My experience of choreography of Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada
- Part 1 -

Budha Chingtham *

Commisioner IPR at Premier Show 'Atopa Shangsar Amada' at  Chandrakirti Auditorium (MCA) on December 3 2017
Commisioner IPR at Premier Show 'Atopa Shangsar Amada' at Chandrakirti Auditorium (MCA) on December 3 2017 :: Pix - DIPR

Indrakumar Soibam, theatre director shook my hand saying "Wonderful Preformance". Padmashree Naba Wareppa also said, "Very good. Very good." shaking my hand. My friends and acquaintances too appreciated my work calling it "Fantastic", "Landmark Performance". The appreciation did not end there just after the performance. Well known critics, directors, theatre scholars had pointed out the crux of the play.

Dr. I.S. Kangjam, President of Critics Forum commented:
"Most importantly, I appreciate the way you skilfully use the multi-media. Multi-media theatre has already reached Manipur. Many plays have used this so far. But up to now, no one has been able to use it as successfully as you have by synchronising it with the situation of the play. Today, many changes have come in theatre. Out of that, this play is successful."

R.K. Sanajaoba, theatre director and actor said,
"Other might take it otherwise! I have been working in theatre since 1955 and I have witnessed many diversed plays but this modern theatre play, I think I can connect to it and feel it."

"In contemporary Manipuri theatre, to produce such a visually rich and innovative work and again to retell the Manipuri lore of 'Helloi' (forest nymph) enchanting humans and making it still relevant in today's scientific world is a huge contribution. The play is shown in tow medium: one played on floor and the other in screen. One negative point of the play is that it is a bit too abstract to the common audience. But it is also interesting that one needs to think to get what the play is about and the play simply not a typical hero-heroines type.

Ranjmani Ayekpam, theatre critic, Secretary, Critic Forum
"In the journey of the new Manipuri theatre searching for new language and ways of expression through experimental plays, the use of multi media and the play of the lights in the plays compel us to think and ponder and at the same time it gives us a new taste of theatre."

Dr. Lamabam Gojendra, theatre critic, director, Vice President, Critic Forum
"In these ways, many noted personalities of theatre express their appreciation of the play. In my journey of theatre, this is a different experience. It was one of the best moments of my life. I forgot my struggle, disappointments and dejections at the very moment. This must be what one says is the life of an artist."

That day was 3 December, 2017. On this day, at Maharaj Chandrakirti Auditorium, Palace Compound, Imphal, the play which is a dramatised version of well known writer, K. Radhakumar Singh's (poet, short story and travelogue writer, I.A.S., Commisisioner ) Atoppa Sansar Amada (All Possible Worlds) was premiered. It is presented in mixed media dance theatre under Ascent Repertory Theatre, Imphal under the direction of Juma Khan.

By the blessings of Goddess Khangjing, the public were satisfied with the play. Here, I would like to share my experience of transforming the story from page to stage. The performance is a dramatised version of Radhakumar's short story Atoppa Sansar Amada, a two pages short story from his short story book Mitkup Amatang.

I had gone through some literary works of Radhakumar and I found his style of writing and expression unique. His stories intriqued me. He is straight forward in his expression and he mostly based his stories on unrealistic and unusual places. Here, I would like to say that he is a writer who is surrounded by new ideas and unconventional thought process.

I came across a unique short story Atoppa Sansar Amada in Radhakumar's distinct short story book. I woud like to claimed that this short story is his master work. I read it innumerable times. I might have read it more than a hundred times. I was conqured by this book.

In his work, there is this symbolism where the conscious and unconscious minds meet that enthralled me. One may not get the meaning of the story after reading it or one may simply read it as a man's journey in a dense forest.

But the symbolism that is hidden behind Radhakumar's work is a wonder to me. By using symbolism, the writer meticulously tries to put forth the topic - his views, beliefs, how he sees human life, nature, religion - directly as well as indirectly. That is why, his short story which though looks simple is his master work. The narrative of a story in a deep symbolic level and the apt use of literary devices drive me to a dream of a distinct choreographic work to represent this.

What is surprising in his use of literary device is that he is able to narrate stories which are again not uniform with the symbolic representation. He presents symbolism in two ways- one which is overtly visible and the other is a world that is embedded within the story.

Examples of those that are on the surface are- jungle, conch, pung (drum), jhan, a dog and its puppy, thorn, light, Krishna and house. Again, examples of those that are underlying the surface and not mentioned are- 'Helloi' (forest nymph), hills, rivers, lakes, cloudy weather, etc.

One instance is that 'Helloi' is the backbone of the story but this word is never mentioned in the whole story or play. But when the writer says, "They are searching for the man by playing conch, pung (drum) and jhan in the dense forest" he tries to indictate the presence of the powerful spirit 'Helloi'. He also uses religious symbols and mention can be made of the use of (Oom).

In fact, to translate Radhakumar's overt and hidden symbols into a play seems a never ending endeavour and to add to that is his minimal use of words. His mastery of using symbols is very rare. His text is symbolically overtone, dramatically theatrical and very philosophical. In real life as well as literary life, Radhakumar is unconventional.

In short, it is not easy to understand his writing. A reader needs to be intellectually equipped to understand and appreciate his emotion and art.

To stage such a writer's master work is not easy. I faced a big challenge. When I transformed the short story into a script, I retained most of the dialogues of the original text with a little liberty. What was tough was to translate the journey and texture of human life with symbolism on stage. We all know that symbols can be interpreted in different ways and there are numerous definitions of symbolism.

To be continued...

* Budha Chingtham wrote this article for The Sangai Express This article was posted on March 13, 2017.

* 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 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.

  • Meira Rally protest of MU VC : Gallery
  • Jianthailiu, Paopu :: eMing
  • Role of Bamboo in Social Housing
  • Issues surrounding boundary of Manipur
  • To Adya Prasad Pandey :: Poem
  • Troubles -from Buddhist point of view
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • 13 July Moreh Terror Attack
  • Opposition's stand: A new turning point
  • Waiting for PMP Bill
  • Kangkhui Khullen, Mt Khorung #1 : Gallery
  • Bandh demanding VC removal #2 : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #3: Gallery
  • ILP bill yelhoumee di kanba ngamloi
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Slow Loris: only known venomous primate
  • The mystery of nine :: Poem
  • Student protesters met with police brutality
  • Why MU rejects fact finding committee
  • 48 hrs bandh total : MUSU delivers point
  • Ravi explains basis of framework agreement
  • Bandh demanding VC removal #1 : Gallery
  • Greater Nagaland or Mini Nagaland ? #1
  • We just need a little bit of luck
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Cry of a Dying River - 37 :: Poem
  • Manipur : Context & Structural Violence
  • Procrastinations and protests
  • Protests against MHRD at New Delhi
  • Scientists from NASA during IIT Techniche
  • Mission 'Go to Village'
  • Even Monkey falls from the tree
  • Lim divide : Strong statement from CM
  • DESAM Protest- remove MU VC : Gallery
  • Konung Kang Chingba #2 : Gallery
  • Unbiased Retake Manipur University Issues
  • BoSEM Imbroglio: Educational smuggling
  • Jobs available in NIELIT centers
  • Commanding Officer-i-c must be punished
  • Public official's escorts assault lawyer
  • Is Govt underestimating MU Community
  • MU impasses : Getting uglier
  • Art Exhibit @Imphal Art College #1 : Gallery
  • HSLC students @ Chalwa, KPI : Gallery
  • Arambam Modhu Kalabhusan-Lairik Haiba
  • Interferences in private school affairs
  • Diagnostic Testing Phases -complexities
  • The Kite Runner :: Poem
  • Call for joint mass protest at New Delhi
  • Manipur CM warns of extreme steps
  • Naga civil society playing key role
  • This will be an Acid test for N. Biren
  • Best option : A graceful exit ..for Pandey
  • Kang Khichri chaba @Kwakeithel : Gallery
  • Plastic Surgery Day @RIMS : Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @Keishampat : Gallery
  • Human rights of women in our society
  • AFSPA Gesture and Better Alternative
  • Leisure :: Poem
  • Restore Life After Burns : Plastic Surgery
  • Konung Kang Chingba #1 : Gallery
  • Dont waste searching for word/phrases
  • Hill People & Merger of Manipur
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #5
  • U-Mangra for biofuel for economic devpt
  • Painting competition on environment
  • Condemn Moreh terror attack
  • Climbing Shirui Hills, Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Kang Chingba - Rath Yatra : Book
  • Why the impasse at Manipur University
  • Condolence Message for Tamenglong
  • Maharaj parleys Bizando
  • Opt for fruit/vegetable beauty product
  • DG Assam Rifles meets Governor
  • Recreation - a Serious Business
  • Tuilha Kolt waterfall @Kpi #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Lamjing Meira Ningsing Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Who Created the Border Pillar Conflict ?
  • EEVFAM amidst Numbness and Noise
  • Special Olympics Unified Cup 2018
  • Path for youth's bright future
  • Addressing core issues
  • Students Vs Centre's man : MU
  • Thangjam Manorama Anniversary: Gallery
  • A reflection on POCSO Act, 2012
  • Fear :: Poem
  • War veterans laboured to clean compound
  • Free Career Counselling Program
  • NEFIS writes to University bodies
  • Sit-in-Protest Against House Search
  • 50th World Population Day celebrated
  • Something worrying
  • Congress : 2 days session too short
  • Jadugi Chei :: Funga Wari
  • Tribal protest for MU normalcy : Gallery
  • Framework Agreement: What is it ?
  • Some cairns from the way: Artist's retake #2
  • Cry of a Dying River # 36 :: Poem
  • Overview on Manipur University imbroglio
  • Tribal Students memo to HRD on MU
  • India-Vietnam Film Show 2018 at Delhi
  • Why the CM is helpless ?
  • No end in sight to MU crisis
  • Indo-Myanmar Pillar 81 @Kwatha #1: Gallery
  • Global Bamboo Congress @Beijing : Gallery
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #4
  • Kamesh Salam : Speaker at BARC, Beijing
  • Career in Cooperatives
  • Nagaland CM's speech at NEC
  • NPF Rejoinder to JD (U) of July 9
  • Unfair Game
  • Expecting documentary proof from villagers
  • Lamjing Meira Ningsing Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Woken Youth Clubs in season of World Cup
  • Converting tourism potential into reality
  • Let me live in your heart :: Poem
  • D-Jent.... Djentleman... Anyone ?
  • Socialism or destruction of humanity ?
  • Demand action against KSO activists
  • Ichangi Laidhi #3 :: eRang
  • Modernizing Manipur University Library
  • In the grip of nothingness :: Poem
  • Password protection - I
  • Congenital Heart Defect operated
  • Hill area bandh relaxed temporarily
  • State & central govt must stop conflict
  • Cohesion is sports
  • Explain 'devious purpose'
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur merger agreement 1947
  • Wari Jalsa at New Delhi
  • Congress grass menace in North-East
  • M A Thomas National Human Rights Award
  • What does worry do to us ?
  • Is Manipur a part of India ?
  • Rumours of child lifters : Dangerous
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #3 : Gallery
  • Forest Rights Act 2006 -context of Manipur
  • Supreme Court Hearing on EEVFAM case
  • Cry of a Dying River - 35 :: Poem
  • Terirama Th. met South Korea's first lady
  • Securing security cameras: invisible eye
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland CM's statement
  • Meitei Mayek - are the scales tipped now
  • Patronising non-locals : Nail the insiders
  • Tribal University @ Senapati : Gallery
  • Rally to remove MU VC #2 : Gallery
  • Some cairns from the way: Artist's retake #1
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #3
  • UN experts on 'fake encounter' killings
  • Nagaland CM Rio statement on July 4
  • Condemns inhuman eviction by Govt
  • Trainees Certificate of RPL at Kamrup
  • Minor reunited with mother after 26 days
  • Non-Operative Closure of "hole in the heart"
  • We are for the people, for the society
  • Over 30 days : Centre sleeps, MU 'burns'
  • Thokchom Brindashabi Devi :: Profile
  • Kshetri-bengoon Eviction Protest : Gallery
  • Successive pay commissions: It's impact
  • Research Support @ R-Square Design
  • leingakki thouwong - state terrorism
  • Rebuttal: Interview of Ranju Singh
  • Different forces pulling Manipur : Lim
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #3 : Gallery
  • Some ideas for prevention of flood
  • Satisfaction :: Poem
  • Supreme Court hearing on EEVFAM - 2 July
  • Dark lips .. causes and care
  • Training on Handloom Weaver at Hojai
  • CME on 'Congenital Heart Diseases'
  • Nagaland CM should make his stand clear
  • 2019 LS polls : BJP on the offensive
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #4 : Gallery
  • Naga American conference in California
  • Life of an army officer's daughter
  • The Winter Blues :: Poem
  • 16th Mega Miss North East
  • NDPP on Naga integration
  • Allegations against VC holds no ground
  • Rally to remove MU VC #1 : Gallery
  • July Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • A Washed-Out Summer Vacation in MU
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #2
  • My short interaction with Penna Donna
  • 9th Men Mega Mister North East
  • Memo submitted to Kiren Rijiju
  • India- no interest to protect its boundary
  • Idea of who is a citizen of the land
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #3 : Gallery
  • Dr Thingnam Kishan Memorial : Gallery
  • Black sheep in movement for ILPS #3
  • Our Common Crisis: What are We to Do #2
  • Jackichand Singh signs for FC Goa
  • No co-operation to MU VC
  • Nagaland CM contradicting himself : NPF
  • Career Guidance Workshop at Ukhrul
  • The tales of a forgotten University
  • Pulling at idea of Manipur : Lim, ATC
  • Climbing Shirui Hills, Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • Moirangthem Arup: 90 Km Marathon, Africa
  • Pitfalls on land acquisition for Mapithel Dam
  • Chinese dominance in 21st century
  • Caring for the elderly
  • IIT-G's Technothlon prelims at UAE
  • Mass Rally from Manipur University
  • Nagaland CM releases book by teenager
  • Why trying to dictate media time & again
  • MU, border pillar, Citizenship Bill
  • Oinam Dilip's Painting Exhibition
  • Intl Day Against Drug Abuse : Gallery
  • The Manipur Merger Agreement 1949
  • A road to Mandalay
  • Keeping up: medical diagnostics tech
  • The mother of all preventive strategies
  • Relief camps for Flood affected families
  • The dark side of Indian democracy
  • From three time CM to Oppn leader
  • Khumang Pokpa Haraoba #1 : Gallery
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #3 : Gallery
  • Mova Cave, Hungpung, Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #2 : Gallery
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic