| A moment from the play, Heloina Puba. Picture by Inaocha Salam |
Heloina Puba is a play which satirises lawmakers who indulge in malpractices in the name of democracy.
The elected representatives have to regain their losses after contesting an election and it is another reverse meaning of democracy. Though the judiciary, executive and the press are there to keep an eye on the democratic procedure, these attempts are disabled by rampant corruption, power and nepotism.
G.C. Tongbra’s classic play was first staged during the 1970s.
The play, directed by Thokchom Shyamo and Santa Pebiya, was staged at the Manipur Dramatic Union hall on June 3 on the occasion of the 12th death anniversary of Tongbra by Society Theatre, Manipur.
Tongbra was the George Bernard Shaw of Manipur for his take on current social, political and religious problems as subjects for his plays.
Heloina Puba does not mean gender bias. In local tradition it means if a man is unable to control his own body and mind, a fairy carries him away. The plot revolves around the fictitious kingdom of Mayapur, which was ruled by the people’s representatives after the end of the constitutional monarchy.
Most of Tongbra’s plays ridicule the functions of the state machinery for which he was put behind the bars several times. Tongbra used allegories and obscene words on the stage. But his plays still are a class by themselves.
The audience applauded the play during the 1970s, but it was a lacklustre performance in the recent production.
It was less energetic because of improper training and rehearsal. The sets and props were symbolic but needed more attention. In the ever-changing theatre trends, reinvention of the works of Tongbra depend on quality and production style.
The directors of the play need to do a pre-production research to give the message to the young generation. The scripts of Tongbra are not so perfect unless the directors do their homework.