The Telegraph: Manipur film unveils Myanmar’s ‘Hell Hole’

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By -Khelen Thokchom

A poster of the film Keishal jail-dugi fadoksing, a Manipur film depicting human rights violation in Myanmar jail
A poster of the film Keishal jail-dugi fadoksing, a Manipur film depicting human rights violation in Myanmar jail

Imphal, Oct. 24: Ningthoukhongjam Bobo, a youth from Imphal who had spent more than four years of his prime in a Myanmarese jail, returned home after serving his term to the “shock and horror” of his family as it had already taken him to be dead and performed his last rites.

A Manipuri feature film, Keishal jail-dugi fadoksing (Prisoners of Keishal jail), inspired by Bobo’s near-death experience, will tell the audience how horrifying Myanmarese jails (which Bobo describes as “hell hole”) are and also highlight its gross human rights violations.

At the age of 20, Bobo, who wanted to supplement his family’s income, went to Manipur’s border township of Moreh and was arrested by Myanmarse military from the neighbouring country’s Tamu town, for reasons unknown to him.

 He spent three months in a military lock-up before he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment by a local court on the charge of entering Myanmar without valid documents.

After a local television channel telecast an interview, Bobo’s ordeal came to light. The film, which is expected to hit the screens next month, is set to horrify viewers.

“I think mine is a story that needs to be told. I want to highlight the horrible, inhuman and degrading treatment meted out to prisoners by the Myanmar military,” Bobo, who played his own role in the film, said.

He further said he wanted to highlight the plight of prisoners in Myanmar to attract international humanitarian and rights bodies so that human rights of the prisoners are respected.

In the adaptation, Bobo plays the role of Loya, a drummer who went to Tamu town to earn a living. He was arrested while travelling in an autorickshaw in that country. His ordeal begins here.

The film depicts how he was confined in a small cell, denied food, forced him to eat mud cakes and dry bark for survival. Human excreta and urine were poured over him.

Bobo’s arrest came at a time when Myanmarese military was mounting a crackdown on pro-democracy activists of the country. He also witnessed how these activists were tortured and brutalised.

The story of the film is written by well-known singer Tapta and directed by Satyajit B.K. The film is a Plus Media production.

The dialogues in the film are mostly in Burmese. Bobo had learnt the language during his time in the lock-up and the jail. His knowledge of the language helped the other actors.

The beauty of the film is that all the characters look like real Burmese people.

The film’s premier was held last night. The crowd thronged Imphal’s Bheigyachandra open air theatre.

The film will remind viewers the scenes of Rambo IV, in which Rambo helps a group of mercenaries rescue a Western humanitarian aid team helping Karen tribe people from the clutches of Tadmadow soldiers.

The director and Bobo said depending upon the success of the film, a second part depicting his life in the jail would also be produced.

Given last night’s success, the film is sure to become an instant hit.

 

Source: The Telegraph

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