Shumang Leela festival held to promote northeast culture in Manipur

Imphal, Feb 15 (ANI): The 40th edition of All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival was recently held here to promote the culture of northeast India.

Not many may know, but the art form derives its name from "Shumang", which means "courtyard" in local parlance.

The festival has traditionally been showcasing several plays based on contemporary themes. Though these performance have popularly been known to have an all-male cast performing in them, of late young women have also started getting roles in the Shumang plays.

The 40th edition of the courtyard theatre was organized under the aegis of Manipur State Lalit Kala Academy. The 12 daylong event saw the participation of 24 groups.

"We are very much concerned about the future of Shumang Leela. Day by day its popularity is fading away and here at this festival we attempt to increase its popularity from the grassroots level," said Bhubhon Singh, a coordinator of the event.

"With the help of State Kala Academy have recently formed "Nupi Shumang Leela" which is especially for female so we are very happy. They are not only paying us but also have taken much initiative for Female Shumag Leela," said Taruni Devi, director cum artist

"Through this Shumang Leela we can give a strong message like to bring peace in our state. Through this we can perform and tell them what we need for our state," added Tomthingannganbi, an artist

Apart from its theatrical significance, Shumang leela also plays an important role in raising issues, which concern and affect people in the state.

Shumang Leela's origin goes back to the reign of King Chandrakriti in the 19th century. Today, the theatre form is a distinct facet of the state"s identity. (ANI)