Interview: Manipuri Film Actress – Abenao(Sonia Elangbam) on Career, Culture and Experience


By: W Rorrkychand Singh

In a candid conversation with Manipuri Film Actress Abenao (Sonia Elangbam), who is better known by her stage name; Abenao reveals about her acting career, the secret of her beauty and many more hush-hush to W Rorrkychand Singh.

Abenao: Sonia Elangbam - A screenshot from award winning movie-Fijigee Mani: Courtesy : Youtube
Abenao: Sonia Elangbam – A screenshot from award winning movie-Fijigee Mani: Courtesy : Youtube

Abenao, who is a perfect example of “beauty with brain” in the Manipuri film industry, started her acting career with “Chingjaogum Lepliba Thamoi”, seven years ago. The 26-year-old actor came to limelight after the success of her movie “Thoiba Thoibi” (2006).


Here is the excerpt of the interview…..

Name:   Sonia Elangbam

Stage Name:  Abenao

Date of Birth:  Sept 28, 1986

Height:           5’3″

Education qualification: MA Adult Education, Manipur University

Favorite Color:  Red

Favorite Dress:  Jeans, Phanek

Favorite dish: Manipuri Cuisine – Utti, Chagem Pomba, Eromba

Place:  Cold and Calm

Hobby:  Cooking

Movie: “Papagi Cycle”

Book/Author: “Bor Saheb Ongbi Sanatombi”, by MK Binodini

First solo debut: “Naosum”

Cosmetics brands: Sun Ban (Sunscreen lotion) & Nail polish from Oriflme


Abenao: Sonia Elangbam - A screenshot from award winning movie-Fijigee Mani: Courtesy : Youtube
Abenao: Sonia Elangbam – A screenshot from award winning movie-Fijigee Mani: Courtesy : Youtube

Q(W Rorrkychand Singh). How many films were done in a year?

A(Abenao). “You know! I am very choosy when comes the part of acting and film, though I amkopen to all types of genre, always a convincing script and strong story line is an obligation for me. So, in a year around 10 movies were done.”


Q(W Rorrkychand Singh). As a Manipuri woman, how do you see the changing trends of fashion among youth?

A(Abenao). “It’s one of the most intrigue topic today, but in my view no one could not obstruct the transition of culture from one society to another, however, the problem in our society is that we only see the negative sides.”


Q(W Rorrkychand Singh). Do you think that Manipuri culture is diminishing  day by day?

A(Abenao). “No! Our culture is active and it will be forever. We have our own pattern and styles like any other society. How can a society simply ignore its culture and adopt others. Let me ask a question, on the day of Cheiraoba have you ever seen any married woman goes to their parental house without sporting Multani Mitti (Fuller’s Earth), and donning shorts? Take the case of marriage; if one goes on casual attire, I am pretty sure that he/she would be a persona- non grata. Considering the nature of a few, we could not say, our culture is dying.”


Q(W Rorrkychand Singh). Your experience from “Chingjaogum Lepliba Thamoi” to your latest flick “Sakhenbi Eteima”

A(Abenao). “Its an amalgam of joy and wretched, as the industry does not have a studio and most of the films were centered around the lives of the native people, shooting were mainly done at the roadsides or hillside, and even sometimes in someone’s bedroom. Luckily, a good number of the people acknowledge us and receives well in most of the locations, however its also there some who simply react to us, “leirak khullak ki film hek namladana”.


Q(W Rorrkychand Singh). The grapevine is that the morals of Manipuri film actors are lousy, how do you observe?

A(Abenao). “We are also human being not different from others, and they (common people) are also not different from us, the only difference is that we appear on screen and its being our weak point where we became their central point. Its nature to talk about us this or that but the reality is different from the view.”


Q(W Rorrkychand Singh). Do you think that Manipuri film industry is in a state of destitute sans state government’s support?

A(Abenao). “When a sportsperson bring back a gold medal in the national/ international level the government is ready to pour its entire exchequer however, as of now, it’s not the case for artist who are working in our economically deprived film industry. Though, the industry is developing at a rapid pace, the future is simply at stark if the state continues to take no notice of us.”


* This exclusive interview is done by W Rorrkychand Singh for 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here