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Indeed it is ‘Dry tears’

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Indeed it is ‘Dry tears’

By: Laimayum Bashanta Sharma
Manipur reeling under sporadic incidences of violence since May 3, 2023 mayhem, it would be of no justice if I were not to mention the present scenario of the state of Manipur before putting down my words on Bishwamittra’s work of art “Dry Tears”, a tribute to martyrs. According to the government report, as of 3 May 2024, 221 people have been killed in the communal clash and 60,000 people have been displaced. Earlier figures also mentioned over 1,000 injured, and 32 missing. 4,786 houses were burnt and 386 religious structures were vandalized, including temples and churches, unofficial figures are higher.
In light of this socio-economic and political impasse for over a year, Bishwamittra’s attempt of the short film to raise awareness internationally of the sufferers of war and its consequences is the need of the hour. Artists in Manipur faced a severe impact on their lives professionally and economically, some of them had to leave what they always have loved to do in their lives in search of survival. As the state of Manipur was not economically sound before the crisis, its economy mainly depended on tourism and cultural ties. With over a year of no work and income, producing a non-commercial film to support the artists and to raise awareness is certainly a courageous and commendable work.
What can I say about Khwairakpam Bishwamittra’s work and his love of Manipuri cinema and theatre, indeed shapers of future artistic value in Manipur? With his work people of the state have witnessed several invaluable enhancements of art and culture. He has been awarded recently as Best Director at the 15th edition of Manipur State Film Award 2023 for the film ‘Eewai’, a Manipuri short film about the agony of a mother whose little child dies prematurely. Within the Meitei group of Manipur, a baby who dies earlier than he attains the age of three years is taken into account as a nasty omen to the household, and all customary post-mortal ceremonies are deprived. However, for a mother, her child shall all the time be her little one without contemplating the age. The film also won the Best Short Film (non-feature) and Best Music Director.
I was there to witness the grand premiere of ‘Dry Tears’ at Kumecs Cinema, Kakwa, Imphal on May 1. A formal function was held at the premiere with Sanzu Bachaspatimayum, Secretary of Manipur Film Development Society, L. Surjakanta Sharma, President of Film Forum, Manipur, and RK Hemabati Devi, alongside Alexander Leo Pou as Chief Guest, President and Guest of Honors respectively.
The film pays tribute to the martyrs who lost their lives in the communal clash of Manipur that started on May 3, 2023. The film is written and directed by Khwairakpam Bishwamittra Singh, produced by Sarungbam Haripyari Devi and released on May 1, 2024, under the banner of Millennium Force, Manipur. The duration of the short film “Dry Tears” is 22 minutes.
The emotion, the Goosebumps, and the tears are all that I can say about the story depicted sharply by the artists who were all said to be theatre artists. The amount of dedication
translated down the work of art is phenomenal. I have always been a fan of Bishwamittra’s work and I can say in the field of Manipuri cinema he is such a gem. Through hills and valleys, the people of Manipur are facing a tremendous challenge of survival; the government of Manipur has been persistently working towards bringing peace to the state, however without the forgiving and sense of compassion of both the communities peace is far home, unless we believe and care for our children’s future, hope has no place in this communal conflict.
The artists in the film are Ningthoujam Rina as Ima Ibemhal, Rajkumari Romila as Iche Memcha, Robindro Kshetri as amaiba, Priya as police constable, Jamuna as Imabok, and Athouba as Sanatomba. The film is edited by L Mohendro of KAMS with Haobijam Mahesh as DOP, Joy as cameraman, Nanao Sagolmang as music director, and Loijingkhombi, Nolini, Khedasana, and Bidyarani as vocal artists. Art, make-up and costumes are manned by Ragini and Premika, and light by Brojen Light. Singhajit and Premjit are the production managers. The film is processed at KAMS, Khuyathong and powered by The Morning Bell, an English daily, and TMB Digital Network.
The name ‘Dry Tears’ is intriguing as it has several underlying meanings, in Manipuri it can be translated as Akangba Pee, and in Hindi sukhgayeaasu. What is the writer trying to signify? The tears that have become dry owing to excessive weeping, or is it the tears that have stopped because it has understood the suffering. To see the title as it is or to comprehend after watching it is poles apart, hence I would love all readers to watch to genuinely find out the real meaning of dry tears as purported by the writer.
The enthralling plot that I saw in the film is the compassion of Ima Ibemhal, her character in the film is what we all have been hearing about the Manipuri mother, the dedication and its sacrifices. There is a history of the indomitable spirit of women in Manipur, from fighting the colonial rule to famine, the mothers of the state have always stood for the children and by any means been protected any harm in the state. Using non-violence as its core principle with a torch in their hands day and night for the welfare of Manipur, the mothers stand firm to defend the integrity. All these qualities of Manipuri women have been instilled in Ima Ibemhal’s character by the writer, and show his inner self of how much he loves and respects his mother.
My concluding point is to use the film as a tool to raise awareness of the ongoing communal clash and its dark impact on the lives of those who suffer. To learn from the mother the pain, the love and compassion that can sacrifice her own son’s body to alleviate the pain of somebody’s family. This must be the true spirit of humanity and the only reconcilable factor to return home, to give peace a chance, to live a peaceful life again with love as one Manipur.
(The author is Chief Editor, The Morning Bell)

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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