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Bala Hijam is an Indian film actress and a native of Imphal, Manipur, India. After an early debut in Manipuri films when she was in school, she acquired pan-Indian success in 2013.
Surjabala Hijam is the only pan-Indian film star in the history of Indian cinema, having played the female lead in films from places as far apart as Manipur, Kerala and the Hindi-Urdu belt.
The actress was born Surjabala Hijam to Hijam Biramangol and Hijam Suniti Devi.
Her mother is, in Bala's words, ‘a simple housewife.' As for her father, he runs a small business of his own. They are four brothers and sisters. she has an elder sister, a younger sister and a younger brother. she's the second eldest amongst her siblings. (From Ratankumar Ningthouja e-pao)
Childhood and early career
She was born in 1991 in Sagolband Salam Leikai, Imphal West, Imphal, Manipur, India
Bala made her film debut in Oken Amakcham's Telanga Mamei a Manipuri film as supporting actress. Being interested in dancing and acting since her childhood, Bala came into the limelight of the Manipuri film industry with the help of her uncle Irom Maipak.
How she got into the films
(Adapted from interviews given by Bala)
It was her Kaka (uncle) Irom Maipak (cinematographer) who gave her an opportunity to act in front of camera. She was in the 7th standard then. She was offered a role of a girl appearing as the younger sister of Olen (co-actor) in the film called "Telanga Mamei".
Later she appeared on an advertisement for Manikumar Jewelry followed by participating in a modeling competition and gradually went on to take up acting in films.
After Tellanga Mamei , she took part in various Stage performances. It was when she was about to appear for Matric Exam she appeared in the film “Khangdrae da Nongdamba” by Romi Meitei. She took the role of a supporting actress in the film. Then she acted in 3 or 4 video album directed by Amar Raj narrated the young and dynamic superstar of Manipur Hijam Bala.
She has never taken any acting classes. Kaka Irom Maipak taught her how to pose in front camera in different angles and to act. At the same time, she also got tips from Da Romi Meitei (Director), Cinematographer Kaka RadhaMohon, Da Yaima (Yaimayai), Oja Birjit Ngangom and other elders in the Industry.
After two years of struggle she started taking the lead role. ManipurTimes 19 July 2013
She normally asks for 25,000 rupees for a film but sometimes she does not take the whole amount.
She signs about two film in a month or sometimes, if necessary, three. (From Ratankumar Ningthouja e-pao)
Readers/ representatives of Bala Hijam might like to copy the filmography below, add more films, correct spelling, and above all, add the year of each film’s release after its name. The updated version may be sent back to us on Facebook
By mid 2013, Bala had appeared in 30 films and 8 music albums including the hit album Ho leisabi
Telanga Mamei (Director : Oken Amakcham),
Khangdreda Nongdamba (directed by Romi Meitei)
Panthungi Wangmada, , a hit
School Karusi,, a hit
Manipur Express (Director : O Goutam) , a hit
Yaiskul Pakhang Angaoba ( Director : Homen d Wai ) , a hit
Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi Dir: Sameer Thahir
Tamoyai gi Ebecha by H. Pilu
Mounao Thoibi by Romi Meitei
Lingjel by Jitendra Ningombam
Chow Chow Momo na Haobara Singju Bora na Oinambra director Rk Jiten
Tumba Chaba Khangdana Director Ojit Kumar Elangbam
23rd Century:Ngasigee Matungda
Angangba Mayek (Pizza 2)
Kum Kang Kum Kabi Chang
Itao Ibungo Nungsibee
Selfie (nang ei)
Years not known
Abirkhan (d: Pilu)
Hangningee Thamoisina (d: I. Somni)
Hiktharaba Samji (PIZZA)
Ichagidamak (d: Jaher-Uddin),
Imagi Laman Singamdrae (directed by Romi Meitei) , a hit
Khambaton (d: Homeshor),, a hit
Lamja shara , a hit
Luhongbagi Ahing ( Director: Brijgupta Laishram) , a hit
Mihatpa (d: Kishorjit),
Mikithi ( Director : Romi Meitei)
Nongmadi Soidana (d: I. Somni)
Sanarembi (d: Pilu).
Taru Taru Maktabi,, a hit
Singarei gi Leinam by Shanta Potsangbam
Zindagi on the Rocks
A pan-Indian star
Bala Hijam is not the first crossover star from the North East. Apart from Assamese talents, Cyndy Khojol (see North-Eastern cinema) and Lin Laishram preceded her. However, Bala is only one to have landed leading roles outside the NE--and in as many as two Indian languages.
Her first south Indian film Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi starring Dulquer Salman & Sunny Wayne is Directed by :Sameer C Thahir was released in august 2013
Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi is a soul searching road movie, which explores politics, religion and identity through a graceful love story. The highly-talked about film revolves around the story of two youngsters, who put together a trip from Kerala to Nagaland travelling on bikes. Dulquar Salman and Sunny Wayne are playing two youngsters in Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi. Kasi (Dulquer Salman) and his best friend Suni (Sunny Wayne) go on a road journey in an effort to trace out the Kasi's Naga lover Assi (Surja Bala)
Surja Bala Hijam essays the role of Assi, an engineering student from Nagaland in the film. She joins an engineering college in Kerala under North East quota. During her studies, she meets Dulquar and becomes friend with him. Their friendship later turns into romance. (By Shekhar OneIndia May 28, 2013)
However, they are forced to part ways as their cultural identities come in-between.
The Director sent her the script in English language through mail. They ‘Skyped’ on characters and costume. When she reached the shooting site she was trained for 5 days discussing on the script, she spoke mostly in English and sometimes she spoke Malayalam in the film.
As the first north-east girl to debut in Malayalam, Bala says she was more than excited when the offer came in. “Kerala was an absolute surprise package. Everything felt exotic, right from the language to food and clothes. At first she was not able to eat anything as coconut oil goes into almost every dish in Kerala. Coming from a land of mustard oil users she was totally uncomfortable with the local flavours. But now she can polish off plates of food with that typical coconuty taste,” says the actress who stayed in Kerala for a 20-day shoot.
The actress adds. “When the contract came she didn’t know Dulquer was the son of a superstar.”
“Of course she was a bit nervous about the language part. But her character has very few Malayalam lines, the rest of the dialogues are in English. [Directr Samir Tahir] had briefed her well about her character and so there was no confusion. During her stay in Kerla she picked up a couple of words but she can’t remember any now.” (Navamy Sudhish NewIndianExpress 2013/07/16)
Response to NPCB
Malayala Manorama , for decades India's highest circulated newspaper, declared about Surja, in a headline, 'Bala creates history.'
DilSe wrote: 'Surja Bala Hijam is a well known Manipuri actress, who has done a decent job'
The film did above-average business at the box office. Collections were decent, but because the film was an expensive one profits were not very high.
Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi had a good opening week of Rs 2.86 Crore from 53 theatres in Kerala. The cost of production is reported as Rs 5.5 Crore, a bit on the higher side [for a Malayalam film] considering the release count.
By the third weekend the gross was Rs 4.62 Crore and the total distributor share had crossed the Rs 2 Crore mark. BoxOfficeVerdicts writes, "The BO performance is appluadible for road movie, but the reasonably high cost of production may [deprive] it of a clean HIT status. But NPCB shows that even experimental ventures can break even in Mollywood , if made well."
Bala made her Bollywood debut in Directed By Ravindra Suryavanshi forthcoming Film Zindagi on the Rocks which was to have been released in 2014.
She has a leading role in the Hindi film. The film is about adventure where 7 friends set out for trekking after college. 80 percent of the shooting took place in Manali, 20 percent in Mumbai. The director is new and the depiction of the film is about certain happenings during the trekking.
Zindagi on the Rocks
Zindagi on the Rocks was 70 per cent complete by the end of November 2013. Some songs needed to be shot and the film was expected to be completed by April 2014.
The film has been shot substantially in Himachal Pradesh, including in places like the barren, oxygen-starved, arctic deserts surrounding Lake Chandrataal (4,300 metres/ 14,100 ft), where no feature film has ever been shot. Chandrataal in Spiti district is almost 4,000 ft above the treeline. As a result atmospheric oxygen is low. The filmmakers had wisely taken several cylinders of oxygen along, because Bala passed out more than once and had to be administered oxygen. Zindagi has a romantic duet by the banks of the lake.
Bala speaks Hindi with a slight Manipuri accent. Instead of dubbing her voice, as is sometimes done for actors from outside the Hindi-Urdu belt, the film's makers decided to use her own voice 'because the accent has an innocence and makes her sound cute.'
Chayetpa Tomnao by Sana Lai, Cast: Mahesh,Sushmita,Bala & Artina.
Lemmi Amasung Sorinchon based on a romantic Tangkhul Novel Cast: Kaiku , Bala , Roshan , Suraj , Khayaikhan Shimrey
She won the Special Jury Award 2011 from Film Academy Manipur (FAM).
FAM Best Actress Award (2012 -13).
FAM Best Actress Award (2013 -14).
Best actress at 8th Manipur State Film Festival
Debut as supporting actor: Telanga Mamei.
First film as heroine: Khangdreda Nongdamba.
Bala made her Hindi-Urdu debut in director Ravindra Surya Bashi's forthcoming Film Zindagi on the Rocks.
Address: Sagolband Salam Leikai, Imphal West, Manipur.
Cinemas of the North-East
Assamese cinema: This page has, at the bottom, links to several other articles in Indpaedia.com related to Assamese cinema.
Individual pages about: