‘Manipuri dance misinterpreted in Sony TV show’

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Imphal: Manipur art and culture commissioner M. Joy Singh has alleged the Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai for misinterpreting Manipuri Raas Leela in Super Dancer 4 on Sony Entertainment Television.

“In the episode telecasted on Saturday, 24th July 2021, the choreographer had presented Manipuri Dance with her improvised choreography on the romantic theme of Dushyant and Shakuntala,” Joy said in a letter written to the DM and CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd on Monday.

People in Manipur have strongly expressed their displeasure in the said choreography. The dancers had used costumes for Radha and Krishna that are normally used in the Manipuri Raas Leela, and the body movement of these dancers were less of Manipuri dance and more of contemporary Bollywood movements, Joy said.

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Manipuri Raas Leela is one of the purest form of devotional dance and highly refined classical art form which has religious sentiments based on prema-bhakti and this is practiced with highly ritualistic ceremony. Each and every piece of costumes, every single movement and gesture has its own significance. The dignified slow and continuous movement of the body shows its gracefulness in the Lasya aspect and to some extent in the Tandava aspect also with some leaps and jumps, he added.

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Manipuri dance, by its very nature, is suggestive rather than blatantly expressive. It certainly makes less use of codified mudras and elaborate facial expressions and this is done with a purpose. Realistic symbolisms are most unsuited to this style and if thrown in, detract from the basic flow and graceful quality of Manipuri dance, Joy mentioned in the letter.

“Therefore, with utmost regret, I would say that Manipuri dance was highly misrepresented in your show on 24th July 2021 episode, and it is expected that such misrepresentation is not repeated in future,” he said.

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“We would be highly pleased if a subject expert is consulted by the choreographer and dancers before making such choreographic work in future so that there is a proper representation of Manipuri dance and the people of Manipur truly feel proud of seeing its dance in the national channel,” he added.

He urged not to upload this piece of dance on Youtube or any social media, and to remove it if done before.

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