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
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Folk Tales of Manipur, Vol 1 : Book Review
  • Prize Distribution : Polo : Gallery
  • Day 4: Kangpokpi Cultural : Gallery
  • Sweet sixteen :: Poem
  • Nagaland CM respond to Neiphiu Rio
  • Jobs at NIELIT Kolkata
  • Jobs at Cobigent Technologies
  • Some positive introspective on FA
  • Deep divide FA: Scheduled human chain
  • Naga talks: Ravi to consult 5 Manipuris
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament : Gallery
  • Nupi Lan : Women's War Of Manipur
  • cYK_rb TwaI :: Seireng
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @ Mao #1 : Gallery
  • Day 4: Folk Song @Kangjeibung #2 : Gallery
  • Naga peace & deals within rebel structure
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Volunteers create worlds
  • Bishnupriya Manipuris call 101hr blockade
  • 3rd Flower Festival @ Mao #1 : Gallery
  • Day 7: Stalls @Khonangkhong #2 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Maibi Jagoi @Kangjeibung #2: Gallery
  • Day 5: Thang Ta @ BOAT #1 : Gallery
  • New Residential Design in Foothills
  • Accreditation of diagnostic laboratories
  • 'Swachh Hi Sewa' in Rono Hills by RGU
  • Jingle Bells Season 2 kicks off
  • Appointment for Faculty / Trainers
  • Humiliation to mother earth
  • Question to BJP: Mum on critical posers
  • WC seeks views for political solution
  • China taking keen interest on NE militancy
  • Tekcham Ranjita- FIFA Referee : Profile
  • Bunghan, Ningshen, Seiminsang: eMing
  • Day 7 : Pherzawl Artistes : Gallery
  • Day 4: Kathak & Manipuri Dance: Gallery
  • Welcome Yongchak in Manipur household
  • US recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital
  • CADA Imphal Committee re-organized
  • Hopes for a new future
  • Make Orange Fest more meaningful
  • Day 3 : Night Scene @ Loktak #2 : Gallery
  • Three-headed men- Makok ahum :: Funga
  • Junior Boy's Inter District Football : Gallery
  • Day 6 : Thailand Dance #2 : Gallery
  • Day 6 : Artistes from Kamjong : Gallery
  • The Green Lotus :: Poem
  • FIFA honour for Manipur referee
  • Nothing on inter-state borders in FA
  • Urgent call to look in the function of COHSEM
  • Of collaboration ... Manipur and Nagaland
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Orange Festival @Tamenglong #1 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Mandalay Vs Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • AFC Transformation Challenge : Gallery
  • The Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • When rejection is more lethal than HIV
  • Walk-In: Guest Lecturers @Govt Polytechnic
  • Penguin Fever- literary festival in Shillong
  • NE Flavours opens in Delhi promote NE
  • Calls for Recreation
  • Setting a deadline before the Govt
  • Finals @ Polo International : Gallery
  • Day 5 : Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Day 8: Trekking @Leimaton #2 : Gallery
  • Day 4 : Folk Song @ BOAT #1 : Gallery
  • Career options in banking
  • Of tongue cleaner and angels
  • Screening: Aribam Syam's Biopic @Delhi
  • Hiring Charge for BOAT
  • Sexual relation main reason for HIV
  • Preconceived mode of protest
  • Manipur and people : Take collective stand
  • Day 4 : Eikhoigi Iranyai #1 : Gallery
  • Day 4 : Hmar Fahrel Tawklam : Gallery
  • Jadonang Football [11 Nov] : Gallery
  • Workshop on Nano Devices at IIT-G
  • Advent season 2017
  • Kovindji on Mirabai and Manipur
  • Jobs at Sanglakpam IT Solutions
  • Baking Assistant @Michelle's Bakery
  • Launch of North East Flavours, Delhi
  • Protests against eviction of tribals
  • K Radhakumar's Atopa Shangsar Amada
  • Reminding the issue of permit system
  • Time for State BJP to state stand
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #1 : Gallery
  • Day 10 : Fashion Show #1 : Gallery
  • Day 9 : Heritage Park : Gallery
  • Day 6 : Qawwali @ BOAT : Gallery
  • Challenges before media w.r.t Manipur
  • Development in Jiribam & Pherzawl #2
  • Recruitment mode of Asst Prof
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Day 3 : Night Scene @ Loktak #1 : Gallery
  • Community gardening @Ema Keithel: Gallery
  • Day 6: 'Reel of Dance' #1 : Gallery
  • Day 6: Pamyanlon Folk Dance : Gallery
  • Thus spake the moonstruck :: Poem
  • 1st Double Renal Angioplasty in Manipur
  • Rohingya crisis: Talk at Philippine University
  • Getting the big picture
  • Gold after 2 decade: Sports Powerhouse
  • Day 9: Robert Naorem's Fashion : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Day 9: Phoushu Jagoi : Gallery
  • Day 2: Dhol Dholok Cholom : Gallery
  • 11th Manipur Polo International #2 :: Gallery
  • Govt needs tool for Sangai Fest Impact study
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #1 : Gallery
  • Araang League 2017 (Football) @Ukhrul
  • Celebrating World AIDS Day
  • The good & some bad of Sangai Fest
  • International Kang Tournament : Gallery
  • Day 8: Trekking @Leimaton #1 : Gallery
  • Day 4: Kom Dance performance : Gallery
  • Sangai Run-Marathon @Sendra #3 :: Gallery
  • Is it Meetei or Meitei ?
  • The Buddha's Metta and Karuna #4
  • MUTA Colloquium Series : Vision for MU
  • Is our legal system responsible ?
  • Unique history of Nagas ... of Manipur
  • NSF memo to Prez 'for solution before polls'
  • Day 8: Hiyang Tanaba #1 : Gallery
  • Day 7: Stalls @Khonangkhong #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Leisem Jagoi : Gallery
  • 'One never stops learning in Polo'
  • Cherry Blossoms as a catalyst of change..
  • Mining tussles in Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Free media: hope for success of democracy
  • Far sight leader in Muivah: Looking beyond
  • Day 7: Night Scene (Hot Air Balloon) : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 7: Fashion Show #1 : Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 6: Thai Dance : Gallery
  • Supertree - Kannimara Mahavriksha
  • Beware of women centric cyber offences
  • Understanding education
  • No longer 'communal Govt'
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla: Gallery
  • Maibi Jagoi @Kangjeibung #1 : Gallery
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #2 :: Gallery
  • 22nd Winners' Cup (Football) #2 :: Gallery
  • Day 5: Mandalay Vs Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Khongjhom Parva / Maring Dance :: Gallery
  • Dhanamanjuri Kang Tournament :: Gallery
  • Day 2: Thang Ta performance : Gallery
  • Day 2: Basanta Ras/Dasa Avataar : Gallery
  • Felicitation of Manipuri students at B'desh
  • Dr. Ngaseppam Iboyaima : Awarded in food
  • Day 3 : Pureiromba Naheirol :: Gallery
  • 3rd NE Fashion Week @Itanagar :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2 : MMTA Adventure :: Gallery
  • Hazari/Tombi Polo [7 Nov] :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #5 :: Gallery
  • Inaugural Day Sangai Festival :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #5 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #2 :: Gallery
  • Culturals @Mera Houchongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @ Wangkhei :: Gallery
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS