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In September 2000, the separatist group Revolutionary Peoples Front, which wants to make Manipur an independent socialist state, banned Hindi films as well as the use of the language Hindi in the state. Since then, no Hindi television shows or Bollywood films are telecast in the state and no Hindi film releases in the stateUnderstanding_the_Ban_of_Bollywood_in_Ma.pdf
Following the imposition of the ban, all cinema halls in Manipur stopped exhibiting Hindi
films immediately, distributors withdrew from the state,
"there were reports of RPF cadres confiscating and burning CDs and cassettes containing Hindi films and songs in the first couple of years".
Cinema halls were the worst affected: they had no films to show, they filled in their vacant slots with Hollywood and Tamil films, in spite of that their revenues dropped drastically and many of them were shut down or converted into shopping malls. However, satellite television and national radio still operated uninterrupted.
It is still a mystery for us. Basically what they said was that Hindi film was polluting Manipuri culture and it was being used as medium for colonization by India. But then that does not make sense when they can?t stop the cable service providers like Dish TV, Star Sky, Airtel, Sun TV etc., there is internet and they can?t even do anything about AIR [All India Radio].
Both the state and central government did not issue any official statement regarding the ban although it had undeniable counterproductive effects on revenue collected from entertainment tax, which featured a sharp decline from a peak of over Rs 1,00,00,000 in 1996-2000 to a meagre Rs 57,615 in 2010 even after the advantages of inflation.
"For an income deficit state like Manipur, it makes economic sense to counter the ban imposed on Hindi films by RPF."
In the survey, when the participants were asked when they began watching films, 46.81% said they have always watched Manipuri films while only 6.38% revealed they began watching it only because Hindi and English movies were unavailable. An astounding 31.91% of them said they watch it occasionally for a change from Hindi/English/Korean films while 14.89% said they have never watched one. This reveals that a very small percentage of the population actually began watching Manipuri films owing to the ban while a significant part of them watch it only for a change from other films. The results are congruous with other observations which articulate that although cinemas stopped screening Hindi films, they were still available to the masses in one way or another. Interestingly, Manipuri films do have a market as almost half of the sample expressed that they have
watched them. The survey also reveals that while Hollywood and Bollywood are the most watched, Manipuri films come in as the third most watched films followed by Korean and regional Indian films. They also admit that if Bollywood or Hollywood were screened or televised locally, most of them (55.10%) would watch it less often while 32.65% of them maintain that they would watch Manipuri films as frequently if not more than Hollywood or Bollywood films. Interestingly, only 12.24% confessed they would not watch Manipuri films at all if they had these options.
It is therefore clear that "i
f the main purpose of the ban was to stop people from watching anything Hindi, it failed. However the ban persists, in spite of this failure, in everyday life, informing bodies and generating discourses about sexuality, Manipuri culture, Manipuri cinema, sovereignty etc.
(Kshetrimayum, 2011, p.6) The intellectual point of interest here is:
have the insurgents managed to „write back to the empire? using the medium of films
that is quite so similar to Bollywood in terms of structure and approach but yet very different in sensibilities. The contestations are myriad: who has spoken on whose behalf and if it has been accurately articulated, whether Manipuri cinema has developing a style of its own and
challenged the „language of the empire? which in this case is Bollywood, and most
importantly, if in the passive process of resistance, Manipuri cinema and through it, the Manipuris in general, has begun to occupy a position of ambivalence exhibiting a sort of hybridity which characterises and enables decolonisation
at least cinematically.
3.2 Manipuri Cinema within Bollywood: Transnationalism and National Cinema
Another bewildering consequence of the ban is the arrival of Korean films in Manipur
a sort of cultural imperialism that is not associated with indianisation or even limited to the geographical boundaries of Manipur, the northeast region, Asia or the world. Korean popular
culture, also known as the "Korean wave",
Manipur to be described as "a little corner of Korea in
(BBC, 2010) Following the ban of Bollywood, while cinemas screened Hollywood and Tamil films, television channels began broadcasting Korean TV dramas and music videos which became a trend in no time. Youngsters not only listen to Korean music, follow Korean sitcoms, dress and behave in Korean fashions but also speak to their lovers in Korean endearments.