Mary Kom Renewed the Debate about the ban on Release of Hindi Films in Manipur
‘Mary Kom’ is a biopic which is based on the life of national icon Mary kom who hails from the state of Manipur in India , it is scheduled to hit the silver screen on September 5. But it is really pathetic to know that while the rest of the country and the world will see her story, people from her very own state will not be able to watch it. This is so because there is a ban on the release of Hindi films in Manipur. In spite of having differences with our neighboring country Pakistan, we still manage to get our films released there. Then it is pitiful that we can’t work to get them release in our very own state Manipur. An appeal has been made to the government of Manipur and while the insurgents may or may not allow the film to be released in Manipur, one thing is clear that the whole nation will be shameful for this.
In this context, Priyanka Chopra and Mahesh Bhatt express their views. Priyanka said that Manipur has given us so many sports champion. They watch their local films but have banned Hindi films despite Hindi films being very popular there. When I went there they recognized me just as people in any small city in India do. They danced with me on my songs. It is as upsetting as Mary Kom is a film about their own icon. We have casted so many people from the North East in the film and, of course, a Manipuri actress could have been cast as Mary Kom, but the reach and business worldwide would have been limited for such a film. The imposition if the ban is disturbing. No matter how much films can influence or adulterate other cultures, it’s unacceptable for a few people or a group to act with such impunity to impose their wishes on a whole state. Ordinary people should have their say in what culture and art they wish to consume. Though Mary Kom has requested the authorities to allow the film to be screened it’s unlikely that the insurgents will allow this to happen. But this film has renewed the debate in Manipur about the wisdom and morality of the ban.
Mahesh Bhatt says that while we may choose to blame the government, no serious attempt has been made by the film industry to have a dialogue with people, who have banned films in Manipur, and tell them that we are not the government, but we are a civil society and that they should use us to crusade for their cause. I am sure they will listen to us and open up. They identify Hindi Films with the Indian government, but since Independence, we have not been able to resolve the issue of insurgency. Despite Bollywood having takers all over the world, in our own country, in Manipur, it is Korean films that are watched and are popular. Despite such bitter relations between India and Pakistan, we have struggled hard to bridge our differences with them as a result of which today our films are shown even in Pakistan. But in our own Manipur, Korean films are popular. What have done as a film industry? It’s a shame on us. Banning Hindi Films there is a mirror to the country and the central government, but we need to be able to tell them that we are a civil society, we are one of you, not the government. It would be such a tragedy, if a film based on their own icon who originated from Manipur, her own story is not seen there. Releasing Mary Kom may be too little too late, but a beginning must be made.
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