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E-Pao! Incident - Sadananda rocks!

Sadananda rocks!

By Ranjan Yumnam *



Having covered them for a while, I have come to develop a deep abhorrence for publicity seekers, pseudo-famous people, especially the page 3 types. Not only do they have a false illusion of grandeur about themselves but think nothing of chasing limelight shamelessly, throwing parties in swanky five-star hotels, hiring PR firms and then feigning not to have invited the media when journos enquire about the purpose of the do.

Fact is, if you can afford to organize a cocktail party with multi-cuisine dinner to boot and manage to get some known faces to attend the do, it will surely guarantee an 8-column spread in the glamour page in newspaper or 2 minute airtime in the news channels which never miss an opportunity to win some more TRPs and readership.

Knowing this, the usual trick for ensuring coverage by media is to pay some celebs to make an appearance at the do (your Indian Idol star Abhijit Sawant comes in this category of stars and performs in garden parties of industrialist, which means you too can buy him for a few thousands. More on this some other day).

Sadananda
So it came as a breath of fresh air when our own celebrities like Sadananda, arguably the Shah Rukh Khan of Manipur, along with other well-known Manipuri singers came down to the Capital and proved why he was not just a temporary wonder boy but is here to stay in the hearts and minds of his fans for a long long time as our homegrown numero uno star.

I can't help it if I sound like a teeny-poppy female fan singing paeans for him. Rarely has there been such a great entertainer who combines personal charisma with music and acting talent.

In a candid chitchat at the backstage of the Ching-Tam Musical Nite organised by Manipur Students' Association, Delhi, Sadananda reveals that music is his original love and more…

RY: What is the prospect of film industry in Manipur?
Sadananda: I think it is doing great guns (literally with threats from different organizations) and the quality is remarkable given the fact our films are produced with shoestring budget. The digital technology has also been a boon for us as we can tinker with different effects in the post-production stage. It would not have been possible had we still made films in the celluloid medium. In fact, because of the tremendous freedom that digital formats give to the technicians in terms of maneuverability and affordability, celluloid equipments in Manipur have gathered dust and cobwebs. Their time has passed.

RY: Has the ban on digital films been lifted?
Sadananda: It was all about money. Money changed hands and all was fine.

RY: Well, cheaper digital technology can also be a bane as every Tomba, Chaoba and Chaobiton now aspires to be a film star.
Sadananda: Yes, I agree with that statement. Some producers and directors insist on casting their daughters and sons in their productions. Nothing wrong with that tendency as long as they can deliver good perfomances. But since many of them don't have real acting talent, this trend is dragging the quality of our films to the gutter level.

RY: So aren't there any objections to such dumbing down and moves to curb this trend?
Sadananda: We have formed a professional body called Actors' Guild (Sadananda is the General Secretary of the body) and now it is mandatory for anyone desirous of acting in films to register themselves with it. The minimum eligibility for acting in films is graduation. This is a way of saying to all aspiring actors, "Look, we appreciate your passion, but before you face the camera, clear your degree exams. We don't want semi-literate people in our industry."

RY: Manipuri films are now indistinguishable from Hindi films. Is this blind imitation?
Sadananda: Manipur culture has a very close affinity to the Bengali's music and art forms, and that reflects in our films. And then, saris and salwar kammeez are regularly worn by the office-goers and girls, so what is the problem in featuring them in our films. Art only imitates reality.

RY: How many films do you have in your kitty?
Sadananda: I have signed 17 films and shootings have started for many of them.

RY: Which do you think is your greater love of your life? Music or films?
Sadananda: Music is my passion. Films happened to me by chance. I attribute all my success to music, and that's why when I have music programmes I cancel all shootings.

Pictures from Ching-Tam Musical Nite 2005 organised by MSAD


* Ranjan Yumnam works for a leading English daily in New Delhi, and covers everything from nanotechnology to Malika Sherawat's big mass appeal. His works have been reviewed by Guardian Online and Beijing Post. He has a blog called Whistleblower and he can be contacted at [email protected]
This article was webcasted on 21st Oct 2005.


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