About the film
Bloody Phanek is a documentary film on phanek, an exclusive cloth similar to a sarong, which is worn by Manipuri women in northeastern India bordering Burma. The film blends the personal and the political. It starts from a personal impression that began from the earliest memories of the filmmaker’s life. Bloody Phanek aims to discover how women use phanek as a medium of protest, while it explores the concept of impurity and how this attire challenges masculinity.
Phanek is an exclusive wear of Manipuri women. It is a mark of identity, which serves more than the purpose of simple clothing. This cloth also carries an infinite symbolism revolving around both sexes. For instance, when people leave home, they carry a piece of their mothers’ phanek, using it as a token of protection and well-being. As it exists in other societies, this attire for women has a unique global appeal with its beauty; and similar to other cultures, socio-cultural norms dictate how women wear a phanek.
Women used to wear only certain phanek with different draping styles, depending on occasions or occupations. In olden days, kings would wear shirts made of phanek when they go to a battle with the belief that they would return victorious! Customarily, men are forbidden to touch a woman’s phanek. In Manipur, women have always been at the forefront in any social and political issue. Phanek is significant, again, from how they use it for such symbolic purposes like blocking roads.
Bloody Phanek aims to discover how women use phanek as a medium of protest, while it explores the concept of impurity and how this attire challenges masculinity.
A post-graduate in mass communication from the AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, Sonia Nepram has been working on various media and audio-visual projects and has also set up a production house called Yelhoumee Pictures. Sonia aims to make films that have sociopolitical relevance. She believes in building a network of filmmakers and innovative artists at the global level for exchanging ideas and collaboration.