TODAY -

E-Pao! Incident - Love lost for a lifetime

Love lost for a lifetime
Hobson Sapam *


I was wild, carefree and almost reckless .I did not hurt anyone physically or emotionally when I was in school except … . I broke some teachers'hearts, that too, not for missing their homework or failing to reach the pass the bar. Honestly, I was not the brightest in the class but I can proudly say that I was above the mediocre.

I broke their hearts only by singing the Hindi movies' songs with my enthusiastic band mates in the class. We sang only Hindi songs as we cannot yell those Guns N Roses or Mr. Big in the class when Miss Julie was giving a serious lecture on that boring Mughal dynasty. Miss Julie, the ethereal beauty, I thought of her at that time can definitely be called my first crush. Except her looks, the whole period was hopeless and as flat as the ground.

As far as my schooldays and singing classes are concerned, I always ended up with my band being sent out of the class or at times getting a whip or two or in the worst case sent to the principal by the concerned teachers. My 'Report to Parents' column was almost filled with only complaint of such acts by the academic end. Friends persuaded me to sing during the school functions and the festivals, which I denied almost all the time except on one or two occasions. Even though at the end of my songs or programmes, I got huge applauses and clapping, yet I rated myself as a true blue bathroom singer or a backbench singer during serious lectures.

Seems like a lifetime ago, when I returned home from Shankar talkies (popularly called Shankar Hall) at Lamphel supermarket with some friends humming 'aate jate haste gate…' from the movie 'maine pyar kiya' which stars the new kid on the block of those days Salman Khan and the fresher Bhagyashree. I was in the gang of six or seven boys each one of us riding a BMX cycle, which was in vogue and thought we were the best looking and the best happening boys band of the time.

A great interest was also taken for the Hollywood action movies like Terminator, Predator, Rambo series, James Bond, Cowboys and many others, but movies which still linger and occupied a special place in my heart are those Hindi films which i watched with my gang without informing home. Some films worthy to remember of those days include 'Dil, Heena, Ashiqui, Jan ki Kasam, Dil ka kya kasoor and many others'.

Sunday is a holiday, it is a day for fun, a day to freak out, a day to get up late in the morning and yet no one scolds you, but for me Sundays… it used to be days of 'reign of terror'. Only because my father always caught me coming home after watching those movies which I always ended up with a good thrashing. Yet, I never lost heart. What though the battle with my father is lost, all is not lost, the unconquerable will, the never say die attitude, I still made up my mind for movies. Then comes next Sunday, next movie, next thrashing from my father.

Days gone by & months passed and years overlapped another. Thanks to my father who taught me almost everything including how books and academics are important in ones life. To my own surprise, there are many things I have done for the first time on the conduct of life. For the first time, I stopped singing in the class, for the first time Dad praised me which are quite usual to my ever obedient brother and ever helpful sister, and for the first time I threw away my all time favorite Madonna poster of 'Paper Moon', my sexy Marilyn Monroe, and for the first time I fell for a girl whom I thought was the most beautiful creature in this world.

1942-A Love Story. This is a movie I cannot forget for my lifetime not for the storyline nor the star cast, but for those memories connected and intertwined so deeply. That day was 'Kanglen' I went with some friends at Asha Hall, North AOC (Now an academic institute occupies the place) to watch it. Life seems to be starting very new and very beautiful. I was in a dream like state I don't know when the movie ended. But I should say it was a good remembrance. Some days later she gave me an audio cassette which I played everyday until I lost it……Some very lovely and unforgettable memories and moments of my life are embedded with this movie.

This is not the end of the road. Owing to my academic commitments, I left my friends, my family, my home, my valley and my cinema halls that I loved very dearly. It has been a few years I have not visited my valley and many thing have changed when I visited there during a break. Nothing was same. Old friends were not the same bla bla type. They looked sober and serious. Heard Bobo quit studies, Nouba got married, Mocha have kids. But one thing that really moved me anf felt nostalgic is about my cinema halls. Talkies like Shankar, Mini-Shankar, Asha, Jina from where I started my love affair with movies were all gone and lost in nowhere. The surroundings, which were once upon a time the most happening places, looked pathetic. Some of them have even closed down and started other businesses to carry on with life. All these businesses are rather odd and awkward when compared to their old vocation of screening movies.

The following few issues, which I am going to discuss, are not meant to hurt the sentiments of anyone or any group. What I am going to speak are my own ideas, which come straight from the heart. It is not a discussion on philosophy or romance, nor am I going to act as a critic. Wisdom and nonsense are never included nor anyone should make a conclusion by simply saying 'common sense made difficult'.

True to my knowledge and being honest to my heart, I have heard that not only the Hindi movies are banned but also everything related to Hindi including the sale of Hindi cassettes and even teaching HINDI in schools. May be there are some very important motives behind this, may be it is good for the state. May be something beautiful, interesting might emerge with this ban. May be we are going to have harmony, may be….I don't know.

Tooth and nail opposition is not made here. I don't know much about the outlook with this ban. It would be a child's dream for a fool like me to know about the political aims and scenarios. But what I do know is that everything done or anything happening should be in the interest of the general mass. May be we are near to it or we are far from it.

'Matamgi Manipur' has indeed changed a lot. But for a boy like me who started a serious love affair with the Hindi cinemas in the talkies way back many years find hard to cope with the heartache watching the present development with Hindi 'religion'. It is like pouring salt in the wounds.

My Manipur, my state, my valley is indeed a land of jewels. We never felt the dearth of talent. Many great artists are born from the state. Innumerable films, songs dramas, books that are our own indigenous creations are not needed to remind everyone. Yet almost all of them are confined here only and the world goes unnoticed. Infact we are having the same fate of 'chingda satpa engalei chinnadana kenkhiba' or 'full many a flower is born to blush unseen'.

This is the condition, this is our life and fate, we cannot run away from it, but we can fight putting up a very brave face for our recognition, for our crisis, and infact for our identity. We have to accept it but with an attitude of no defeat no retreat and no surrender, but the very first step we must do is to compete with the world fearlessly free and with pride and never with prejudice.

Manipuri celluloid movies like 'Olangthage wangmadasu', 'Emagi ningthem' 'Ishanou' 'Lamja parsuram' 'Safabi' 'Khonngel' are all classic. Even though these films are not of my generation I love them. I haven't watch any of these in theatres but at home on my television set. They are indeed mind blowing. Songs like 'lapna lotna leiyu' 'nungbu asum ningsingduna leire', 'Emagee Mamou', 'Mapok Langon khudingda', 'khangna khangna khanghoudeko houkhare matamdo' any many others are in the list of my all time favorites. With the least infrastructure of my poor state, the films, the artists are fantastic. Hats off to them for their efforts which still echoes.

On the other hand, digital films made in great numbers these days are flooding the market and currently in vogue with the innocent Manipuri audience. Some are attractive, others are fantastic but many are hopeless. Everyone wants to be a movie star, a celebrity, but everyone cannot get what he or she wishes. It is good to accept here that real challenge in life is not getting what we want but wanting what we get. Some of the new kids on the block of these digital movies are worthy to act but many are ridiculous without any prior knowledge of what an actor should possess to be in the moviedom. Nevertheless, their spirit zeal and enthusiasm can be admired even though they get many a thumb down.

Freely and frankly speaking, thanks to the ban of the Hindi films for they helped the self appreciated digital movies to create ripples. Sometimes I wonder where these digital movies would be heading had they appear amongst the Hindi films years back. Suppose I am a maker of such films I would even pray for the ban of Hindi films for my film cannot excel from the Hindi films. And this part of my personality I hated the most and ready to curse, curse to all those who have such feelings and thoughts including ME if I had any, AMEN !!!

New kids of these digital movies cannot do a 'la' Shah Rukh Khan and we all know who is going to have a more viewers if they are screened simultaneously at theatres in Manipur. One reason for the popularity of these digital movies might be of its low budget production when compared with the celluloid. But the number of digital production is surplus with very less quality and many have sunk till date without creating any ripples on the surface of Manipuri cinema. Is it the quality or quantity we need? is not important to ask again like a new born kid.

An appeal for lifting the ban on Hindi is not being made here but breaking the ice with the concern authorities is being prayed.

Thank you, Madam Krishna for teaching me Hindi. If you were not there in our school, today I would have been lost in Howrah Station where the 'coolies' never understand Manipuri nor English except Bangla or HINDI. Running pillar to post for this dream is not my capability to do alone. I request everyone to help me find my love. Atleast let us try a little and a little goes a long way.


Hobson Sapam is a Delhi based-freelance journalist.
You can email him at [email protected]


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