SN Chand : The father of Manipuri cinema
Contd from previous issue
The film also revolves around a conflict between modernism and traditional values and reveals that traditional values are worthy of one’s identity.
Brojendra (SN Chand) returns home with a medical degree from Calcutta Medical College.
When he reaches home, he learns that his marriage has already been scheduled. It was a bolt from the blue to a young man with a modern outlook like Brojendra. He thinks that marriage should not be treated so lightly, at least he shall see eye to eye before they are wedded. So, he argues with his mother (Ibemhal). His mother replies that she got married to his father as arranged by her parents. Brojendra’s maternal uncle (Oinam Birmangol) also tries to convince him to fulfil the decision of the elders.
Brojendra dislikes the idea. Being an obedient boy of his parents and of good nature, he obeys. But he decides not to even look at the face of his would-be wife (Romola). He does not spend the wedding night in the bride’s room. He gets a Government job with a posting at Churachandpur, a hill station and leaves home before Mangani Chakkouba (Marriage feast on the fifth day after marriage). Days pass by, the agony of the innocent girl increases day by day.
Later on, Brojendra realizes his fault after experiencing a few incidents. In the meantime, his boss calls him at Imphal for some important assignment. He reaches home but cannot enter his house. He takes a turn and visits a Bashok, a Manipuri Nata music concert in a nearby Mandap.
The singer is performing the Birha song of Radha – “Vrindaban-gi amuba thadu amuk thoklamkhini” (The black moon of Vrindaban would have appeared).
This Sringara Rasa has submitted to Brojendra’s heart. When he glances towards the audience, he catches sight of a very beautiful woman. She is so lovely that Brojendra is fully attracted to her.
His conscience pricks him as he rejects his innocent wife. He makes up his mind to go straight to his wife and apologize for his mistake.
But to his great surprise, he finds at his home the very beautiful woman whom he sees at the Mandap. He stands speechless. At this moment, his wife falls at his feet sobbing and beseeching his love. Brojendra takes her in his arm and embraces her with love.
Anil Gupta was the Cinematographer and Rasbehari Sinha was the Editor of the film. Songs were recorded at Technicians Studio, Calcutta. In the film, renowned Bengali playback singer Aarti Mukherjee who later shot to fame sang a Manipuri song- Nil Khonglaba Nonggi Mapei Mapei (Noisy Thunder of Black Clouds) in semi-classical style.
SN Chand’s multifaceted talents flowered in his production. The film bagged the Best Screenplay Award in the First Manipur State Film Festival, 1984 organised by the Government of Manipur. But the film missed the National Award of the 20th Edition of National Film Festival 1972 because the film scored the same marks as Debkumar Bose’s Matamgi Manipur (Present Day Manipur). The President’s Silver Medal for the Best Feature Film in Manipuri was given to Matamgi Manipur being the first-ever Manipuri Feature Film. This was revealed by eminent writer and critic Elangbam Nilakanta who was associated with the jury as an invitee. However, Elangbam Nilakanta praised the film- Brojendragi Luhongba for its reflection of the vivid identity of Manipur, capturing the beautiful ways of lives of the people at the real spots. It was not a studio-made film.
MK Binodini, an eminent writer who was also on the Jury as an invitee, opted out from the Jury for being associated with Matamgi Manipur as a lyricist. The Regional Jury, Calcutta was headed by Sombhu Mitra.
(To be contd)