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
  • Mukna Changdamnaba : Gallery
  • Tapping innovation to secure water future
  • Mouri's Story :: WJ
  • Denounce JNU's hindi imposition
  • Lecture: Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking
  • Heart Camp at Sanjenbam Khunou
  • 'Rio leadership of immoral political tactics'
  • Lessons from Nagaland : Ban on plastics
  • Report on signing of peace deal- IM & GOI
  • BAMCHAS Convention @ Sylhet : Gallery
  • Chingthang Leima, Arai :: eMing
  • BAMCHAS Sylhet, B'desh: Grand Convention
  • Abdul Hamid : Kamini Kumar Gold Medal
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Did Manipur Experience Cultural Genocide
  • Health for justice: Justice for health
  • Beauty benefits of baking soda
  • Course in Domestic Data Entry Operator
  • Protect non-locals in Dimapur call
  • Legitimizing the pocketing of public money
  • UN Human Rights: Manipur Experience #1
  • Maring War Dance : Gallery
  • Bird sanctuary & its importance
  • Of wonders & spirituality at Ambubach
  • Misundertanding within Zeliangrongs
  • JD (U) merged with NDPP in Nagaland
  • Of history & geography: Tourism ..
  • For environment- together we can make it
  • Jhum cultivation & green Manipur
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #5
  • Yoga Day at Pune : Gallery
  • The demand for ST, need for a unified path
  • Mass Media & Library Services : Book
  • Towards a modern budget of Manipur
  • On the unseen river :: Poem
  • Environment - Let your actions speak
  • 5th International Yoga Day at Pune
  • World Music Day @Yaiskul #1: Gallery
  • Let us make schools better
  • Zeliangrong settlement at Heibokching #2
  • King - makers & king - savers
  • A Shadowy Figure :: Poem
  • Naga MPs feted in Delhi
  • Job Opening @Globizs Web Solution
  • Sanamahi Cheng Hongba #1: Gallery
  • Ambassador of Japan with CM : Gallery
  • Moirangthem Kumar Singh: Sangeetbhusan
  • Cry of a Dying River - 81 :: Poem
  • Research Scholars Day at Manipur Univ
  • Yoga: ultimate connection for healthy life
  • International Yoga Day Celebrated
  • Long walk to final pact
  • Seriously, mercury is rising
  • The Great June Uprising #3: Gallery
  • Sangai : The brow-antlered deer of Manipur
  • Mutum Somorjit cracked IIT
  • In the name of Love :: Poem
  • Population control: Learn from China
  • Skin pigmentation & its home remedies
  • Lutembacher Syndrome treated 1st time
  • Numerous issues facing Manipur
  • Finally Manipur got Lokayukta
  • Meiteis & Meiteilon are not Tibeto-Burman
  • Uttamkumar Ningthoujam: Achievers Award
  • 'Tales of Human Mischief' :: Book
  • Pettigrew contribution to Tribal practice #2
  • New treatment for children with TB
  • Children shouldnt work in fields..
  • Let Centre decide on leadership quip
  • Pouring anger to media wont solve crisis
  • The Great June Uprising #2: Gallery
  • The Great June Uprising #1: Gallery
  • Cry of a downtrodden State 2 :: Poem
  • Fostering Environmental Innovation
  • 'Confer Bharat Ratna on Dalai Lama'
  • Tobacco In Manipur and COTPA
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • From bandh to mass prayers
  • Remembering the great Uprising
  • The Great June 18 Uprising :: Sub-Site
  • Zeliangrong settlement at Heibokching #1
  • Mind Mapping
  • Virtual Assistant as career option
  • Environmental bio pollution in Manipur
  • Parenting - A challenge in modern time
  • From June 18, 2001 to June 18, 2019
  • Revolt by dissidents is a lesson for CM
  • The Great June 18 Uprising :: Flash
  • Bishnupriya Manipuri: Identity : Book
  • The Rain-Clad Skies of Imphal : Poem
  • Healthy ageing & screening tests
  • Adaptability to quality will boost Education
  • Greencane Industries
  • Staring at political & financial crisis
  • Indo-Myanmar ops on rebel camps
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #4
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • The Story of Two Incidents in One State
  • Cry of a Dying River - 80 : Poem
  • Combating climate change
  • Idea of selling seized liquor
  • Mutum Somorjit : Passed IIT Main/Advance
  • Chak-tangba, Overdraft & Game of Throne
  • Poumai Paoki Wrestling #1: Gallery
  • AEKo_Igi wari :: Seireng
  • Pettigrew contribution to Tribal practice #1
  • Man in White (MIW)
  • India Influence Report 2019
  • Skin care essentials for dry skin
  • Rejoinder to NDPP :: NPF [14 Jun]
  • Far removed from Cong Mukt slogan
  • Taming the traffic
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View
  • Heritage Park #1 : Gallery
  • Daniel Chabungbam in 7 best NE Journalist
  • Bamboo as a green gold bioresource
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Her Fantasy :: Poem
  • NDPP communique on NPF President
  • Pedagogy for 21st Century Teaching
  • Media Sensitization Workshop on Hepatitis
  • Taking back to 1999: Of overdraft & politics
  • The battle for the Throne
  • Lai Lamthokpa, Thangjing #3: Gallery
  • Invisible workforce: The domestic worker
  • Manipur - An Ethnic Dilemma #2
  • Contemporary issues in Mizoram : Book
  • Modern village administration #2
  • Mitigating hunger is only choice of a poor
  • Digitisation & Cyber Security Training
  • Disturbing dissent within the BJP
  • Id-ul-Fitr @ Hatta #2 : Gallery
  • An evening with Manipuri dance
  • Finally some semblance of awareness
  • Nationalism in Manipuri literature #3
  • Sail Away With Me :: Poem
  • World Music Day at Yaiskul, Imphal
  • Selected candidates to the Global Shapers
  • India-Myanmar conf: Better late than never
  • Thangjing Lai Haraoba : Beyond optics
  • Irungbam Padmabati : Khunung Eshei
  • A tribute to Arambam Somorendra
  • In quest of green vibes :: Poem
  • Workshop: Livelihood & Social Protection
  • Catering service as career option
  • Not yet an open revolt but not all well
  • Something more needed
  • Explain 'misleading' news, tells local daily
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #3
  • World Ocean Day 2019
  • Post election scenario : Manipur
  • ICC World Cup under the English Summer
  • Cry of a downtrodden State :: Poem
  • Yaithibi Loukol- violation of Land Act
  • Looking at politics of peace talk
  • Laija - Film Scenes #2 : eRang
  • Government Of India Stratagem
  • Love at Sunset :: Poem
  • Tips to make blood testing easy
  • IGNTU Seminar: Indo-Myanmar Relation
  • Budding Malwares in Manipur University
  • Aimol Baptist: Felicitation Program
  • Political uncertainty in Biren govt
  • Tangkhuls in traditions of Manipur #2
  • Imphal Jamboree- Improving state of youth
  • Zonel Sougaijam : Facebook Hall of Fame
  • Stop Station construction @Sagoltongba
  • Diploma at Don Bosco School, Kalimpong
  • Condemn firing incident at NDPP Sec Gen
  • The art of shuffling, reshuffling
  • Of our identity
  • Id-ul-Fitr @ Hatta #1 : Gallery
  • Tree plantation by Journalists : Gallery
  • Manipur textiles & handicrafts export
  • Phou-su Phou-su khol :: Poem
  • Nationalism in Manipuri literature #2
  • Training on Cyber Security
  • World Environment Day : Go Green Call
  • Environment Day and Manipur
  • Bamboo Cooking Competition : Gallery
  • Exploring Indigenous Knowledge : Book
  • Traditional environmental ethics
  • Air pollution : Focal theme of WED
  • Career options in Optometry
  • World Environment Day at Kumbi
  • I Want to Make Dingko Biopic : Shahid
  • Kwatha: Aayush to play an army officer
  • NSCN (K) must take NCA path: Tatmadaw
  • Cabinet to be reshuffled this month: CM
  • Dzukou valley declared 'plastic-free zone'
  • Modi will resolve Naga issue.. N'land BJP
  • Manipur - An Ethnic Dilemma #1
  • he UpaL :: Seireng
  • World Environment Day, 2019
  • Time to 'beat air pollution'
  • Free Heart Scan at SKY Hospital
  • Nagaland CM on World Environment Day
  • 50 percent absence at Cabinet meet
  • Introspecting self for good of society
  • Lai Lamthokpa, Thangjing #2: Gallery
  • BEHS interacted with Guv: Gallery
  • India's Forest policy 2018 & concerns
  • Khoidajei- best Music Video Award @ SIFF
  • A constellation of Five :: Poem
  • A moral obligation for CSOs in election
  • BEHS, Motbung, students tour Raj Bhavan
  • Ghost of 2001 not yet exorcised
  • Concern for a clean environment
  • Paoki Paddy Festival @Purul #2: Gallery
  • puNsi IceL :: Seireng
  • Meiraba : U-19 singles at All India Ranking
  • Modern village administration #1
  • Schoolchildren in the Park :: Poem
  • Tree Plantation at RIMS, Lamphelpat
  • First suspect always the husband
  • Gudui Ngai @ Kakhulong #2 : Gallery
  • Nationalism in Manipuri literature #1
  • Rain compelling ritual of Meiteis
  • Nehru to Modi: Profiles of PM : Book
  • Heart that reserved for destitute kids
  • Summer beauty tips & tricks for busy mom
  • The unintended fear psychosis
  • Urmila Shagolsem : Miss India : Gallery
  • Draft Indian Forest Act & impact on Manipur
  • June Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • Keibul Lamjao National Park : Gallery
  • Lai Lamthokpa, Thangjing #1: Gallery
  • Cheirao-chingkaba #3 : Gallery
  • Paoki Paddy Festival @Purul #1: Gallery
  • Laichombam Sapana @ JNMDA : Gallery
  • Zhaoshomai, indigenous religion of Liiyai
  • Fashion by Kumarjit Laishram #2 : Gallery
  • 2019 HSLC Exam Toppers :: Gallery
  • HSLC Toppers share thoughts, aspirations
  • ELVEEGO : Top 10 Promising Companies
  • Hr Sec Exam 2019 Toppers #2: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #2: Gallery
  • Purnima Moirangthem : 5th in Commerce
  • Jiribam Bazaar :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • SPONSORED ADS