TODAY -

SN Chand : The father of Manipuri cinema
- Part 2 -

Meghachandra Kongbam *

 A scene from  Brojendragi Luhongba
A scene from Brojendragi Luhongba :: Pix - TSE



Meanwhile, Karam Monomohan, an exhibitor who owned his theatre house at Moreh and also a timber merchant running the business in Indo-Mynmar border and a jungle contractor dealt in dalchini and spices produced his Manipuri feature film- Matamgi Manipur engaging Debkumar Bose, son of noted filmmaker Devaki Bose from Calcutta as director, shooting the whole film at Movietone Studio in Calcutta with a few shots in Imphal in a short period and released the film in three cinema houses namely Usha Cinema, Friends Talkies in Imphal and Azad Talkies in Kakching on April 9, 1972, which was marked as the birth of the Manipuri cinema.

With his tireless efforts, SN Chand completed his film- Brojendragi Luhongba during the calendar year 1972 and the Censor Board passed his film on December 30, 1972. If the film was made in a studio, it could have been completed early and marked as the first Manipuri film. But SN Chand didn't like the studio made film. He strongly believed in the realistic approach of the New Indian Cinema movement while making his first film.

SN Chand scheduled the release of the film on Friday, January 26, 1973. And it was released simultaneously at Usha Cinema, Friends Talkies in Imphal and Thoubal Cinema at Thoubal. The then Chief Minister of Manipur Md Alimuddin was the chief guest for the release of the film at Usha Cinema.

During the premiere show, SN Chand submitted, "It is not a successful business if we treat filmmaking in Manipur as a business. However, being a devotee of art and artistic skills, and with a thought that the rich Manipuri culture would shine in the world through this medium, I have taken the whole responsibility of making this film sacrificing all I possess."

With few shots in Calcutta showing the protagonist as an MBBS student, the film was set at the backdrop of unique historical places, enchanting landscape of plain and hill areas, beautiful tribal dance and typical traditional performing arts- Pena (A traditional stringed instrument used in the narration of the Epic of Khamba Thoibi legend) and Bashok of Manipur. It was a true Manipuri film made by the first son of the soil.

Based on the short story with the same title of Dr Kamal's work, which appeared in a monthly journal 'Lalita Manjuri Patrika' in 1933, the 122- minute feature film depicts among other things the religious and cultural life of people dwelling in the hills and plains of Manipur.

The thematic concept of this social story seeks to establish that honesty of purpose shall be maintained in every sphere of life to achieve success and honour in life. The film also revolves around a conflict between modernism and traditional values and reveals that traditional values are worthy of one's identity. Brojendra (SN Chand) returns home with a medical degree from Calcutta Medical College.

When he reaches home, he learns that his marriage has already been scheduled. It was a bolt from the blue to a young man with a modern outlook like Brojendra. He thinks that marriage should not be treated so lightly, at least he shall see eye to eye before they are wedded.

So, he argues with his mother (Ibemhal). His mother replies that she got married to his father as arranged by her parents. Brojendra's maternal uncle (Oinam Birmangol) also tries to convince him to fulfil the decision of the elders.

Brojendra dislikes the idea. Being an obedient boy of his parents and of good nature, he obeys. But he decides not to even look at the face of his would-be wife (Romola). He does not spend the wedding night in the bride's room. He gets a Government job with a posting at Churachandpur, a hill station and leaves home before Mangani Chakkouba (Marriage feast on the fifth day after marriage). Days pass by, the agony of the innocent girl increases day by day.

Later on, Brojendra realizes his fault after experiencing a few incidents. In the meantime, his boss calls him at Imphal for some important assignment. He reaches home but cannot enter his house. He takes a turn and visits a Bashok, a Manipuri Nata music concert in a nearby Mandap.

The singer is performing the Birha song of Radha "Vrindaban-gi amuba thadu amuk thoklamkhini" (The black moon of Vrindaban would have appeared).

This Sringara Rasa has submitted to Brojendra's heart. When he glances towards the audience, he catches sight of a very beautiful woman. She is so lovely that Brojendra is fully attracted to her. His conscience pricks him as he rejects his innocent wife. He makes up his mind to go straight to his wife and apologize for his mistake.

But to his great surprise, he finds at his home the very beautiful woman whom he sees at the Mandap. He stands speechless. At this moment, his wife falls at his feet sobbing and beseeching his love. Brojendra takes her in his arm and embraces her with love.

Anil Gupta was the Cinematographer and Rasbehari Sinha was the Editor of the film. Songs were recorded at Technicians Studio, Calcutta. In the film, renowned Bengali playback singer Aarti Mukherjee who later shot to fame sang a Manipuri song- Nil Khonglaba Nonggi Mapei Mapei (Noisy Thunder of Black Clouds) in semi-classical style.

SN Chand's multifaceted talents flowered in his production. The film bagged the Best Screenplay Award in the First Manipur State Film Festival, 1984 organised by the Government of Manipur. But the film missed the National Award of the 20th Edition of National Film Festival 1972 because the film scored the same marks as Debkumar Bose's Matamgi Manipur (Present Day Manipur).

The President's Silver Medal for the Best Feature Film in Manipuri was given to Matamgi Manipur being the first-ever Manipuri Feature Film. This was revealed by eminent writer and critic Elangbam Nilakanta who was associated with the jury as an invitee.

However, Elangbam Nilakanta praised the film- Brojendragi Luhongba for its reflection of the vivid identity of Manipur, capturing the beautiful ways of lives of the people at the real spots. It was not a studio-made film.

MK Binodini, an eminent writer who was also on the Jury as an invitee, opted out from the Jury for being associated with Matamgi Manipur as a lyricist. The Regional Jury, Calcutta was headed by Sombhu Mitra.

If we study SN Chand's Brojendragi Luhongba, it may not be an exaggeration to say that the film emerged as a product of the New Indian Cinema wave, which was prevalent from the latter part of the 1960s to the 1980s. SN Chand himself was an active member of the Film Society of Manipur.

The film was a complete departure from the mainstream cinema and made with a realistic approach dissecting the then trends of Manipuri society which was about to be blown away by an alien culture. It was a wake-up call for the masses for identification and realization of one's ethos.

It was during the emergence of the new Indian Cinema, many regional films from different parts of the country also found a new premise with striking glory and achievement. Under the initiatives taken up by the Government of India, such landmark films were produced.

The period heralded a shift from mainstream cinema to a new direction where films were based on social issues with a realistic approach. The films generated a new wave of thinking and discussions amongst the masses.


To be continued...


* Meghachandra Kongbam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on May 27 2022 .



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Lam Thokpa #4 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 July : Govt of Manipur
  • The untold story, lest it be/is forgotten #2
  • Discussion : Uses of medicinal plants of NER
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Spiritual aphelion
  • Celtel & the Mobile Revolution in Africa
  • Spot assessment must to reap fruit of project
  • The other tale of Marangching disaster
  • Environmental Activist Anish Ahmed
  • COVID-19 Status 04 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Maranging: Deceased/Injured/Missing [4 Jul]
  • Integrated farming system
  • GST on horse trading and racing
  • Significance of International Day of Yoga
  • Maranging: Deceased/Injured/Missing [3 Jul]
  • BJP's promise for issue-less NE by 2024
  • Spike in daily new cases
  • Kang Chingba at Konung #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Appeal to Treat Myanmar Citizens Humanely
  • Search operations continue at Tupul [Jul 3]
  • Why not a New Imphal City ?
  • Lord Jagannath - the legend about His form
  • Indo-Naga Talks (2012-) :: News Timeline
  • Positive cases rise amid public complacency
  • Search, body count continue
  • Landslide at Tupul [Jun 30] #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Maranging : Deceased/Injured/Missing [2 Jul]
  • Search operations continue at Tupul [Jul 2]
  • International Plastic Bag Free Day 2022
  • Women rights, West takes a backward step
  • Adverse impact of climate change is real
  • Kang Chingba at Konung #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 July : Govt of Manipur
  • Search operations continue at Tupul [Jul 1]
  • Teaching at Mt Everest College, Senapati
  • Blood Donation Camp at Manipur University
  • North East CSR Award 2022
  • Skin problems that arise during monsoons
  • Right recipe for more natural disasters
  • It is a disaster not seen earlier here
  • Landslide at Tupul [Jun 30] #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Kang Chingba (Rath-yatra) :: Book
  • Search operations continue at Tupul Station
  • Call for prototype funding under Nidhi Prayas
  • A brief recap of the Jagannath Temple
  • Fund flow, official diligence for Vision 2047
  • After a lull of more than 60 days
  • 21st Great June Uprising #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 June : Govt of Manipur
  • July Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Chance Meeting with Chakhesang air hostess
  • Intensive vegetable rice rotation
  • Prolonged sitting or standing spoils your leg
  • Infiltration on amid haggling on ILP base year
  • Rounding up Myanmarese : Reality Bites
  • Top 3 Museums in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 28 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Opening a new door : A Closure
  • 100 Trees Planted in memory of Dr Kishan
  • Serendipity :: Poem
  • The Agnipath Yojana : Deify or demonise ?
  • On Govt's move to carry out delimitation
  • Fertiliser : Govt assures, farmers unsatisfied
  • More than putting vehicle into motion
  • ILP Check point at Jiri : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 June : Govt of Manipur
  • The untold story, lest it be forgotten
  • Assistance to victims of Assam Flood
  • A glimpse of 'Yangna Paikhredako Punshi'
  • Market innovations in developing country
  • Anti-drug day expose state pathetic situation
  • The wedge amongst the Nagas
  • Coming of Manipur University in 1980
  • COVID-19 Status 26 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Laitonjam Lanchenba: Best Swimmer
  • Our capital Imphal - the city of sanity
  • Workshop : ND & PS Act, 1985
  • Mara Prabhu - Lord of the trees
  • Essence of international anti-drug day
  • July 1 : Taking the fight to plastic
  • Miss Shirui Lily 2022 #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Flesh Trade : Connection between Goa & NE
  • Importance of Soil Testing & Management
  • ST status Vs Classical language for Meetei
  • Life, faith and belief
  • MANISFA General Secretary appointed
  • Flood Watch : 23rd June #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Community led in ensuring HIV treatment
  • Approach to ideology & development
  • Solar Energy solution for healthcare facility
  • Yoga for health, beauty and immunity
  • Innovation Prize Launched for Designers
  • Knotty higher education sector
  • Classical language status and ST demand
  • Flood Watch : 23rd June #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Birds and Bees Talk launched 3rd phase
  • Luck matters, Rio's first entry into cabinet...
  • Need to deal with dumping of waste materials
  • Training on mushroom at Nagamapal
  • 1961 as base year: Take it or leave it
  • 10 years too late : JCILPS
  • Phamnaiba Jagoi @ Thangjing : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Women's cleanliness enjoys equal rights...
  • Life in some hill villages
  • The MCI Restoration II
  • 'BRO Cafes' on 75 border roads
  • Protest over boundary row headache for Govt
  • Issues on the indigenous question
  • Drug Menace In Manipur : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 June : Govt of Manipur
  • ST tag for Meiteis - A perspective!
  • Manipur State Welfare : Politics 1-0 Citizens
  • International Yoga Day at Assam Rifles
  • International Yoga Day at IBSD Imphal
  • International Yoga Day at NSU Imphal
  • Manipur Lokyukta: Fighting against corruption
  • Vision to distribute local rice under NFSA...
  • Taking the fight to the drug menace
  • Landslides - Imphal-Jiri [Jun 17] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Thangjing in folklore of Koireng tribe
  • Health Workshop on Diabetes at Pune
  • Everyone is a thief :: Poem
  • E- barton for CM & Governor
  • Intensive cultivation of vegetables
  • High time to encourage e-vehicle operators
  • Scripting success story with Rs 500
  • Leima Jagoi by Transgender #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 June : Govt of Manipur
  • June 19 2022 : Father's Day message
  • Nine Hills One Valley : Ottawa Film Fest
  • Shirui Lily Festival or mud festival ?
  • Yoga for Women organised
  • Flight link to Mandalay dream come true
  • Action of Govt needs to be backed
  • 21st Great June Uprising #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 June : Govt of Manipur
  • The Great June 18 Uprising :: News Timeline
  • Revive environmentalism in Meetei ethos
  • COVID-19 Status 17 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Elephant army of Lord Guruvayurappan
  • Who will be next at Rashtrapati Bhawan
  • Hiyang Tannaba @ Loktak #1 : Gallery
  • Freedom movement against British #2
  • Inequity and health security
  • Donating blood is an act of solidarity
  • Unregulated deposit schemes & BUDS Act
  • Extension of entry age : Agnipath
  • Citizens feeding on adulterated food items
  • Of food safety and street vendors
  • Pooja Elangbam, IAS, 81st ranker in AICS
  • COVID-19 Status 16 June : Govt of Manipur
  • NE Model @Delhi Kids Fest : Gallery
  • Manipur Rajkunja
  • Effective Legal Aid to Women Prisoner
  • How to avoid cracked heel during hot summer
  • Aid to artisan must to promote local product
  • Education for whom ?
  • Kabui Dance @Nongshaba Haraoba : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 June : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Let's Talk About It' : music album
  • Significance of World Environment Day
  • The MCI Restoration
  • North East CSR Award 2022
  • Prolonged sitting or standing spoils your leg
  • State fast-tracking towards drug making hub
  • 'Progression' from smuggling to manufacturing
  • Bonny Elangbam : Longest distance covered
  • COVID-19 Status 14 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Interaction with Makakmayum Hosni Mubarak
  • India to become $5 trillion economy
  • Exploring traditional medicines of NE
  • Freefall of the kids after COVID-19
  • Honour the tax payers, expose defaulters
  • NE needs more than 'unprecedented'
  • Miss Shirui Lily 2022 #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Water management in paddy cultivation
  • PM Modi hails Nagaland Gaon Burahs
  • Blight of Nature :: Poem
  • Moreh as Las Vegas
  • NHIDCL's reputation at stake
  • Drugs, poppy & 'alternatives'
  • Thaopai Shithaine of Poumai #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Jadonang Park, Tamenglong :: Gallery
  • Freedom movement against British #1
  • Multi-Tasking Staff at Leima Traders
  • Toning down rhetoric that hurts religion
  • Shirui Lily fest brings to fore plastic menace
  • Conservation of pony & grazing fields
  • Kakwa Lairembi Haraoba #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 June : Govt of Manipur
  • The unheeded cry of children in labour
  • Why present distribution of urea fails?
  • World Day Against Child Labour 2022
  • Sunrise on the Civil Aviation Horizon
  • Arambam Samarendra Ningshingba :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 June : Govt of Manipur
  • NE Ex-Super Model at Delhi Kids Fest
  • What Diphu has, Dimapur & Kohima don't
  • Towards Manipur Budget 2022-23 ...
  • NE Social & Behaviour Change inaugurated
  • Fighting corruption remains an uphill task
  • Environment needs more than tree plantation
  • SN Chand: The father of Manipuri cinema #3
  • COVID-19 Status 09 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Degree Certificate for Survival #2
  • Value chain management of Umorok
  • Pulses for Nutrition Security in Manipur
  • Keeping your skin oil free during summer
  • Demand for impartial probe into IMC scam
  • Politics of isolating the NSCN (IM)
  • Raas @Manipur Rajbari, W Bengal :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 June : Govt of Manipur
  • A rare book on Birds of Manipur
  • Condemns bomb blast in Manipur
  • Market Innovations made America great #2
  • Jal Jeevan Mission : PHED Manipur
  • Disturbing data on lifestyle diseases in state
  • Tough talk against drug menace
  • Trekking to Shirui Peak, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Take a leaf from sunderban if you're serious
  • Testimony of brother Ninghor Mahongnao
  • Local leaders unitedly push for One Health
  • Letters from the Republic of Dust #2
  • Soil testing for better crop production
  • Despicable threat to school
  • Outrage at Little Flower School
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Lam Thokpa #3 :: Gallery
  • Coming together of COCOMI, UNC
  • HSE Result 2022 : Statistiscal Abstract
  • HSE Result 2022 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE Result 2022 : District-Wise Pass %
  • HSE Result 2022 :Science Topper
  • HSE Result 2022 : Arts Topper
  • HSE Result 2022 : Commerce Topper
  • HSE Result 2022 : Science Stream Result
  • HSE Result 2022 : Arts Stream Result
  • HSE Result 2022 : Commerce Stream Result
  • Padmashree Award Moirangthem Muktamani
  • UK band Monuments @ShiRock #2 :: Gallery
  • Lunghar (Imp-Kohima / Jessami) #3 : Gallery
  • Wakhom Leikai Lairembi Haraoba #2 : Gallery
  • Naga Indigenous Wrestling :: Gallery
  • SN Chand: The father of Manipuri cinema #2
  • Licypriya speech at East Timor :: Gallery
  • On 200th Anniversary of MK Binodini Devi
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #2: Gallery
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download