| A still from the film Japan Landa Imphal. Telegraph picture |
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.
Japan Landa Imphal, which was released on August 24, tells the story of a Meitei girl who fell in love with a Japanese soldier, who had come to Imphal to fight the Allied Forces during the Second World War, despite objections from her family. The soldier was killed in combat and the girl could never forget him.
The film is inspired from history, as Imphal was one of the theatres of the battle between Japanese troops and Allied Forces. People in Manipur call it the “Japan war”.
The auditorium, which was inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on December 3 last year, screened two shows on the day of release. It was watched by film artistes and celluloid film lovers. The auditorium has the facility to screen 3D films as well.
The last Manipuri celluloid film, Mandir (Temple), by producer-director couple Chandam Shyamacharan and his wife Chandam Manorama Devi, was released in 2002. Japan Landa Imphal has also been produced and directed by the couple under the banner of S.C. Productions. It is their fourth celluloid film.
Filmmaker Makhonmani Mongsaba’s Yenning Amadi Likla (spring and dew) was the last local language feature film released in 2007 and had the distinction of entering the Indian Panorama section of Goa International Film Festival. He, however, had to make a video format of the film for screening in Manipur halls as none of the cinemas has the machine to screen celluloid films.
No cinema halls in the state have screened celluloid films since 2002 as the digital format films have seen a boom after the ban on Hindi films by the militant outfit Revolutionary Peoples Front.
Film producers say they want to produce celluloid films at much higher budgets but have not been able to do so because of the lack of opportunity for screening.
“It is a matter of joy for all filmmakers that we now have the opportunity to screen celluloid films. However, the hiring charge of the film corporation hall is very high. If the corporation can reduce it for the screening of celluloid films, it would go a long way in reviving celluloid films in Manipur,” Chandam Shyamacharan said.
The state government has decided to give a grant of Rs 2 lakh per celluloid film. K. Sobita Devi, the state art and culture director, termed the release of the celluloid film as a “new chapter” in Manipuri cinema and promised to look into the demand of filmmakers to increase the grant to Rs 5 lakh.