Digital age a threat to Shumang Leela, says Gov

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IMPHAL, May 28: The State Governor VK Duggal, who is also the chairman, Manipur State Kala Akademi inaugurated the 42nd All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival 2014 organised under the aegis of Manipur State Kala Akademi today at the Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Palace Compound.

The festival will continue till June 11.

The inaugural function was also attended by State Chief Minister and vice-chairman of the Manipur State Kala Akademi, Okram Ibobi Singh who presided over the function.

Speaking at the function, VK Duggal said that Shumang Leela is now at its most difficult period, especially with the coming of the digital age, where a click of a button can download a song or a movie. Manipuri films have slowly replaced it in popularity and if Shumang Leela cannot keep abreast with time, it may lead to its natural slowing down in term of popularity.

He further continued that the experts of Shumang Leela need to introspect and come up with innovative ideas to keep up this wonderful art form alive. The art form has combated the onslaught of proscenium theatre in the past as also others forms of art, but with rising cost of production and competition from other forms of recreation and entertainment like TV, cinema, etc.

He also added that this art form will not only survive but progress further and whatever assistance is possible in his official capacity as Governor of the State, he is ready to give. He took the opportunity to request the chief minister for State Government’s attention and help.

He further added that the effort of the Manipur State Kala Akademi is no doubt to extend help in sustaining this art form and its popularity can be gauged by the fact that this is the 42nd edition. The Festival not only provides the groups to showcase their new productions but also act as a platform to judge the trends of this art form.

During the function, Okram Ibobi said Shumang Leela is not only entertaining but also helps mould people. He added that the love for this art among the public is still strong.

He further said that Manipur is a tiny State in North Eastern part of India with lots of talents in the sphere of art and culture as well as sports.

The strength of the State lays mainly on preserving and passing on the tradition to the next generation in an acceptable form to all, he observed.

He continued that even after the introduction of regular theatre, the Shumang Leela tradition continued gaining its ground and the number of organised parties is increasing day by day. This art give many employment to many young talents.

He also asserted that the impact of the Shumang Leelas on the mind of the masses irrespective of the generation have been such that it is difficult to separate the Shumang Leela from the Manipuri Socio cultural scene.

He further added that the present festival organised by the Manipur State Kala Akademi is the 42nd of its kind in which the Shumang Leela group including the 8 of male and 12 of female are taking part.

He assured that the State government will support fully to the efforts to preserve and promote various art forms of Manipur and make to reach to national and international level.

During the function, prizes were distributed to the winners of 41st All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival, 2013.

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