(Last Updated on : 28/04/2012)
Geet Chandra Tongbra was an iconoclastic, prodigious artistic representative of Manipur's social turmoil. Born in 1913 he was an intellectual, who remained distant, aloof, and sphinx-like, yet was deeply loved. He created a niche for himself in modern Manipuri theatre
. He wrote over 100 full-length comedies, radio drama
, and scripts for touring professional opera groups. Geet Chandra established the Society Theatre in 1937 during the early proscenium period. He began a controversial genre of 'dialogue plays', severely criticizing the gradual loss of intrinsic values in Manipuri society.
Intolerant of injustice, corruption, and degrading treatment of women, he wrote most of his drama in a unique mixture of wit and declamatory style. Nursed on peasant humour rather than sophistication and finesse, he introduced a radical change in attacking social mores.
Geet Chandra Tongbra was an early admirer of Bernard Shaw. From 1970s he composed major experimental plays. Most of his later scripts grew unmindful of textual logic, or of behavioural subtleties among the characters. Tongbra's satire on politics and morals created a furore when his Leibak houba andolan i.e. 'Earth-shaking Agitation' produced during the statehood agitation. This led to a police summons. Other important plays include Mani mamou i.e. "Mother-in-law, Daughter-in-law" for the Shumang Lila
, Mister Danncare, Imphal Thoibi i.e. "Imphal's Thoibi", and Ngabong khao i.e. "Flesh Trap". He did not bother much about production, stating that actors should have to improvise their parts. Geet Chandra Tongbra died in the year 1996.
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