Firstpost presents CiNEmatters, a podcast examining cinema in North East India. In Episode 4, we discuss ‘Phijigee Mani’ (2011), a nationally awarded Manipuri film.
Illustration © Adrija Ghosh
CiNEmatters is a podcast of First post which attempts to highlight a gap in the discourse surrounding Indian entertainment – North East cinema, which remains largely inaccessible in the OTT era, while content in Indian and world languages our screens are just a click away.
In each episode, we discuss a new film available online, going beyond its cinematic scope to explore socio-political and historical nuances.
Tune CiNEmatters at First message YouTube channel, Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts and anywhere you get your podcasts.
Listen to more episodes of CiNEmatters here.
Episode 4: Phijigee mani (2011)
Language / Region: Manipur / Manipur
Broadcast on: Youtube
Director: Oinam Gautam Singh
Discard: Gurumayum Bonny, Leishangthem Tonthoingambi Devi, Abenao Elangbam, Y Kumarjit, Shyamdhani, Shanti, Sorojini
In the fourth episode of CiNEmatters, we are showing the film Manipuri 2011 Phijigee mani – a story of family, abandonment, aspirations and their manifestations in a patriarchal structure.
The film tells the story of an aspiring boxer Sanajaoba (Gurumayum Bonny), who separates from his family after losing a national match to a boxer from Kerala, consequently abandoning his sporting dreams and moving to a city with a job. white collar. He gets married, has a daughter, and while keeping his distance from his family where his mother longs for him.
Phijigee mani follows the point of view of Sanajaoba’s sister, Yaiphabi (Leishangthem Tonthoingambi Devi), who is a scientist. She makes it her mission to reunite her family in order to end the suffering of her parents in the absence of their son. The film switches between the past and the present, as it follows Yaiphabi on a bus ride to his brother’s new home. On her way, she comes across characters from Sanajaoba’s past life – including his girlfriend – and reflects on how circumstances have differently shaped the lives of the men and women in her life, including her own.
The film examines the unbridled privileges accorded to the male child in a Meitei family, where the parents, although dependent solely on their daughter’s care, seem to value only the presence and views of their absent son.
Sound anthropologist and sociology professor Sebanti Chatterjee joins us in this episode to explain why Phijigee mani is crucial to the film and culture landscape of northeast India, especially Manipur.
Listen to the episode here –