By Wahengbam Rorrkychand
In a surprise to all her fans, Leishangthem Tonthoingambi Devi, who won the national award in supporting roles in ‘Phijigi Mani’ (2011) revealed to www.kanglaonline.com that her obstinacy made led her to stardom.
“My parent’s aspiration is to make all of us educated and settled independently. On contrary of it, since childhood, I have a strong passion for art & culture and participate in most of competitions in school. Against all her (Leibaklei Devi) wishes and aspiration stealthily did a dance diploma course at J N Manipur Dance Academy, Imphal. Later, participated at DAWN Actor Actress competition -2006 and it paved my way to stardom,” said Tonthoi.
While, she was in her sister’s home at New Checkon for her B Com at DM College of Commerce, Imphal one of her brothers, Homendro informed about the competition. However, she was not able to decide anticipating the possible chides from her parents. But, she managed to talked with her father (L Ibungomacha Singh) about the competition and seek some guidance. Luckily, Ibungomacha, who is also a singer and an art lover readily agreed and she led to stardom by winning the most coveted title, which is supposed to be a gateway to Manipur Film industry.
When asked if she had undergone any sort of acting classes before venturing into the industry, she quipped, “Not really,” after DAWN, filmmaker Bishwamitra approached me for a project, but that could perform well at box office. It was her pledge at that time to make a herself through about the art of acting and filming.
One of the most alluring qualities of Tonthoi is- “simplicity.” “It is one of my inseparable characters and probably an attribute that I always wanted to be with me,” she said.
Regarding the morale among the film fraternities, she remarked that it is common to blame women for all bad accounts in our society. However, time has changed and people are supporting Manipur film industry and people who are working in it. “We should always bear in mind that real life and filmy world could not go altogether; both are separate entities. It will be wrong to judge the character of an actor through his/her on-screen portrayal”.
She had done more than 13 films and some of them are trendsetters but her contentment is on the artistic values and the particular characters that she essayed in the movie.
“Success of a film is entirely depends on the dedication and efforts made by the entire crewmembers. Performances of the artistes and proper synchronization of the whole works is important to make it a success, she observed.
Unlike some of the actors who say, ‘ok to all projects’, for the actor signing a project is a process. First, a thorough review of the script, looking into the versatility of the character; secondly, how much she can contribute in it and how much she has to work on it all these considerations are pivotal for Tonthoi to okayed a project.”
During the interview, Tonthoi also informed that she received some offers from other Indian film industries but due to present restrictions imposed by underground elements on Manipuri actors regarding dress code and appearance in Hindi films/ Tele-films, she need some time to make it official.
Regarding the working condition of artistes, infrastructure, technology, budget and fees in Manipuri film industry, she said, “We are deprived of better infrastructure, budget, market and technologies. However, the industry is able to sustain as the actors are dedicated and enjoyed the “aesthetic value of arts.”
During the interaction, she appealed to all the aspirants especially new comers to venture into the industry after knowing what is acting.
Interestingly, after her breathtaking performances in supernatural movies like ‘Thoicha’ and ‘Sakhenba Bhoot’ even some of children from her locality used call as Nene (aunty) Thoicha.
It’s worth to mention that Tonthoi is a multi-faceted personality; who acts, a multi-linguist, (Manipuri, English, Hindi, Kuki, Burmese), double graduate (B Com and Hindi), a percussionist (Pena) and a sportsperson.
“Since childhood, I always accompanied my brothers when they go out for playing football and other sports. While, I was in DM College once I have participated in many the inter university women football tournament in Kolkata representing Manipur University. Besides, after my dance class at J N Manipur Dance Academy I learned how to play our indigenous musical instrument Pena and I enjoyed playing it,” she revealed.
More photos below: