Time for “Nokphade” to go global

Samarjit Kambam
Since the induction of Youtube in the world of media, new stars are coming up. The new stars are not restricted to acting only. They come as stars in various fields be it sports, adventures, comedy, songs, instrumentals, skits and various other activities showcasing their talents. If a video on any feature or activity uploaded by you on YouTube reaches a million viewers’ mark within a few days, then you are a world renowned star. The higher the number of viewers, the greater a star you become. As for acting, you don’t require to be in the world of Hollywood and be familiar with all the hotshot producers, directors, sponsors and big studios. If you are talented in acting and if a short clip of your video can create a sensation and reaches a few million viewer’s mark within two or three days, then you are tantamount to a world famous Hollywood actor. You don’t have to run for sponsors. Sponsors will run after you. The world has changed, really changed and technology has made short cuts to fame.
YouTube viewers watch clips according to their choice and likings and there are many YouTubers who have great fan followings. Me, being a fervent lover of music with guitar as my favourite musical instrument, use to watch videos of guitar players mostly. Of course, there are/were many great guitar players on planet earth. Mention of a few may be made of Jimmy Page, Slash, Joe Satriani, Jimmi Hendrix, Malcolm Yngie Malsteem, John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Santana, Kirk Hammet, Paul Gilbert, David Gilmour etc etc. They have already made their mark in the world of guitar. However, a there is a host of YouTuber guitarists who are quite talented. They really know what they are doing and most of them are very knowledgeable guitar players. Some of them are sensational ones. I usually watch clips of Steve Stine, Jared Dines, Sarah Longfield, Ryan Bruce, Mark Dawes, Phillip McKnight, Marty Schwartz, Paul Davids, Rob Chapman, Toy Grady, Tom Quavle, Pete Thorn, Rob Scallon and many more out of which my favourite is Steve Terryberry, Recently, a Canada based studio by the name of OIART has sponsored a project called “Dread Machine” wherein the famous YouTuber guitarists regardless of gender were given an opportunity to collectively produce a power metal song comprised of mind blowing guitar riffs. It is a huge metal collaboration song of seven Youtuber guitarists. It’s a pleasure to watch them working together behind the scene as well as in front of the scene. Their talents are praiseworthy. They are a source of inspiration for many who love strumming the guitar.
There are lots of comedy websites available in YouTube. Some popular ones are apicfail.com, engrish.com, cheezburzer.com, 9gag.com, ark.com, funnyordie.com, break.com, oatmeal.com and a host of others. It’s hard to digest the fact that sensational YouTube videos would come out from a third world African country such as Nigeria. But it does, and seeing is believing. Mark Angel Comedy of markangelcomedy.com is known throughout the world which has more than 1.8 million subscribers and has made a coverage of more than 3.8 million viewers. Mark Angel Comedy is a platform that comprises of short comedy skits and funny videos featuring Mark Angel himself and the little Emmanuella, a six-plus year old girl which happens to be the niece of Mark Angel. Some of his colleagues also use to take part in their episodes. They have created more than 200 episodes of short comedy skits uploaded every Friday. Even though each skit comprises of only 3 to 4 minutes, most of the skits are quite hilarious. Even small kids in Manipur know Emmanuella and watch Mark Angel’s Comedy. Now, Mark Angel and Emmanuella have become YouTube sensations. I didn’t know about Mark Angel Comedy until my daughter told me to watch it mentioning the name Emmanuella. Both of them are unique in their own comic ways and their skits comprise of many themes ranging from satirical to human nature to government non-empathy and many other thought provoking ones.
Last time I watched their “Youth Empowerment”. Over and above bringing out the laugh machine inside me, that episode also gives a strong message to their government’s pathetic governance. I really enjoyed watching it. Mark Angel is simply great and is the first Nigerian whose YouTube subscribers cross the one million mark. He was awarded with the Gold Plated YouTube Plaque by Google and other awards such as Leadership Award. Emmanuella is really something, a prodigy of sort. She has won two awards i.e. Princess of Comedy and Most Prominent Kid Comedienne conferred upon by AAMA (Australia Music & Movie Awards). Now she is going places and has received an offer for acting in a Hollywood movie of Walt Disney’s production. Course, there are many YouTube comedians viz, Felix Arvid, Ray Willian Johnson, Smosh, Ryan Higa, Bo Burnham etc etc… What sets apart Mark Angel Comedy from others is the presence of Emmanuella. Mark Angel is indeed lucky to have her as his niece.
What the writer wants to bring home the point is that there are many Mark Angels and Emmanuellas in Manipur also. First of all, I give my heartfelt appreciation to Mr Thoudam Ruhini Kumar for producing his series of “Nokphade” by digging out comic talents in our state of Manipur. Mention of a few may be made of Joseph, Rangilal, Kuber, Gobindash, Shyamkumar, Thoiba, Herojit, Naobi etc. Before Nokphade, there was Epom, a hilarious short play performed and created by highly talented legends such as Chaoba, Tombi, Babu, Ibotombi and others with the barest minimum resources where hearing only the exchange of their dialogues is a laugh riot. They were highly creative with the funny dialogues created only by themselves. Presently also, audio recordings of Epom are being listened by many irrespective of young or old. This shows that Manipur is not dearth of comic talents. The series of Nokphade is a montage of funny jokes and comedies which stole the limelight as Epom died a slow death with its stakeholders passing away one after the other due to old age. The artists of Nokphade are also unique in their own ways.
Even though series of Nokphade can be watched from YouTube with Manipurizone.com as the usher, the number of viewers is too few. However, the series of Nokphade can be brought out at the international level. Mark Angel and Emmanuella are bringing out their episodes with broken English and thick Nigerian accent. But English subtitles helped them to reach this stage. Nokphade is no less than Mark Angel’s Comedy. In fact, Nokphade jumped into the media bandwagon decades back, maybe even before Mark Angel was born. The artists of Nokphade can be made to speak in English. Good or bad English doesn’t matter. The English spoken in Manipuri accent will give the episodes more uniqueness and add more flavour to the viewers. Besides, subtitles in English can be inserted. Out of all the series of Nokphade which has reached Volume 14, hundreds of episodes in the form of short comic skits can be refined, re-edited and uploaded in YouTube with populace of the whole world as its target audience. There are many episodes with universal themes in Nokphade which is not confined to the state of Manipur only. Episodes on universal themes will catch the attention of viewers around the globe.
My appeal goes to Thoudam Ruhini Kumar to chalk out a strategy so that people regardless of which country they are from enjoy small episodes of Nokphade by uploading in YouTube. Once episodes of Nophade become world renown, money will follow automatically and fortune will favour all the stakeholders of Nokphade. Mark Angel Comedy joined YouTube in 2013 only. Nokphade is decades ahead. I have a firm belief and I am very positive and sanguine that Nokphade has the potential to possess a foothold in the world of comedy. Yes, it’s time for Nokphade to go global and let the world know that there is a place called Manipur where it’s people possess a good sense of humour.
(The writer can be reached at [email protected])

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