Manipuri actor Soma Laishram, known for her roles in over 150 Manipuri films and her numerous awards, is facing controversy for her participation in a beauty contest, defying a call for a boycott of such events amidst the ongoing unrest in Manipur. An Imphal-based civil society organization, which initiated the boycott, has now demanded that filmmakers ban Ms. Laishram for a period of three years.
The controversy arose when Soma Laishram took the role of show stopper for a beauty pageant held during the North East Students’ Festival in New Delhi on Saturday. The Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL), a prominent civil society group in Manipur, claimed that it had approached the Film Actors Guild Manipur, urging the actress not to participate in the pageant. They alleged that despite general appeals made to celebrities and personal advice given to Ms. Laishram, she still attended the event.
The news has sent shockwaves through the Manipur film fraternity, with the actress defending her decision to represent Manipur in the event. In a video statement, Ms. Laishram explained that she used her platform to address the unprecedented turmoil in Manipur and called for peace and normalcy in the violence-affected state.
“As an actor and a social influencer, it is my responsibility to communicate and speak up about the crisis in Manipur, and I chose this platform. The event I participated in is a northeast festival hosted by a non-profit organization. It is not a beauty or fashion show organized for fun or to party. It is a cultural event where each state of the northeast was represented by their popular figures. From Manipur, it happened to be me. They invited me, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity,” she stated.
The Film Forum Manipur (FFM), the governing body of all film organizations in the state, has criticized the civil society organization’s decision and expressed its intention to work towards having the ban on Ms. Laishram rescinded. The situation has ignited a debate within the Manipur film industry, reflecting the complexities surrounding artists’ participation in public events during periods of regional unrest.
Sources By Agencies