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Golden jubilee celebration of Manipuri cinema: Inaugural concludes, yearlong celebration to continue

A Cine Dialogue on 'Sustainable Producing for the New Audience' was conducted wherein film producers Ranjit Ningthouja, Ojit Babu and Linthoi Chanu were panellists and producer Premjit Naoroibam was the moderator.

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Imphal: The eight days long inaugural programme of the golden jubilee celebration of Manipuri cinema concluded here Sunday. Various events and programmes will continue in different parts of the state throughout the year to mark the celebration of 50 years of Manipuri cinema. 

A Cine Dialogue on ‘Sustainable Producing for the New Audience’ was conducted wherein film producers Ranjit Ningthouja, Ojit Babu and Linthoi Chanu were panellists and producer Premjit Naoroibam was the moderator. 

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During the dialogue, Ojit Babu said that some Manipuri films have received international fame but the audience for such films are still confined to only intellectuals unlike many Korean movies or serials.  

Talking about local audiences, he said that there were lots of viewers in the celluloid era as there were not many Manipuri films produced. The Manipuri cinema also has a large number of viewers in the second phase that began around 2002 and film production also gained momentum. But, there were some issues like lack of quality and hardly any guidance from the pioneers. Subsequently, the second phase also saw a decline in viewership, he stated. 

He lamented that in today’s generation there is no audience for cinema. 

Ojit Babu maintained that one needs to be independent in order to ensure sustainable production for the new audience. 

The artistes should also be ahead of the common people in their vision, he added. 

Ranjit Ningthouja shared that in the fast changing world, time and platform factors also need to be taken into consideration for a sustainable audience. 

Besides, the cinema halls should be upgraded with various facilities for the new audience. Such steps need collective wisdom through workshops and seminars, he said adding that the Cine Dialogue is a major step towards realising the goal to capture the new audience. 

Linthoi Chanu suggested that there will be market expansion if the films are dubbed or produced in major languages like English or Hindi. However, documentary filmmaker Amar Maibam among others opposed the same saying that it will downplay Manipuriness in the films. 

The moderator Premjit Naoroibam opined that the present trend felt as if the second generation is also slowly disappearing.  

Failure to timely tackle the changing scenario and threats come with it is posing serious challenges in sustaining Manipuri cinema. Whether Manipuri cinema will be able to sustain with OTT platforms is also uncertain as we have to use technologies that are at par with the global level. We have to be cautious and take urgent steps to sustain Manipuri cinema as it is already late, he said. 

He also broached blending both commercial value as well as award value in Manipuri cinema to attract viewers. 

Later, The First Leap and Loktak Lairembee, both directed by Haobam Paban Kumar were screened followed by interactions.

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