduced or started a new era of music. He is known to be the greatest force in consolidating the popularity of Modern Manipuri music.
Nongmaithem Pahari was born on 28 August 1934 in Imphal, Manipur. His father, Nongmaithem Thanil, represented the nobility of that time and was an avid theatre activist. Pahari's affinity towards music was manifested early in his childhood when he was heavily influenced by the likes of KL Saigal, Pankaj Mallik and Mana Dey.
Of the many albums that Pahari released during his lifetime, Undying Melodies is considered to be the magnum opus. This is the album that features quite an eclectic number of his all time hits like "Ningsingli meraagi thabaldo", "Eigee eshei saklaroi", "Ahingda khongbee taamna", "Nangee maithong urubada" and "Nangi Napalgi".
The majority of Pahari's songs were written by Manipur B.Jayentakumar Sharma, who composed music for many feature films and many theatre dramas. He had been decorated with almost all the Awards and recognition in the state pertaining to music and culture.
Pahari wrote a book titled Eigi Diaridagi meaning "From My Dairy". It was mainly about his experiences inside the Imphal and Tripura Jail with brief but important mention of the real genesis of the political and armed revolution in Manipur.
He was one of the founding members of United National Liberation Front, a revolutionary front formed in Manipur on 24 October 1964 which is still one of the largest insurgent groups in Manipur.
Pahari retired as the Station Director of Doordarshan Kendra Imphal(Television broadcasting station of Manipur) before which he served as the Station Director of All India Radio in various places including Imphal, Kohima and Gangtok. He was the President of Manipur Dramatic Union, Imphal and All Manipur Matam Ishei Kanglup. He also headed many other societies and cultural groups of the state.
Source : IFP
Renowned for her voice and referred to as the Nightingale of the North East by many, Manipuri singer Laishram Mema had to face several opposition when she started out as a singer. Born a year after India got her independence from the British, on December 22, 1948, Laishram Mema Devi started her musical career at the young age of six alongwith her elder sister Asem Bimla Devi.
She joined the Bhatkhande Sangjit Vidyapith, Lucknow in 1960 and passed the Nritya Visharad (Kathak) in first class, second in 1966.
She is at present a Sugam Sangit artiste and a B High grade in classical vocal.
Laishram Mema was born to (L) Asem Brajabidhu Singh at Yaiskul Hiruhanba Leikai, Imphal.
Soon after her marriage to Laishram Bidyapati Singh of Hailakandi Assam in 1968, she moved to Assam.
Her husband’s family was quite supportive of her choice of profession in the early period of their marriage, but later turned against her singing after their neighbours started to taunt them.
However, she did not lose faith in her singing and continued to stealthily practice singing at night after all the household chores were completed.
Her husband who was supportive of her singing the whole time decided to take her back to Manipur so that she could continue her career in singing.
She returned to Imphal alongwith her husband in 1973 and started living on rent at Palace compound.
Some years after her return to the state she opened her first institute called the Cultural Training Institute at Babupara.
She shifted to Mumbai then Bombay in 1995 and has been living there till date.
Speaking to a group of media persons today at her parental home at Yaiskul Hiruhanba, the singer said even though she cannot sing Manipuri songs regularly, she tries singing Manipuri classical songs at most concerts that she attends.
On the ban on the hindi songs and films in the state, the renowned singer said the ban has helped in promoting the local language, however it has negatively affected the singers of the state when they come out of the state for performing.
Source : Hueiyen News Service
Renowned lyricist and singer of yesteryear B Jayentakumar was conferred with Life Time Achievement Award of the Apunba Manipur Matam Ishei Kanglup on the eighth Matam-gi Ishei Numit, held at JN Manipur Dance Academy, DM College campus today.
The award has been conferred to the veteran lyricist recognizing his lifetime contributions in Manipuri modern songs.
A special honour was also paid to late Keisam Jaminikanta, a noted singer in his own time and who passed away recently.
MLA Bijoy Koijam, deputy chairman of state planning board graced the function as chief guest and Dr Kh Sorojini, director of Art and Culture presided over it.
President of AMMIK, Th Haimo attended as guest of honour.
Speaking as chief guest Bijoy Koijam asserted that modern Manipuri songs of of yesteryears are still very popular and continue to dominate the latest ones.
These songs still enthral listeners even though many new singers have emerged.
Many of the upcoming new singers, are good and get the full attention of the listeners but the unfortunate thing is that many of the lyrics cannot be listened together with family members, he observed.
Pointing out that some signers are imitating singing styles and tunes from south India, Bijoy stressed the need to check and avoid it.
If not checked in time, the journey of Manipuri modern song will be gloomy.
Singers need to get together with musicians to frame a guideline to check the trend of modern song in the state being mixed with imported tunes and music, he added.
Today's singers can also receive awards conferred by the Manipur Sahitya Akademy in the field of arts if they strive hard.
Art and Culture also need to give special attention in this regard, he stressed.
In her speech as president of the function, director Dr Kh Sorojini called upon singers and musicians for a concerted effort in popularizing modern songs of the state with its unique feature.
She also said she will put up the matter of awarding modern singers and musicians to the authority concerned.
Lifetime Achievement Award winner, B Jayentakumar while recalling the trend of Manipuri modern song related his life journey as a lyricist in the compnay of late Nongmaithem Pahari.
He explained his experiences with Pahari through a slide show.
Jayentakumar, with emotion, recalled his life with Pahari and how they would sit together and create tunes of the many songs written by him for Pahari.
Film maker, A Shyam Sharma who had been honoured with Lifetime achievement award by the Manipur Film Development Corporation recalled that in Manipur, the movement of modern songs started around 1960.It is with the invaluable efforts of yesteryears singers and musicians, that today's stage of modern song has been reached.
This should not be forgotten by today's singers and musicians, he advised.
Presentation of songs by the veteran 'modern song' singers attracted the gathering of the function at the concluding part.