TODAY -

E-Pao! Manipur - Shumang Lila - History of development of Manipuri theatre

Shumang Lila - History of development of Manipuri theatre
By KshetriMayum Imokanta Singh
Ph.D. SCHOLAR, J.N.U.
New Delhi
<< Prev | Next >>



History of development of Manipuri theatre


Etymologically Shumang lila is the combination of "Shumang" ( courtyard ) and "Lila" ( play or performance ). It is also known as Jatra or jatrawali which is an import from Assam and Bengal as a result of contact with the mainstream Indian culture. It is performed in an area of 13/13 ft in the centre of any open space - courtyard or playground or mandap (pavilion) or bank of a river.

It is performed in a very simple style without any raised stage or any set designing or heavy props such as curtains, background scenary, visual effects etc. but with only one table and two chairs , kept on one side of the performance space. Its claims of being the theatre of the masses can be exemplified by the way it is performed in the middle of an audience which surrounds it from all sides leaving only one passage which serves as both entrance and exit connecting the performance space with the green room.

Shumang lila is performed by a touring band of 12-13 professional artistes on invitation basis. These troupes may be either exclusively female (Nupi Shumang Lila) or exclusively male ( Nupa Shumang lila ). Though the male characters are enacted by the female artistes in the case of the former what is most intriguing is the enactment of the female roles by the male artistes or nupishabis whom I call male actresses, in the case of the latter. They are feminine par excellence in their looks, bodily gestures and facial expressions guised in the masculine souls. Who is not crazy about the hypnotic beauty and demeanor of Sanaton and Arun ? These male actresses are profusely popular and they are the main attraction of any Shumang lila play.

Historically the actual seed of Shumang lila was sown in Phagee lila (farce), performed during the reign of Maharaja Chandrakirti (1850-1886), though the traces of it were already present in the episode of Tangkhul-Nurabi Loutaba of Laiharaoba festival. Then it was succeeded by such plays as Ramlila, Sabha parba, Kabul lila etc. But the real Shumang lila with various rasas (sentiments) was ushered in with the epic play Harishchandra (1918). Then it was followed by others such as Sabitri Satyavan, Meiraba charan,Thok lila etc. One of the most successful plays of this era was Moirang parba (an epic play based on the legendary lovers- Khamba and Thoibi of Moirang ). The big leap came in 1950 when scripts were introduced with the plays like Puranmeithaba and B.A. Mapa Lamboiba. It was a boost for literature loving people of Manipur and also it brought in professionalism in Manipuri theatre. Second major change came in 1970s with the introduction of Eshei lila with its background music and playback singing. Some of them were Krishna bal lila(1975), Thadoi(1976) and Chakthekpi (1977). It was degeneration for some and a refreshing change for many. Today we have only Eshei lila genre with its ever expanding wings. The competitive zeal of the troupes is kept burning by the annual Shumang lila festival which started in 1972.

On the other hand, the world of Phampak lila ( stage drama ) performed in the proscenium theatre is similar, in form, to the Western theatrical model and Indian Natyasastra model though its contents are indigenous. The so called modern theatre descended on Manipuri theatre culture with the performance of Pravas Milan (1902) under the enthusiastic patronage of Sir Churchand Maharaj (1891-1941). It was not a completely alien import as Manipuris were already acquainted with theatre, though it was a new genre. They dissolved themselves into it like sugar in the milk. In fact theatre is such a solvent which never reaches its saturation point no matter how large quantities of ingredients are dissolved into it.

Manipur had its first permanent theatre house in the early years of first decade of 20th century in the form of Manipur Friends Dramatic Union. During this era plays were mainly Manipuri adaptation of Bangali plays. But 1925 saw the beginning of truly Manipuri plays with "Narasingh". The pace of theatrical movement was geared up with the institution of various groups such as Manipur Dramatic Union (MDU) (1930), Arian Theatre (1935), Chitrangada Natya Mandir (1936), Society Theatre (1937), Rupmahal (1942), Cosmopolitan Dramatic Union (1968), The Chorus Repertory Theatre of Ratan Thiyam (1976) etc. These groups started experimenting with various types of plays apart from historical and pauranic ones. As a result theatre started disseminating to other parts of Manipur such as Nambol to encourage people to take active part in developing this art form.

<< Prev | Next >>

* 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
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Chakkouba Fish Mela #1 :: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba Tribute : Flash
  • 'Merger Agreement' and Manipur Question
  • Should fake news be merely brushed away
  • Frozen street laws & nasty people..
  • Resolution of CEC, NPF : Oct 20
  • Concern over meeting btn China, NE ultra
  • Materialistic interpretation of Chakkouba
  • Of power and the powerful
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Chakkouba Shopping #1 :: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba : A message
  • 2 novel TB drugs move into human studies
  • Japan & its myriad culture from my eye
  • Cry of a Dying River- 5 :: Poem
  • Thanksgiving for first Naga woman pilot
  • Manipuri film nominated for APSA, Brisbane
  • NPF whip - the plain truth
  • Subterfuge & money cannot buy the law
  • Pearls of wisdom from Dalai Lama
  • Resisting Partisanship
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • Liberation War And Merger : Part 1
  • Diwaligi Ahingdo :: Wari
  • Exploding cyber crime in India
  • Manipur National Day- 18 October 1948
  • Greetings on Diwali & Ningol Chakkouba
  • TSA DJ Theme Song , DJ icon audition
  • Meghalaya Venue & Daywise Lineup
  • Tasked to monitor talk: Koijam-Himalay
  • Looking beyond the tough words
  • Rejoinder to deserted NPF Group Longleng
  • CM honors U-17 WC Footballers :: Gallery
  • Yinmajo, Thotchui, Daithaorei: eMing
  • I don't want to die before I am dead : Poem
  • Is the 'Fear for Qur'an' Being Traded ?
  • MUTA Series 4 : Who supports Whom?
  • What ails Manipur ?
  • Old Age pension Scheme details uploaded
  • Increased privilege for responsibility
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #1 :: Gallery
  • Seven Years Devastation: Book Review
  • Prelude to what we need to know 2!!
  • Matos bhai & our FIFA boys "bravo"
  • Trafficking vis-a-vis Domestic Work
  • An open letter to Chief Minister
  • DG Assam Rifles calls on Chief Minister
  • Nagaland press firm against intimidation
  • No Aadhaar, No Mid-day Meal stand
  • The good, the bad and the ugly
  • Footballer: U-17 World Cup :: Gallery
  • Kwak Tanba #3 :: Gallery
  • Night Plaza: Outlook of a developing Manipur
  • Biased national media
  • Agri-volatic: boosting agricultural income
  • Natural skin glow for Diwali
  • Eleven LPG refills in 4 months !
  • 'No change in territorial boundary of States'
  • MaiOn (scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Tune out within dark
  • Loktak: Storm brain before blasting barrage
  • Gojilove : Now In Manipur
  • Fighting a losing battle
  • A Poem for My Wife :: Poem
  • October 15 retrospection
  • E Sonamani: Jnangarima Manad Alankaran
  • 11th Mega Marathon Manipur #5 :: Gallery
  • Langbal Keithel @ Kangjeibung #4 :: Gallery
  • Geo-politics & Skill Devlp in Act East Policy
  • Wildlife Week: Working together for wildlife
  • Letter to ATSUM (Reply to rebuttal)
  • A rebuttal to "Imprudence of ATSUM"
  • Don't sleep with minor wife ruling: Rapist
  • Awaited expectation
  • Journey of Amur falcon #2
  • Irabot Day - March Past #2 :: Gallery
  • Buddha's Metta & Karuna #2
  • Hei-kak: An aquatic cash crop in Manipur
  • Flood prevention and mitigation
  • Unearthing gems: Northeast Diva 2016-17
  • Nagaland Whip issue hearing in the court
  • Film screenings on NE held in Estonia
  • Of Leikhom Leinang & Uphul Waiphul: NH-2
  • March: Mera Houchongba #2:: Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Annual Cultural #2:: Gallery
  • Langol Tourist Watch Tower #7 :: 360 ° View
  • .. end AIDS by 2030: Are we on track ?
  • Career in Tourism - Part 2
  • Which one should precede- ILPS or ST ?
  • Comedian Audition during Night Plaza
  • Seizure of Dried Fish Grenet (Tirkiya)
  • LPG diversion: Non-local in subscribers list
  • For a little bit more
  • Pot Lannaba: Houchongba #1 :: Gallery
  • Crowd @ World Tourism Day :: Gallery
  • Moreh PWD complex controlled by militants
  • FIFA U-17 : A milestone for NE football
  • Post submergence impacts of Mapithel dam
  • Cry of a Dying River - 4 :: Poem
  • Program on World Mental Health Day
  • Out but not down :: Needed : A strong Cong
  • Redefining 'Manipuri'
  • Imphal Evenings- Night plaza #2 :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • Keithel Lairembi Ima #3 :: Gallery
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Ruskin Bonding - VI
  • Life - A Bubble :: Poem
  • Mapung fana chathari
  • Surgical Closure of 'Hole in the Heart'
  • Inferred or in B/W? Integrity Vs integration
  • Imphal is changing but traffic a menace
  • Kwak Tanba #2 :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • Langbal Keithel @ Kangjeibung #3 :: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Week @ Dimapur:: Gallery
  • Journey towards Breaking the Shackles
  • The Man Who Saw Tomorrow :: Poem
  • Free Medical Camp at Lilong
  • From Nobap to World Cup: Magnificent 8
  • Journey of Amur falcon #1
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Birth Anniv #2:: Gallery
  • 11th Mega Marathon Manipur #4 :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17: US won but we were lauded more
  • Imprudence of ATSUM
  • Tonsuring the nature
  • March: Mera Houchongba #1:: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • AMAND Pune: Annual Cultural #1:: Gallery
  • Research Line : Book release Function
  • 100 Yrs Of Tangkhul Naga Football
  • Make RIMS shining
  • Another NE Youth Missing in the Capital
  • AMAND, Pune : 6th AGM / Annual Cultural
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Nungshibi : Social Networking :: Website
  • Seeking 2 years time: Too early to judge
  • Let Holy books be replaced by Constitution
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Loktak Folklore Museum- for fishing
  • Opening: Imphal Evenings :: Gallery
  • Mayanglambam Gourachandra: Awardee
  • Win the hearts if not the FIFA Cup
  • Cry of a Dying River #3 :: Poem
  • For the 8 football players of Manipur..
  • Article 342 makhada furup amana ST ki list
  • Manipur to set up land bank
  • Hosts India set to make FIFA WC debut
  • ATSUM against ST: Let the experts decide
  • A matter of concern for the future
  • Irabot Day - March Past #1 :: Gallery
  • Bor khoiramba @ Hiyangthang #2 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Have done it again
  • Hingchabi Changba: Possessed/ Exorcism
  • Tourism as career option
  • Hydro Electric Power: A must for Manipur #4
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Imphal Evenings- Night plaza #1 :: Gallery
  • Keithel Lairembi Ima #2 :: Gallery
  • Doren: 'Theatre of the Earth' wins in Kerala
  • Solo Album Launch of Awarthanga Chiru
  • How Manipur missed internal autonomy..
  • Whispering of Heart :: Peom
  • Kwak Tanba #1 :: Gallery
  • Nitya Raas, Ras Leela Fest #1 :: Gallery
  • 11th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Assembly Elections 2017 #2
  • Manipur State League: Table - 1st Oct
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Birth Anniv #1:: Gallery
  • Vanishing pottery craft & Livelihood: Chairen
  • Irabot Day Celebration at New Delhi
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • World Tourism Day- Inauguration :: Gallery
  • Research Line : Book Preview
  • Irabot Day Celebration (2017)
  • 'Maniwood' vs 'Haolywood' Football :: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #5 :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #1 :eRang
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #6 : Ooba
  • Traditional Ritual @Khurkhul #4 :: Gallery
  • Priyogopal : Senior Film Artist :: eRang
  • Hathei Phanit @Sirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Heitha Leithaba @Kekrupat #2:: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Kang Tournament #2 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS