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Maung Thura - comedian, people. A documentary.
Zarganar " Maung Thura is a beloved Burmese comic, movie star and movie producer, as well as a sharp reviewer and often burmese army regime politician. Famous for his pointed wordplay against the army jungle, Zarganar, whose name is translated as "tweezers", is regarded as the most beloved humorist and Satire in Myanmar.
His first successes came during his student days when he performed at Yangon University under his pseudonym Zarganar showing live shows of Yangon comedies. Tsarganar became a well-known name when his company began to appear on Burmese TV in programs of someeint shows (traditional Burmese theatre). At the end of his degree he went on scene on a full-time basis.
PeopIlS were lined to his gaudevillian programs stuffed with apparently blameless stupid jokes among entertainers, not only because they were acridly funny, but also because they wisely emphasized the faults of governmen. Humorously competing against censorship, his shows aroused great interest among Burmese of all colours and lured new generation of supporters to the shows.
Although he has not invented the arts of pun and dual duck, long part of Burmese tradition, he has revived and refined them. Zarganar was imprisoned as an "instigator" during the insurrection and imprisoned for one year in the infamous Insein jail. In the 1990 election, he was again imprisoned for speaking politically and imprisoned for another four years.
Zarganar was not permitted to stand on scene after his liberation in 1994, but to take part in videos as a production manager, writer, scriptwriter and performer. But his work was carefully scrutinised by censorship and army secret services in a cat-and-mouse match in which Zarganar and his audience enjoyed evading the state.
Zarganar came into conflict with the government in 1997 for his film Lun and was banished from showbiz for another three years. In 2000 he was permitted to make movies (but still no comedies or theatre performances). Zarganar was banished from showbiz again in May 2006 for an indefinite period after an audio briefing with the BBC.
Zarganar was detained in September 2007 for participating in government outcry. For the last two nights, together with Burmese prominent Kyaw Thu, he had provided public meals and drinking to Buddhist friars in preparation to stage an uprising. Shortly after Hurricane Nargis struck large parts of the Irrawaddy River Basin in early May 2008, Zarganar organised a group of 400 Burmese entertainment workers to help voluntarily in the areas hit by the hurricane.
On June 4, he was imprisoned for talking to international newspapers about the million unemployed. And Amnesty International referred to him as a conscientious detainee and demanded his immediate free. He was given 59 years in jail in November 2008 and later shortened to 35 years.
Zarganar was sent to Myitkyina prison in Kachin State in the far northern part of the county in December 2008, from which he was liberated in a massive military pardon of former convicts on 11 October 2011. He has since stood up for the Burmese people's right, traveled the world, met with Burmese overseas affairs and supported the process of democratic change, while Myanmar is taking its first step towards a democratic state.
He has won a number of prizes, such as the Freedom to Create Prize for Inprisoned Artists, the One Humanity Award from PEN Canada and the first PEN/Pinter Prize as international author of Mut. Tsarganar has been active in the movie business for many years. From 1985 to 1988 he played the leading role in four feature length and eight videofilms.
From 2001 he took on support parts in his films. He made three brief video and one movie in 2004 with the help of a number of NGOs to raise HIV and AIDS consciousness in the state. The Zarganar was shown in This Prison Where I Liv, a feature length feature by UK based director Rex Bloomstein and Germany based comic Michael Mittermeier, who went to Burma in secret to shoot the soundtrack.