Home » “Padma Shri Wareppa Naba: Rituals to Mainstream” at the 29th Kolkata International Film Festival

“Padma Shri Wareppa Naba: Rituals to Mainstream” at the 29th Kolkata International Film Festival

by Guru Aribam Naocha
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“Padma Shri Wareppa Naba: Rituals to Mainstream” at the 29th Kolkata International Film Festival

Bobby Wahengbam’s documentary, ‘Padma Shri Wareppa Naba: Rituals to Mainstream’, a film based on the work of noted Manipuri theatre and shumang leela exponent Wareppa Naba has been selected to showcase in the reputed FIAPF accredited 29th Kolkata International Film Festival, Kolkata, 5thto 12th of December, 2023. “Padma Shri Wareppa Naba…” is scheduled on the closing day (12th December) at Nandan-III 05:00 pm under the Short and Documentary Panorama which is an explicit selection of 15 contemporary short and documentary films made in India. Bobby is excited to have his film in one of the few FIAPF-accredited film festivals in the world, which is also a flagship event of the Government of West Bengal. Another Manipuri film selected for the festival is Paban Haobam’s feature film “Joseph Son”
The FIAPF (Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films), commonly known as the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, with 36 member associations from 30 countries, is in charge of regulating most of the important international film festivals. In India, five film festivals- IFFI, Goa; IFFK, Kerala; Mumbai International Film Festival; Bengaluru International Film Festival and the Kolkata International Film Festival- have got FIAPF accreditation so far.
The film showcases the exceptional journey of a visionary creative artist, director, and mentor who has successfully redefined traditional and ritualistic performing arts by making them relevant and contemporary while preserving their originality, raw aesthetics, and uniqueness. Wareppa Naba, Padma Shri (2017), dedicatedly practices different forms of theatre and other narrative arts starting from Indian theatre to folk arts to classical dance to traditional populist open-air touring theatre form of Shumang Leela. He goes to the nooks and corners of the state to find and preserve different narrative art forms practised as oral tradition as well as rituals and everyday life. His amalgamation of various art forms in his scheme not only makes his bodies of work unique but also saves some dying arts from extinction. Aesthetics of such art forms are dexterously weaved in the carving of the very popular masses theatre of Shumang Leela plays. He remains one of the most respected and reliable pedestals of performing art forms and the Shumang Leela tradition.
Bobby Wahengbam is a known face in the annals of Indian and Manipuri cinema for his academic approaches to cinema. He is a two-time National film award winner, one for a book on cinema (Swarna Kamal for the best book on cinema-Matamgi Manipur: The First Manipuri Film” and one for film direction (Rajat Kamal for Eigi Kona). Some of his films namely ‘Joseph’s Son’, ‘From Orphanage to Olympics’, ‘Soft Target’, ‘Roshni’, ‘Apaiba Leichil’ and ‘Eigi Kona’ have been showcased in various reputed film festivals that include KIMFF, IFFI, MIFF, IDSFF Kerala, KIFF, Sign, TIFF, OIFFA Canada, Golden Femi Bulgaria, NEFF among others.He has recently served as a jury member for the Indian Panorama, Non-Feature, IFFI, Goa.
The film is cinematographed by Bobo Heekhomba and edited by Rajkumar Lalmani Singh.

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