Shumang Kumhei

Shumang Kumhei (Meitei: /sū.máŋ kūm-hə́i/), also known as Shumang Leela (Meitei for 'Courtyard Play'), is a Meitei traditional form of theatre, usually performed in Manipur, North East India.[1] The theatre is arranged in the form of open air from four sides. The roles are all played by male actors, some dressed as beautiful ladies.[2] The role of male characters are played by female artists in case of female theatre groups.[3] This traditional theatre form was prevalent since the time of monarchical rule in Manipur.[4] But the proper form of Shumang Leela had its inception in 1895 A.D.

Shumang Kumhei
(Meitei: /sū.máŋ kūm-hə́i/)
Meitei and Latin transliterations of the terms "Sū-māng Kūm-hei" (Shumang Kumhei) and "Sū-māng Lī-lā" (Shumang Leela).jpg
Meitei and Latin transliterations of the terms "Sū-māng Kūm-hei" (Shumang Kumhei) and "Sū-māng Lī-lā" (Shumang Leela)
Place premieredManipur and other Northeast Indian states
Original languageMeitei (officially called Manipuri)

The present day Shumang Leelas address the issues of moral values, unity and integrity. The fostering of bonds of brotherhood and friendship among various communities in the State is also promoted by the theatre.[5][3]

In 2017, Shougrakpam Hemanta was conferred with the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in recognition of his contribution in Shumang Leela.[6] With this, he became the first person to receive the award for this art form.


An annual event, Shumang Leela Day, commemorates the art form.[7] The Iboyaima Shumang Leela Lifetime Achievement Award is presented on this day.[8]

Notable artistsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Seram, Neken Singh. "Manipuri Shumang Lila: Best social folk medium – KanglaOnline".
  2. ^ "Shumang Leela is the most vibrant performing art form: Joykumar • Pothashang". December 10, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Shumang Leela, the traditional form of theatre celebrated in All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival 2021-2022 in Imphal". Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  4. ^ Rajmani Ayekpam. "SHUMANG LEELA, THE HOTTEST CURRY FOR MANIPURIS". Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  5. ^ "CM notes Shumang Kumhei role in shaping public opinion". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  6. ^ "President of India to confer Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the Year 2017".
  7. ^ PB7, Team (March 4, 2014). "Shumang leela, the Courtyard theatre of Manipur".
  8. ^ "Theater Of Manipur".

External linksEdit