SN Chand : The father of Manipuri cinema

Meghachandra Kongbam
Contd from previous issue
With his tireless efforts, SN Chand completed his film- Brojendragi Luhongba during the calendar year 1972 and the Censor Board passed his film on December 30, 1972. If the film was made in a studio, it could have been completed early and marked as the first Manipuri film. But SN Chand didn’t like the studio made film. He strongly believed in the realistic approach of the New Indian Cinema movement while making his first film.
SN Chand scheduled the release of the film on Friday, January 26, 1973. And it was released simultaneously at Usha Cinema, Friends Talkies in Imphal and Thoubal Cinema at Thoubal. The then Chief Minister of Manipur  Md Alimuddin was the chief guest for the release of the film at Usha Cinema.
During the premiere show, SN Chand submitted, “It is not a successful business if we treat filmmaking in Manipur as a business. However, being a devotee of art and artistic skills, and with a thought that the rich Manipuri culture would shine in the world through this medium, I have taken the whole responsibility of making this film sacrificing all I possess.”
With few shots in Calcutta showing the protagonist as an MBBS student, the film was set at the backdrop of unique historical places, enchanting landscape of plain and hill areas, beautiful tribal dance and typical traditional performing arts- Pena (A traditional stringed instrument used in the narration of the Epic of Khamba Thoibi legend) and Bashok of Manipur. It was a true Manipuri film made by the first son of the soil.
Based on the short story with the same title of Dr Kamal’s work, which appeared in a monthly journal ‘Lalita Manjuri Patrika’ in 1933, the 122- minute feature film depicts among other things the religious and cultural life of people dwelling in the hills and plains of Manipur.
The thematic concept of this social story seeks to establish that honesty of purpose shall be maintained in every sphere of life to achieve success and honour in life.
(To be contd)