Manaobi MM’s Play: Nupigee Thamoi(Shumang Leela)


Playwright: Manaobi MM
Director: Yumnam Rajendra
Group: Peace Maker Artistes’ Association, Manipur
Language: Manipuri
Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

The Form
Shumang Leela, literally translated as Courtyard Theatre has been the mainstay of the Meiteis, the Tibeto-Burman people who have inhabited the Imphal valley since time immemorial. Originally a form of nautanki, Shumang Leela metamorphosed into full-fledged theatre over the years. A unique feature of this art form is that the audience surrounds the stage from all sides. Male artistes not only enact the roles of female characters to perfection, but also sing just like women do. The content of the leela can be comedy, folk-lore, legends or social commentaries.

The Performance
Prince Naothingkhong was the third son of emperor Urakonthouba of Manipur (568-663 AD). A stubborn young man, he ran away to the hills where he found Petanga, a beautiful girl who was the only child of Shelloi village chief. Naothingkhong married Petanga secretly and promised her that she would be the queen of Manipur when he sat on the throne. The villagers revolted and wished to kill Naothingkhong because his father was a bitter enemy of the clan. So he escaped from the house of Petanga and sought asylum under the patronage of Khuman King. Petanga was punished by her own people and had to escape. Naothingkhong ascended the Khuman throne and married the Khuman princess. No sooner did Petanga get the news, she invoked the goddess Yumjao Lairembi and vanished with her last words of lament, “man has no power to realise true love”.

Director’s Note
The story of the play is based on legendary events of Manipur that possibly took place during 665-785 AD. The actors have worked hard to represent the age-old society and to convey the emotions of the characters during a month-long Manipuri Shumang Leela workshop. This experimental production is still in its initial stage, rather incomplete and unfinished I would say, and has a long way to go.

The Director
Yumnam Rajendra is a renowned theatre director, playwright and actor. He was trained in Manipuri theatre under the noted director Heisnam Kanhailal from 1973 to 1982. He worked as a director of Panthoibi Natya Mandir, Imphal and participated in many national and international festivals of India and abroad. He was awarded the Vayoshrestha Samman Award in 2017, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2007, award for sculpture in tribal wood carving art of Manipur and Junior and Senior fellowships by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. At present he is a visiting guru of the Department of Theatre, Manipur University of Culture.

The Playwright
Manaobi M.M. is a renowned writer of radio-plays, Shumang Leela, Manipuri film-screenplays and lyrics. He has written more than 50 plays and published above 20 plays. He is presently working as the President of Cine Writers and Playwrights Forum of Manipur.

The Group
Peace Maker Artistes’ Association, Manipur was established on 5th of August 2002 in Imphal. This association is an autonomous body and one of the leading Shumang Leela groups of Manipur. It has participated in various state, national and international festivals like 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2019, 2nd Delhi International Art Festival 2008 at FICCI Auditorium organized by NSD, 8TH Delhi International Art Festival 2014 supported by Sangeet Natak Akademi at Meghdoot Theatre Complex etc. The group has produced more than 40 plays.

Cast and Credits
Naothingkhong                                         Yumnam Arunkumar Singh
Petanga                                                    Yumnam Milan
Keirunghangbi                                           Senjam Deepson
Leima Naman Chaobi                               Bishesh Huirem
Khuman Ningthou                                     Laishram Ibotombi Singh
Amukangoiba                                            Sorokhaibamibohanbi Singh
Luwang Ningthou, Pakchao                      Athokpam Santosh Singh
Moirang Ningthou                                     Naorem Tamphasana Meetei
Goddess                                                   Maibam Roshan
Soldier                                                       Gurumayum Rajesh Sharma
Soldier                                                       Thoudam Premjit Singh
Soldier                                                       Thoudam Premananda Singh
Deity                                                           Leiphrakpam Survchand
Deity                                                           Sougrakpam Chinglennganba

Musician / Female-Vocal                             Linkmabam Biky
Musician / Singer                                         Naorem Jeetenkumar Meetei
Musician / Actor                                           Seramromajit
Musician / Actor                                           Laimujam Binoy Singh
Music Director                                             Moirangthem Robert Meetei

Playwright                                                    Manaobi M M
Director                                                        Yumnam Rajendra

Mr. Yumnam Rajendra
Peace Maker Artistes’ Association
Paona Bazar, Governor Road
Near G.M. Hotel
Imphal- 795001, Manipur
M: +91 9366427125, 9856108385

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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