Actor Soma Laishram from Manipur has come under fire for entering a beauty pageant despite a plea to shun such occasions in light of the ongoing conflict in the Northeastern state. An Imphal-based civil society group that had originally called for a boycott has now argued that Ms. Laishram should be handed a three-year film industry ban.
Ms. Laishram, who has won numerous prizes and appeared in over 150 Manipuri films, stole the show at a beauty competition at the North East Students’ Festival on Saturday in New Delhi.
An important civil society organisation in the state, Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL), reported that it had spoken with the Film Actors Guild Manipur to ask the actress not to compete in the pageant. Despite a broad plea to celebrities and specific instructions given to her, the organisation claimed that Ms. Laishram nonetheless showed up to the event.
The actress defended her decision to represent Manipur in the competition after the action shocked the Manipur film community. According to Ms. Laishram, she used her platform to discuss the extraordinary unrest in Manipur and made a plea for calm and normalcy in the violent state.
“As an actor and a social influencer, it is my duty to inform the public about the problem in Manipur, which is why I picked this platform. A non-profit group staged the festival in the northeast where I took part. It is not a fashion show or beauty pageant put on for entertainment or a get-together. Every northeastern state was represented at this cultural event by one of its well-known individuals. It so happened to be myself, a Manipur native. I was welcomed, they said. In a video statement, she stated, “I didn’t want to miss the occasion.
The state’s governing organisation for all film groups, the Film Forum Manipur (FFM), has denounced the civil body’s decision and vowed to fight to have Ms. Laishram’s proposed ban overturned.