“Nokminnasi”: A Humble Attempt to Revive Yesteryear’s Epom

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
Audrey Hepburn

Laughter can be used to overcome challenges and enhance our lives. A playful communication to a great extent strengthens our relationships by triggering positive feelings and fostering emotional connection among us. A positive bond is easily created when we laugh together, regardless of the silliness of a joke! This bond further acts as a strong buffer for us against stress, disappointment, disagreements or other petty tit-bits of life.

Research studies have always shown that shared joke and laughter are one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. Sharing laughter adds joy, vitality and resilience. It is better to laugh out loud than to become the classic tight-jawed sourpuss who takes everything seriously and never laughs at anything. However, laughing alone is lesser fun. This has inspired me to come up with the theme of “Nokminnasi”, the first ever stand-up comedy show in Manipur. A first part of the series was recently held successfully at the MDU Hall a week ago.

The inspiration behind Nokminnasi

Back in the old days, Epom used to be one of the few means of entertainment for us. And it was indeed a level above the rest. I still have fond memories about watching Epom right in my leikai, but the cycle of time has drastically changed the landscape of entertainment in the neighbourhood.

I thoroughly enjoyed the satire in many of the Epom series. The inimitable legends like Mayang Imphal Tombi, Takhellembam Chaoba, and Oinam Babu, also popular as the ‘Yotsabi Makhong’ of Manipuri faagi used to rock the crowd in their best hilarious and comic ways. A particular Epom programme meant hours of laughter riot. Manipuri faagi had its hallmark during their days.

At present, the legacy of faagi has been passed on to some very gifted artistes. Faagi, at present, is still considered an important machal for any movie, leela or drama at present. Faagi is indeed an important mathel of our lives. Imagine a life sans faagi. It would be like a platter of nga-thongba sans salt eh?

Over the years, Epom has been seeing a gradual death especially after the demise of oja Tombi, Chaoba and Babu. Well, I cannot help appreciating Oja Ruhinikumar and his artistes for the Nokfade series, which can be considered as a replica of Epom for all these years and has kept back the charms of local humour and entertainment in this age of YouTubes and Vimeos.

In a society like ours where insurgency and social unrest set the norm, faagi should be an important part of our lives, not only to take a break but also to keep the mercury of sanity at a tolerable level.

“Nokminnasi” is a humble attempt to revive the delight of Epom with a contemporary touch. Also created as a platform for all the young comedians across the state to showcase their skill, “Nokminnasi” wants to reach out to each and every budding artistes who loves to culture Manipuri faagi in the truest, hilarious sense. If laughter is the best medicine, “Nokminnasi” is a complete dose.

Well, I was a little unsure to give a try in an unpredictable society like ours. So, I and my team organised the Nokminnasi Season One with a limited number of artistes while targeting a limited audience for the beginning. An overwhelming support and encouragement from the audience and artistes have encouraged us to present “Nokminnasi” to a larger audience.

Nokminnasi Season One showcased the skills of nine artistes namely. The masters of Manipuri humour got down in style—Pabung Manglem, Rajen, Joseph and Rangilal knew exactly what the audience expected from them. Then a crop of talented artistes including Herojit, Naobi, Raja, Ambika and Ajoy set the stage on fire with their ranging lights of humour. So now, we are trying our best to present Nokminnasi Season Two with a different flavour of faagi.

Auditions for Nokminnasi Season 2 are going to start in a few days. So, if you know any comedian in your keirol-leikai, emung-manung or saagei-naatei, please contact me personally. Let us keep up the spirit of ‘Epom’ in whatsoever way we can. Nokminnasi and we can work together to add more energy and happiness while unleashing all the frustrations from our lives.

This article was published on 27 April 2014

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