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The Creative World of Aribam Syam Sharma, Veteran and Virtuoso Manipuri Film Maker

Manipur film is set to complete 50 years of existence in 2022. The first full feature film, “Matamgi Manipur” was completed and screened in 1972. But it was “Imagi Ningthem” 10 years later which heralded on the global arena the arrival of a brave new world of Manipuri Cinema. Even as “Imagi Ningthem” completes its 40th year this year, and in celebration of Manipur’s first step into the celluloid world 10 years earlier, Joshy Joseph and his team have completed a retrospect on Aribam Syam Sharma, the veteran film maker and virtuoso who is not only the director of “Imagi Ningthem” but also has been the tallest captain of this artistic enterprise in Manipur. We are publishing below the transcript of the lengthy narration of the master in response to Joshy’s probes, used as subtitles of the film.

 

 

Aribam Syam Sharma
Laparoscopic Cinemascapes
Chapter – 01
A CULTURAL VORTEX

 

This place Manipur…

If you see…

If you want to understand

Manipuri culture…

I just wonder…

Because they created…

Those forefathers of mine… Manipuris…

I’m talking about Manipuris…

They created music…

Beautiful music!

Traditional music, folk music,

Nata Sankirtan music…

Khongjom Parba… if you happen to know

of Khongjom Parba…

It is about the defeat of

the Manipuris…

Manipuri army at the hands of

the British in 1891

It is the longest Ballad…

It is a beautiful patriotic song…

It is beautiful…..

The story is told in

many hours…

It’s beautiful music which was

created here in Manipur…

After 1891

You imagine!

And then we have these different

types of dance forms

Dance means Lai Haraoba…

Pre-Vaishnavite culture…

Where through music and dance…

The creation…

The myth of creation…

Genesis…

Everything is explained

Why… how this life

comes on earth…

How earth is created…

Everything is shown through

dance and music…

Lai Haraoba..

It is very interesting…

I mean, I have made

films on that!

I have recorded many hours…

for IGNCA…

After that only I made ISHANOU..

After knowing all these things

And then we have

this Nata Sankirtan…

About the Viashnav culture…

and about…

The (sumumbarnama) of life…

What you need?…

What you want in your life?

Why are you born?

Do you’ve anything

you want in your life?

There must be something…

That is, what’s the best in life

which you must be after…

That sumumbarnama of life…

That is in Vaishnav philosophy…

That is in Nata Sankirtan…

And the Raas, Maha Raas you know…

It is nothing but the union of…

Our soul with supreme or super soul…

That is Radha Krishna…

It’s got different meanings…

different layers…

And all these traditions…

And that too…

Even now we have only 20 lakh people…

Or for Meities it might be

around about 15 lakh…

At that time how many people

must be there…

Very few! Might be thousand!

They created this type of…

I mean, imagine their talent!

And then, so many write-ups…

So many old…

They created our own script…

And they wrote so many books

On so many subjects!

And so, I thought…

Because they are very subtle…

Raas, if you see Raas dance…

It is very subtle

And so… in flower arrangement

you will see the same thing…

And in our costume

you’ll see the same thing…

And so I was trying to find out

what is that Manipuri-ness in that

What have we given to this world?

Or, if you have created something…

What is the basis of that?

What is that inside this culture?

What is that most important thing

in this culture?

I tried to find out these

and tried to make films…

Somehow with that vision….

You know…

So, my making of film…

Perhaps it’s not one of the best…

No, I never claim that

It is up to other people to decide

But I don’t care very much for that also…

Because, our way of expression…

My point is…

Must be kept…

Because, this form of art…

This art belongs to this world

If once it’s lost…

It will be lost forever

And if it is this what we created…

What is our contribution?…

The contribution…

It’s very important

Though the people may be very few…

The Manipuris…

The number’s very few

In India… if you compare with India…

It’s nothing

But, they have given…

This thing in film also…

I was thinking that way…

This thing is very important and…

Simple… simplicity…

Is one of Vaishnab’s

most important thing

Simple just like a grass, they say…

You must be simple like the grass

In Shantiniketan also

I’ve got the same training…

Very simple life but very high thinking…

Very simple life…

But the thinking must not be that…

You must’ve very high thinking…

Not simpleton, but simple!

It is not easy to be simple…Sometimes…

But of course, nowadays, you know…

When you do not speak out

With your complete conviction…

Sometimes, nowadays…

They think that…

We don’t have that guts…

Or that we don’t have that…

That knowledge or wisdom…

You may say it that way…

But, our culture, up till now

Has got this thing…

They don’t show much…

Or other people may think

they are shy…

But it is not that

When a man meets an elder…

In your culture…

You generally avoid eye contact…

– Yes

But how did you really mange it in cinema?

Yes…In cinema, of course

It depends on the situation…

That expression you know…

These expressions are very important…

These physical expressions…

And the whole totality…

The whole totality must be taken

And not… Especially, I tell you one thing…

Have you seen Manipuri Raas?

You must have seen Manipuri Raas

In Manipuri Raas you’ll see…

Especially in Manipuri dance…

There is no expression on the face…

That is not allowed…

Because there’s even a veil…

Not to show… A veil is on the face…

With a veil, how can you express!

There is no facial expression

All body…

– Yes

If there is no facial expression

why do you take CLOSE-UPs?

You must have close-ups if

there is some expression…

The whole facial expression… not even eyes…

the whole expression…

If you want to show that…

then of course it must be taken…

But if only for the sake of close-up

You are taking that close-up

Then it doesn’t have any meaning!

You’re not doing justice to dance…

Manipuri dance… that is my idea

But in Kathak sometimes

they show the feet

Doing all sorts of jingles

And all those things…

The face & everything…

Other forms of Indian classical dances…

So many… abhinay

& all those things are there…

But not in Manipuri no

They don’t follow that…

They are following another type

of scripture… Vaishnava

Where you see it is closed

And you’re not…

Suppose I’m Syam Sharma…

When I’m in the dance I’m not Syam Sharma…

I am representing something…

Some soul…

So it must be…

Your face is not important…

You understand my point!

Gopi is important!

And so at that time…

Manipuri dance has got different meaning…

And when you know all these things

Sometimes it’s very difficult to comment

or make a film on Manipuri dance…

This thing, we can have discussion

for long hours… So please…

But at least this point we should discuss…

The Maha Raas…

The performer and the audience…

It is participatory…

Now, how to solve it in cinema…

And you said that, may be

I might have failed as a filmmaker…

To negotiate with the medium…

Or…

Or is it the way to…

Yes, yes, you are very right!

Because the whole…

Because Maha Raas, specially this Raas…

To document or to make any film

on that it is very important…

How to make a film where both

The audience and the artists or the players…

They participate together…

And this, because we cry, we weep

and we bow to the Gods and to the Gopis…

During the performance

And so… even now I don’t know

how to make any film on this

So I don’t make any films so far…

I never…

Because, some years back…

Kapila Ji… she wanted me

to make a film on this Maha Raas

I said, no, I am not prepared for this

She was willing to give money

But I said, no, I’m not prepared for this

Because this is the only subject

where I failed up till now

I don’t know, someday

some other men can do that..

some filmmaker…

But up till now I can’t do that

Because it is not only for…

For the audience…

It’s not meant for the audience…

The whole problem is that

Those participants…

It’s made for the…

This Raas is for the participants…

Participants means YOU

everyone there… You are becoming Gopi…

Only Gopis are allowed to go

near Radha and Krishna

On this day, what happens you know…

Though Hindus, they are

very male oriented…

Only Brahmins will be allowed

to touch Krishna…

In the South it is much more difficult!

That you know…

But here, on Maha Raas…

On the Raas…

Krishna and Radha will be there

on the Raas Mandap…

The idols will be brought out…

On this day, all the Gopis

are allowed to touch them…

The players…

Not the Brahmins even…

All the Gopis are allowed to touch

the feet of Radha and Krishna

Imagine!

And so, to me…

Gopis on that particular Raas…

It is something great for us!

Even my wife you know

She participated once…

In that way…

We think one’s very highly favoured

or very fortunate

If she can play once in her lifetime

to be a Gopi…

I mean in Raas…

They can touch…

Not me

But the Gopis, if they play there

in the Raas… they can touch

And that darkness…

Ah, yes, the darkness…

That is…

You know, Krishna is lost…

If you read Maha Raas

Especially in Manipuri performance…

For 4-5 minutes there is a singing…

This Gopi Geet…

Because Krishna is lost…

Krishna has gone away…

With Radha…

They say, with Radha…

At that time Radha…

The Gopis are seeking…

Where are you?…

There are so many…

It’s a very difficult song in the Bhagavad

There you will find that

during the performance in Raas…

The light will be out for 4-5 minutes…

Darkness…

Complete darkness will be there…

It is symbolic

We are in darkness…

We are searching for you…

And how to make film on that!

With 5 minutes darkness…

And I made it… you know…

just documented!

That’s very interesting story!

I’ll always remember this you know…

I documented it in Maha Raas..

And sent for IGNCA…

to Kapila Ji…

And they have seen that…

All those officials, they saw…

They wrote to me…

There’s some mistake…

There is some darkness in your tape!

4-5 minutes darkness!

I said, no how!

There is no darkness in that way!

Then I realised that it must be that…

 

Chapter – 02

A CLOSE-UP CONUNDRUM

 

She is such great personality!

And I feel myself so small before her

And I can’t imagine how to capture her…

To take a photograph of her!

I mean, that…

What shall I say…

That pipe…

That pipe inside her nose…

If you feel that…

It’s like a placenta…

Life giving force…

If you make that, then it is okay

It’s a beautiful thing…

The child you know…

The child with a placenta…

I feel that way

But you have photograph

in such a ugly way!

If you are making her ugly

by photograph…

So, the personality is a must…

Person!

The person is a must…

And what I have seen in…

So I told them not to make

any cinema or film on her…

Means from that end…

Because her personality…

If you can capture her personality

Then that’s okay…

If not, you are undermining her

If you take only one side of her

that’s a different thing…

But so we become…

Because such a life…

Such a daughter of ours…

And taking no food

for eleven years…

And we are eating…

And I said I don’t want to go near her even…

I felt so ashamed of myself…

So ashamed of myself

But you can’t do anything

That’s the most unfortunate part

So when you make any film on her…

This is my general advice…

Because she is great!

If you try to take any photograph of her

Try to make sure.

That she’s not downgraded or

You’re not dragging her down

Her personality…

Do you think so?

But this philosophic decision

which you take…

You are ignoring the film

So you are not at that moment …

You know….

Thinking about the final outcome in film…

But that particular moment of your life…

Not the film…

The life which is represented in the film…

This is a very important…

Very… very fine moments…

In all our lives

and in your life…

I see several such moments…

I don’t know.

But Joshy…

I feel for her, especially for her…

Such a strong person…

So many angles…

looking from so many angles…

As a cinematographer

as a photographer…

I have to make… just like the Raas film

Just like I failed in that…

I’m not making any film so far

on Maha Raas…

In the same way, this is my outlook…

This is my way, only of thinking…

That she is also like that…

She is a great person!

And to capture her…

…I don’t know, painting might…

Perhaps helps…

But photography… in photographs…

Specially, I’ve seen…

That pipe!

That makes her ugly!

She is such beautiful… Personality…

I’m talking about personality…

It is just like the umbilical chord…

I am thinking in that way…

Just looking at her…

Maybe right, maybe wrong…

But in an artistic expression of myself…

This is giving life

So, make it in that way…

That beautiful way…

Just a side…

You know… umbilical chord…

It is beautiful!

So make…

If possible…

If you can make your photograph like that…

That’s okay…

If not…

It’s just like Lotus

Blooms you know…

In that particular grip like…

It blooms…

The Lotus blooms

Why don’t you compare with that?

That is my…

Concept of the things…

there are many other things, but…

As a filmmaker…

Filmmaker is essentially a photographer…

Through photographs we’re expressing things…

So, in expression the angle

you choose and everything…

Her expression, her eyes…

I always say, take her eyes…

It is significant!

Why you take the whole of the specimen…

Her eyes is… you see!

You see her eyes!

Her eyes are something great!

Her expression through her eyes…

Eyebrows and eyes…

It is wonderful!

Her eyes are great!

She must be seeing things, this world itself…

If you can talk to her or something…

But I’m afraid!

One last question… So…

Syam Sharma, who avoided

more close-ups in his films

Because Syam Sharma believed

in the body of the actor…

Who expresses through the entire body…

And the same Syam Sharma, now seeing…

Not even close-up…

A macro close-up of Sharmila…

Wonderful!

Your idea is wonderful!

 

Chapter – 03
MOMENTS AND MOVEMENTS

 

Imagi Ningthem…

That’s something very important to my life…

I mean, when we are writing scripts…

Yes, the first script we had written…

And so many sessions

we had to sit together…

Ibohal was making…

with his 16mm camera…

Every time, everywhere….

Where we were taking the shots

Maha Rajkumari will be there…

At nights… even at late night…

Because at that time, whenever I felt

that I’ve to change my dialogue…

I always said-

Maha Rajkumari please…

Means, because it was written earlier

It doesn’t fit in that particular place…

So, please change this…

Please change that…

She must be always there!

And even at that night…

I remember

The child artist, you know…

When I was taking a shot…

I don’t know if it’s here or not…

Sick…

He was very sick…

And how to get the shot!

That temperature and everything…

High temperature…

I allowed him to sleep…

Because his mother was also there…

For some one hour…

We are waiting

Then abruptly I wake him up…

Abruptly I wake him up…

Then puting only Vaseline on his face…

The whole camera team was ready…

Then ‘Pupu’…

Say ‘Pupu’…

Because… Grandfather…

‘I can’t see you’…

Because he can’t open his eyes…

The child can’t…

Because he was so sleepy

And only said-

‘I can’t see you Pupu’…

And that shot was wonderful!

With that temperature & everything…

It was coming that way…

Then, the mother was very angry…

You are torturing my child!

She is from my locality

Of course we’ve got very good relation…

And Maha Rajkumari was there!

My point is Maha Rajkumari was there…

And she was explaining to her…

I mean the shot you know…

How to take that particular shot!

I still remember…

That was…

Very unique and wonderful shot it was!

So, in that way…

Maha Rajkumari…

Then Ishanou…

Let me tell you about Ishanou…

Ishanou is not written…

It is not from her story…

It’s written only for film

Ishanou and Olangthagee…

These two scripts were written only for film

And so this Ishanou…

Maibis (female oracles), you know…

You have to know about Maibis…

A little difficult for me to explain…

These Maibis…

Somehow

Maha Rajkumari…

Was very much fond of these Maibis

She always…

Welcomed them, at any moment…

Because she is a lover of flowers…

Maha Rajkumari… you’ll see there’s

a beautiful garden at her residence…

At the same time…

In Jawaharlal Nehru Dance Academy also…

And these Maibis

they are very much fond of flowers…

They will pluck it, anywhere…

They have this type of feeling…

I don’t know why…

They’re always after flowers…

Maibis…

Maha Rajkumari…

She’s a lover of flowers…

And she will say-

No one must pluck these flowers!

She’ll even punish those who pluck…

But, when Maibis….

They pluck the flowers..

She will laugh!

She will say – Okay, okay!

She always agrees

Whenever the Maibis pluck the flowers

to put them on their hairs…

They always put them on their hair…

They are very much fond of flowers…

These Maibis…

But she was not angry with them?

– No

She’d never be angry with Maibis…

She just enjoys with them…

and their stories…

She always welcomes them

at her residence also

She knows many stories about them

From those stories, she developed

this story of Ishanou…

Many stories…

So, we sat together in the…

Maibis…

How to…

Develop the stories…

Different sequences… different scenes…

And then…

About who’ll play this part of Tampha

Tampha means main heroine of this film…

Tampha…

Interestingly, in Manipur…

What happens in Manipur, you know…

Generally who…

Generally the Meiteis….

Not the Brahmins…

You may play… just like…

Maibis… or put to be someone

related to the Maibi…

You also become a Maibi!

Sometimes, I can’t express very well…

It’s difficult you know

if you don’t practice…

I don’t talk much also

Those people who talk

they can express very well… young people…

But I don’t talk much

But you express!

I was trying to express myself

But you express… you do definitely express

Expression of feelings…

It’s actually very difficult..

When you say about Maha Rajkumari…

You know, it is very easy…

She’s like this… then… those things…

I mean, to compare… but how I feel

If you ask me…

Then there lies the whole difficulty

for me to express

I never write a single line about her

after her death

This is the first time I’m talking to you

Because I can’t express how I feel!

There’s no expression! There’s no words for it!

Then what to do!

Because, you see…

When she was no more

Just between you and myself

I am telling you…

Many people came to me…

Say one line…

And such personalities like

Ratan Thiyam and all…

They had written very beautiful lines about her…

But I am not a poet

I don’t know how to write a poem…

That I don’t know

But I’ve got the feeling in me…

But I don’t get any words for that…

Then what to do!

Then I’m actually cheating myself!

When I say something I’m cheating myself!

So I don’t say anything…

I won’t say anything, I said

If I…

There’s no word for it..

Then what to do!

So far the words which I knew

in my vocabulary…

There might be…

If there’s some poet who can express that

that’s quiet different…

But for me I can’t…

I don’t have any words for that…

For the first time in my life…

After the death of Maha Rajkumari…

I’ve never said any word about her

But as a relationship…

As a script-writer and myself… yes…

But if you ask me about my feeling…

About how I feel…

Then it is very difficult to say

 

Chapter – 04
TURBULENT TIMES

 

I was playing over there…

On that veranda …

Then those birds…

Only one… We saw only one…

Only one plane coming…

With that sound, it was coming…

Then suddenly it spread out like anything!

The formation was such

You’re seeing only one…

But up there in a line they were…

And then spreads out… And then…

Begins to sort of…

Shelling!

And we rush inside..

Then I told you earlier…

There were bunkers under our bed…

There were bunkers in our houses …

Bunkers were already made!

Because our….

People here knew that there’ll be attack

Earlier there was no…

There was no seating…

It must be empty…

It must be open also…

These designs see…

These very old timbers…

This is…

Very big timbers

This is Manipuri way of making houses…

At that time

I was born here…

That… after bombing you know…

We went inside…

We went inside…

and then under this…

Oh it’s the bunker!

Yes, bunker…

Bunkers!

No, no light…

Bunkers you know…

And we…

After bombing we went outside…

This’s okay…

Because…

And this is…

This… These

Come

Trees… very old…

Second World War bombing…

Second World War bombing was you know…

The bombing was near this…

Just… here in Khwatung there is a Bazaar…

There it is 4th Assam Rifles Cantonment area…

You know that…

They were targeting on this

I came to know…

The bombing was targeting

on this cantonment area…

That is so near…

So, the bomb just fell just nearby…

Here…

But we were all inside our house…

Because at that time trenches were dug…

Under our beds…

Our cots you know…

And so we just went inside…

We’re little boys…

6 years old, I must be…

’36… ’42…

And so I just remember…

We were inside…

And after that

we went to the villages

We went to our villages

There we lost my father…

I mean… my father…

Then the same year I lost my mother!

It’s strange you know…

that happens…

Due to Cholera or some disease…

Then we went to Brindaban…

Because my…

Because this place belongs to…

it’s a very long story…

Maharajkumari…

I mean, Kakai…

You will get it there (in the book)…

– I know…

And so, we went there..

And then after coming here…

Again we started a new life here

My uncles and aunties

They brought us up…

We three brothers you know…

And they gave education & everything!

Everything! I mean…

Without them I could never have

been in this position!

It is impossible!

It is just like a drama in a way…

In a way it is just like a play!

Because my uncle next to my father…

And my mother and aunty…

they were sisters…

One is brother and one is sister!

And so they somehow….

They didn’t have their children again…

When we grew up then they had children

That’s another thing very interesting

in life you know… I must say

It’s just like a film I tell you!

It’s just like a film!

I was talking to you about…

it is just like a film

And this god… I mean Gopal Dev

also belongs to Kakai…

So, we are worshiping…

Then, after this we’re becoming more & more…

I mean, I personally…

In the field of art and culture

and filmmaking…

And through philosophy…

My subject was philosophy

in Shantiniketan…

I always wanted to read philosophy…

Though I was a student of science also

And so life… sometimes at this age

We begin to reflect…

On our past…

At the same time, what’s happening now…

And rather…

I’m becoming a bit philosophical

At this age… a bit philosophical…

Not very much for power…

And I’m trying rather

Not to be greedy!

Because there’s no end of greed…

That’s the whole problem…

And if trying to be a bit simple in life…

To have a simple life &

to understand more…

The realities of this life…

Because death is one…

A reality!

The most important reality of life is death

You can’t avoid it!

That is… you know

When we become old

We are nearing to that…

That doesn’t mean that you must be

very pessimistic… No!

Try to understand…

it’s a beautiful thing…

If you think it’s just like music…

It’s just like…

Life is just like a…

A beautiful experience rather…

Then you begin to feel

in a very different way…

That I am trying!

That I am trying my best!

To look at life with that vision…

Just like another type of camera

 

Chapter – 05
IMAGES FROM DUST

 

Joshy, I think you know…

That film… specially in filmmaking…

I’m talking about filmmaking…

We are creating some…

In a way, you may say…

Some grammar

It is actually…

It is not from your side…

I mean, without… because…

without understanding.

The whole idea…

I’m talking about…

this is a bit difficult to explain…

Because you know…

What we are taught in film…

You are given some ideas

That this ‘s close-up, this’s mid-shot, this’s long-shot…

Some variations of that & all those things…

Those are the tools by which

you are trying to explain something

And who are those people…

Those thinkers, rather…

Filmmakers

They have given you these…

That these are the tools for making…

And when you are narrating something…

You’re narrating someting you know…

That will never suffice…

That is my point

What is given to you will never suffice

to explain what you want to

Just like poetry

Just like poetry

The words…

Are not that important…

The words give another meaning…

Behind your words

There’s the imagery or whatever you know…

That vision… there’s another vision

besides the words…

The written, spoken, beyond that…

Beyond that!

Films also are having that… my point is this

Of course they say, in editing

it goes to another third thing…

But you know it depends…

My point is, you must…

there’s no end of this…

End of search of this

Every filmmaker who is talented

who wants to do something…

He must have his own point of view

or his own way of explaining things

But we don’t try to understand from that angle

We try to judge from our own angle

Not from the view point of…

the filmmaker

We try to explain from our own angle…

Even in cinematography

Even in cinematography, what we find…

Those who are coming out from Pune

or other new…

They are taught…

All those western ideas…

Cinematography… beautiful shots

& all those things…

Their whole idea goes in that way

Not in dusty Indian scenes, you know…

Not in that way…

Those beautiful scenes in the western countries…

Western paintings, you know…

I think so far we’ve also not developed

our way of cinematography

I don’t know what you think…

I mean, Indian way…

We should have our own way

of cinematography

This dusty thing

I love my place, Manipur…

Even better than New York!

New York has got very beautiful buildings…

But I don’t like it…

I like this place… then how…

this dusty place…

It has got some beauty…

But to show that, if you begin to judge

from the American way…

With that vision…

With that American spectacle you know

Then there might be difficulty to understand this…

My point is this

So, when your film was shown…

Spielberg’s film was also shown in one festival

which has got the…

As far as Hollywood can attain the perfection…

Your film, with may be some out-of-focus shots

here and there was also shown…

And even yesterday when we were talking

you were not feeling shy of admitting

Yes, there are some out-of-focus shots…

But beyond that

Something is seen

something is attempted…

It’s almost impossible to really take

an out-of-focus shot now…

You have to create an out-of-focus effect

Because you have such techno friendly cameras…

so…

That’s right! You can’t take any out-of-focus shot now

what to do!

Thats right.

So, one lady at that time…

About the future of cinema…

Humane…

Let those humane things in us…

Last thing it comes to that…

Human…

And our creation…

creativity also counts…

This creativity cannot be judged by few symbols

or few grammar you know!

There cannot be the end of our creativity

 

Chapter – 06
WINGED ROOTS

 

From the six tongues of

mother earth

The five tongues

Of creation

The four directions

In the beginning

gently… gently… gently

– Where is everybody –

– Where is everybody –

– Tampha, listen –

– Bembem is well –

Aunty, myself

And others decided…

…to send her to Dhanabir’s

Home for schooling…

I came rushing when I heard

You had returned

We are so happy,

You are back

You must stay with

Your mother

– I’ll go now –

– Wait –

Does she know of me?

– Ok then –

– Let it be – Don’t tell her any more

of my new life

Let her not know

Of my existence

Mother Maibi

salutation to you

Shining daughter of

noble birth!

– Radiant gem –

– My love –

I came tracing your footsteps

But I cannot see you

Their separation…

The whole of feeling…

That she will be meeting her daughter…

She is normal now

After so many years of abnormality…

One or two years…

She is coming back home

She was calling-

Where are you my daughter…

She was thinking she must be playing

at the backside…

That was a scene where

I can’t sleep even

Because, I don’t know how to shoot it!

I tell you, this was my experience…

how to shoot that particular scene…

That was something which I can never forget!

Because she was searching her daughter

And at the same time she’s thinking that

her husband might be somewhere…

So in the rooms…

When she was passing through the rooms…

The bed…

The empty bed and everything…

May not be that cent-percent I was

successful in shooting that scene…

But I tried my best in this particular scene

And then she walks out and told that

you see my daughter…

As a Maibi’s daughter becomes a Maibi…

Generally we believe in that

So…

I allowed her to go with her father

To his place, in Cachar…

Then she broke down

This particular shot…

Because we have to cut…

That is the unfortunate part of it…

We have to cut! What to do!

In film we’ve to cut

It is the most unfortunate part!

Coming from drama, I say…

Cutting in filmmaking

is a boon to us

Because temporarily it is best…

Time factor…

You will have to see…

and then also…

To express yourself

it is a boon…

But sometimes I feel…

I become angry sometimes…

Nowadays we’re having this video…

I may have shot much longer…

This particular scene you know…

But in film…

You have to cut somewhere…

I was angry against myself

Because the artist was…

She was actually full of that emotion…

And at that time I had to cut!

Because it’s not possible to elongate

that particular shot…

I have to cut somewhere

Then…

Then my cameraman, Girish, I remember…

I cut…

Girish said-

How to take this shot…

Every cameraman knows

the sensitivity of the particular…

She was very quite…

Lightmen and everything we put…

I said, near this bed…

You keep camera and all on this side…

Then I told her…

You CRY as much as possible!

In EVERY way…

Whatever you want!

I’m giving you the whole freedom!

But no rehearsal!

I took shots without rehearsal…

Many times

No rehearsals!

If one rehearsal is given

that will be the end of the shot!

There will not be that spontaneity…

That cannot be…

There are many…

I can tell you afterwards…

Without any rehearsal…

I don’t want any rehearsal…

I take as it is…

One take is okay

But cameraman must be very careful

That I’ll tell one or two stories…

Very interesting!

Then she…

The camera was there…

And she was sitting…

She just broke down and…

Camera okay

Then Don’t stop camera, I say…

Don’t stop!

Till I say cut

You don’t cut!

She just fell down

near the couch

And then she cried!

Her face down…

Her face was so…

Just after the shot…

It was a beautiful shot!

Then…

My cameraman complained…

Syam Da, how is it possible!

Her face is not in the camera!

Your cameraman also knows…

He also might see…

Her face is not in the camera!

How is it possible!

What happened?

No tears!

Because there must be tears!

When she’s crying her face must be shown

and tears must be in the camera!

Because she just fell down and

she was crying, you know…

But the whole gesture was such!

Such a beautiful shot!

If you happen to see…

But cameraman said –

No Syam Da, it’s impossible…

Because I can’t see her face…

That’s okay man!

That’s the best thing that you’ve done today!

Because there must be…

You know…

When you cry

the camera must be there…

And all those tear drops must be…

They must be falling down there…

But her face was not…

But the moment was such!

The crying was such! Nowadays every…

There’s some weeping of females…

I said NO

No weeping in my film!

If you have to weep

Or if you want to cry…

Cry there…As much as you want…

But not every moment

The women are very…

What shall I say…

Sentimental or something… weeping…

I said no…

Manipuri women don’t do that!

This is… long shot…

Take one long shot…

Of this new…

This is very old structure…

It is more than 100 years old now…

– Oh, Is it?

Right eye is giving a bit of problem

Are you taking very much close-ups?

– No

No, don’t take

You’re against close-ups

So he’s also against close-ups!

If you say Manipuri dance…

If you say Kathakali…

If you say Bharatnatyam…

Suppose in dance, you know

They are all Indian!

Indian classical dance…

In the same way, I think…

Indian film is these regional films

 

CREDIT TITLE

 

producer

SMITA VATS SHARMA

photography

K.S.SHRIDHAR

IROM MAIPAK

editing

ATISH NANDY

music

HEISNAM TOMBA

sound

B.SURESH KUMAR

sound mixing

AYAN BHATTACHARYA

assistants

KUMAR TAPAS RANJAN (Camera)

MANAS KUMAR SWAIN (Editing)

subtitle

SUBHAJIT DAS BHAUMIK

stills

RATAN LUWANGCHA

conversation & realisation

JOSHY JOSEPH

acknowledgment

SANGEET NATAK ACADEMY

SAHITYA ACADEMY

DOORDARSHAN

NFDC

MSFDS

HAOBAM PABAN KUMAR

SURBHI GOEL

V.S. KUNDU

ASHUTOSH SHARMA

SARAT CHANDRA

SHANTIMOY SHARMA

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