Stop whining! Manipur has banned all Hindi films, not just Mary Kom
On 5 September, while the entire nation will have the choice to watch Chopra play the boxer's role on celluloid, Manipur won't.
Priyanka Chopra's Mary Kom, Bollywood's tribute to the Olympic medal winning boxer from Manipur, is all set to release all over the country on September 5, but there is one place where the film won't be in theatres: in Kom's home state.
According to a NDTV report, Mary Kom will not going to release in Manipur because since 2000, the state has imposed a ban upon commercial Bollywood releases and no exception will be made for Omung Kumar's biopic. In September 2000, the separatist group Revolutionary Peoples Front, which wants to make Manipur an independent socialist state, banned Hindi films as well as the use of the language Hindi in the state. Since then, no Hindi television shows or Bollywood films are telecast in the state and no Hindi film releases in the state. Mary Kom is not the only film to suffer Manipur's wrath but it might be one with most reason to disapprove of the film, since Kumar chose not to cast a Manipuri actress as Kom.
Much has been said already about the lack of similarity between the actress and the athlete she is playing onscreen. The lack of similarity isn't limited to the fact that Chopra is taller, less muscular and more curvaceous than Kom. It's a side effect of the Indian population being home to one of the widest gene pools in the world.
While Chopra's genes connect her to the ancestral North Indian group, Kom, a Manipuri, has Central Asian features. This is why Sanjay Leela Bhansali has foreign make up artists and a special effects team. The hope is that these two will do what genetics makes impossible: give Chopra a flat nose and epicanthic folds over her eyelids.
A number of reasons have been offered justifying the decision to not cast an actor from the North East as Kom and instead have a prosthetic-aided Chopra play the Indian boxer (read why those reasons don't hold water here), however, it seems that the Manipuris aren't buying them.
Kom, on her part is trying very hard so that her biopic is released in Manipur. The athlete told MidDay, "We are trying very hard for this to happen, but the movies' association and underground groups should allow it. It looks difficult but we will speak to the government about the same."
However, it is not just the ban that is posing a threat to Mary Kom's release in Manipur. Reportedly, the localities are not very happy that Priyanka Chopra is playing the role of Kom.
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