Imphal, Sept 22: A Shumang Leela, a traditional courtyard play called 'Mei Iklaba Thamoi'(An ignited heart) based on the life and work of Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was premiered in Imphal on Sunday.
The play was produced by a newly formed production committee and it was written by well known playwright in the state's Shumang Leela world-Ranjit Ningthouja.Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Sougrakpam Hemanta is the director.
Speaking to The Assam Tribune, playwright Ranjit Ningthouja said it took about two complete months to develop the scripts and organised the two hour long play.
The idea of producing such a traditional form of play is to motivate sports persons and produce more Olympians from the Northeast with Mirabai being their role model and also to promote and popularise Shumang leela art form, Ranjit said.
The other objective of producing the play is to encourage the Shumang Leela artistes' who cannot perform their plays in the prevailing Covid situation,he felt.
There also also plans of performing the play in selected places of Northeast region besides telecasting it on local TV channels after necessary inputs and meetings,according to production committee sources. They even plan to perform the play at Patiala in Punjab where Mirabai is provided training.
The premiered 'Mei Iklaba Thamoi' play which was held at the Iboyaima shumang leela sanglen,a popular playhouse in Imphal in presence of information and public relations minister Th Biswajit and education minister S Rajen and others.
All the cast of the play are selected among Manipur's popular Shumang Leela artistes.Traditionally in Shumang Leela, the roles are all played by male actors, some dressed as beautiful ladies.
Well known shumang leela artist Th Heramoti plays the role of Mirabai while S Robindro popularly known as Langthabal Robindro plays the roles of Mirabai's mother Saikhom Tombi.
Mirabai, who won the country's first silver medal in women's 49 kg weightlifting with a total lift of 202 kg on the first day of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, was accorded a hero's welcome when she returned home in the outskirts of Imphal on July end this year.
The state Chief Minister N Biren Singh led well wishers including the family of Mirabai received the star weightlifter and handed over a cheque of Rs 1 Crore as cash reward and appointed her as Additional Superintendent of Police (Sports) during a state level facilitation function in Imphal.