Archive for the ‘Orissa Film and Entertainment’ Category

Film Societies in Orissa – Past Tense And Future Uncertain

Film Socities of Orissa

Film Socities of Orissa

Way back in 1947, Satyajit ray, then in his twenties did not quite know, he would become a filmmaker. He was however, a passionate film lover, having grown up in a diet of latest American films shown in the theatres of Kolkata. So much was he enamored with films that he along with few likeminded friends started the Calcutta Film Society, with the screening of the iconic Battleship Potemkin by the Russian Master Sergei Eisenstein. The print was obtained from the British Film institute. And thus started the journey of film societies in India!

It was not before two decades, however that something like that happened in Orissa. Noted theatre artist Ananta Mohapatra, who had just finished his studies, was encouraged by Kironmoy Raha,a fim critic and one of the founder members of Calcutta Film Society, to start the Cuttack Film Society.

It started in July 1958, with a package of 10 features, documentaries and short films, procured from the British High Commission and screened at the Barabati Stadium Club House. Later Prabhat Cinema was hired on Sunday mornings for the screenings. This continued for many years. In the mid-sixties, both Mohapatra and Raha shifted out of Cuttack and the film society ceased to exist.

About a decade later, distinguished filmmaker Mr Nirad Mohapatra, who studied and then taught Film direction at the Film and television institute of India ( FTII) in Pune, initiated another film society Cinextasy, in Bhubaneswar in 1974. The initiative in itself was commendable in the absence of devoted volunteers, sufficient funds and suitable hurdles. Nevertheless, things happened. With the support from National Film Archives of India ( NFAI), which had a branch in Kolkata, Cinextasy organized a monthly screenings as well as film festivals of films by Ghaplin,Bergman,Godard and many others. It even provided a film appreciation course at Vani Vihar. The show continued till the early eighties. But the money and effort involved was too much for a handful of film buffs to sustain it.

When attempts to revive it failed, a younger group of film lovers began a new entity – “Inscreen”. It too organized monthly screenings and many  other festivals. The conditions however remained the same. Mukut Chaudhaury, one of its founder members and filmmaker Dilip Patnaik, who lent active support to Inscreen reminiscence the drudgery of bringing the films from Calcutta  – the trains trips in unreserved compartments, saving on the hotel costs by using the archive office toilets for bath in the morning, testing the films and returning by the evening train with the cans and then repeating the onerous procedure heads on to return the films.

Despite all these pains and ordeals, Inscreen too could not sustain beyond a point, though it still exists and organizes the odd festival now and then. It collaborates, for instance, on perhaps the most novel of film festivals, the Bring Your Own Film Festival ( BYOFF ) at Puri every year.

By 2005, it was the dawn of DVD era and thus with time was born the Film Society of Bhubaneswar which organizes the film festivals on DVD. And after seven years, it still holds monthly screenings and organizes at least two festivals every year. One thing that FSB has insisted on is the best technical standards of projection it can afford. Through a quality DVD player and a supreme LCD projector, it ensures that audience always gets the value of what they are spending! And though Soochna Bhawan, where it holds it screenings is a bit expensive, it is the best for the purpose with good acoustics and seating arrangement. And this only at a membership fee of meager Rs 500 per year!

But how long will the FSB survive? And more importantly, does it have any relevance? Why the membership count despite such low fee, not improved? These questions cast an ominous shadow on the sustenance of the society. But till it manages to drag on itself, let’s hope it is able to make some contribution by screening good films!


The post is a reproduction of original work of Mr. Chandidas Mishra that was published in Orissa post  April 1, 2012. We acknowledge our gratitude to the author for the excellent piece of information.

A Sneak Peek Into Odia Film Industry’s Runaway Hits

Shri Lokhnath - First Oriya Film to win National Award

Shri Lokhnath - First Oriya Film to win National Award

It has been over 76 years that Orissa started on into its trek into the celluloid path. What began as a gossamer dream for Mohan Sundar Deb Goswami with “Sita Bibaha” in 1936 has turned into a golden chapter of film making in Orissa. Over the years this has evolved and ossified into being the prime source of entertainment for people in Orissa.

And with it we have seen a heterogeneous vibration of artists conducing enormously towards myriad vistas of filmmaking in Orissa. While Prashanta Nanda, Prafulla Sengupta,  Nitai Palit and Manmohan Patra easily make it to the best from among the select breed of directors in oriya film Industry, actors like Sriram panda, Uttam Mohanty, Jharna Das, Mahasweta Roy and Aparajita have chiseled a supernal place in the heart of oriya cine lovers. Then how can we forget about the contribution of Prashant Nanda as an actor himself? While Akshay Mohanty is easily the most celebrated singer of Oriya Filmdom, there are no comparisons for Pranab Patnnaik, Chitta Das and the melodious Sikander Alam! Their feminine counterpart Nirmala Mishra, Bhubaneswari Mishra , Trupti Das and Anuradha Paudwal were equally mellifluous with their art of voice-lending to songs composed by great music directors like Santanu Mohapatra, Basudeva Rath, Prafulla Kar and Akshay Mohanty himself!

No doubt, the oriya film industry has touched such celestial heights and in the process of presenting us with such a colorful medley and genre of film making that it is next to impossible to single out one particular film that can be taken as a milestone! So let’s make an attempt to take a peek back in the by lanes of time and segregate the films that have defied it’s dictate to remain fresh in the minds of people till date!

Shree Loknath ( 1960)

This was the first Oriya Movie to get a national Award. Directed by Prafulla Sengupta, it was released in the year 1960 and was the 11th Oriya film produced under Rooprang Pvt Ltd. the story is based on a doctor who doesnot believe in the existence of God. The story was based on the essence of theism and socio –fantasy. Not just a national award, the movie earned wide appreciation for power packed performances of various actors.

Malajanha ( 1965)

Malajana - classic oriya Film

Malajana - classic oriya Film

One of the most applauded movies of all times, maala Janha occupies a special place in the history of oriya cinema . The film deals with an unusual theme in seventies in rural India of love between a married woman and a young man.

Directed by Nitai Palit, the film starred Akshay Mohanty (kashyap), Sarat Pujari and Jharana Das. The film dealt with prevailing social issues like superstition,narrow caste prejudice, gender inequality and poverty. The music of the film was compose by Akshay mohanty and the film went on to win the National Film Award and was adjudged the best oriya Film of the year.


Matira Manisha (1966)

This national award wining film was directed by the acclaimed begali Director Mrinal Sen. The film drawn from the equally famed novel written by Kalandi Charan Panigrahi revolves around the life of two brothers with antithetical values and their conflict relating to their inherihed property. The plot explores human relationships employing a wide range of themes that range between Gandhian and Marxist ideology, post war social conditions, agrarian life and traditional family values. The music of the film were composed by Akshay Mohanty and its songs like “Udi gale Gendalia” are still hummed across by people in Orissa.

 Arundhati ( 1967)

A still from Arundhati - Arundhati - Oriya Musical classic

A still from Arundhati - Arundhati - Oriya Musical classic

Santanu Mohapatra’s soulful music coupled with befitting voice renditions by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohmad Rafi, still enchants the Oriya listeners. “Aaji mu Shrabani” and “Mayuri go tuma Akashe” are songs that have lived long in the heart and mind of Oriya public since they were composed. Directed under the accomplished and dexterous hands of  Prafulla Senguptal, the film was flavored with ample doses of Odissi  dances. The plot of the film revolved around the dual identity crises of the lead actor. What lead soothing touch to the film was the classic beauty of Minati Mishra and handsome abandon of Sarat Pujari! Sarat Pujari, in fact remains the best looking male actor in Oriya cinema to date – classy as Balraj Sahani and cool as Clark Gabriel! Director Prafulla Sengupta went on to pick his third best Odia Film national award for the film.

Sesha Shrabana ( 1976)

Sesha Shrabana - The only oriya movie to be remade in Hindi

Sesha Shrabana - The only oriya movie to be remade in Hindi

Directed by Prashant Nanda  who himself played the lead role in the film, Sesha Shrabana is  noted for its superb screenplay and soul lifting music. The film also saw the debut of noted Oriya actress Mahasweta Ray. A great box office hit, the film is also the only oriya film to have been remade into Hindi. Its hindi version “Naiya” incidentally was directed by Prashant Nanda himself who alongside Zareena Wahab played the part of the lead actors in it.

Chha Mana Aatha Guntha ( 1986)

The movie based on the massively popular novel that run on the same name and was written by Fakir Mohan Senapati, was released in the year 1986.  Directed by Parvati Ghosh, it was rarest of the creed of all Indian cinemas that depicted the exploitation of landless peasants by feudal lords during the colonial rule.  The well directed movie was a runaway hit and still remains one of the cherished movies in the history of oriya filmdom.

I Love you ( 2004)

A romatic flick of recent times, I love you is acclaimed as the Sholay of oriya cinema. The movie completed 100 days of non stop screening at theatres in Bargarh,Sambalpur and Rourkela. Directed by Sanjay Nayak, the movie went on to become one of the most celebrated and successful movies of Oriya film industry!

Oriya Actress Anu Choudhary makes an entry into Bollywood through Hindi movie NIRVANA13

Oriya Actress Anu Chaudhury In Hindi Movie Nirvana 13

Oriya Actress Anu Chaudhury In Hindi Movie Nirvana 13

The poster girl of Orissa Film Industry Anu Chaudhury is all set to sizzle the Bollywood silver screen. She makes her debut in the Bollywood with the soon to be released movie NIRVANA13.

The offbeat movie which has been written, directed and produced by Jitin Rawat casts the popular oriya actress in the role of a nurse who is in search of relief from her agony. In the process she meets a man who is wishing for the same. The two have a conversation about their struggle with morality, helplessness and their constant quest for a way out. Their dichotomy provokes different perspectives of pragmatic and spiritual aspects of life and death.

The ultimate question of life and death form the crux of the film which is a psychological thriller. The film features Sandeep Kulkarni, Bhuvensh Shetty   and    P.P.Bajaj.

For wallapapers of Anu Chudhury, please follow this link :

Kasmira Shah Performs In An Oriya Item Song

Oriya Film - Kie Se Dakuchi Kouthi Mote

Oriya Film - Kie Se Dakuchi Kouthi Mote

The celluloid screen of Orissa is going to dazzle with a steamy number performed by the popular Indian actress Kashmira Shah. The actress who is well known for her performance in film like “Jungle” and “Yes Boss” has done an item song for the upcoming oriya movie “Kie Se Daakuchi Kouthi Mote”.

The song “Kanta Laagi Chiri gala Lo Chunuri Ghagara” has already scored high points among the people and is one of the most popular songs from the film.Produced by Manjari Movies of Eastern Media Limited, the film has an impressive starcast of heavyweight ollywood superstars like Anubhav Mohanty and Barsha Priyadarshani.

Kashmira will be seen in a jazzy getup, dancing to the tune of front-ranking music director Malaya Mishra. She will be dancing with dashing Anubhab Mohanty. Famous Ollywood singer Ira Mohanty has lent her voice for the item number ‘Kanta lagi chiri gala lo chunira ghagara’. Odia cine lovers are waiting to enjoy her performance in the upcoming movie.

Celebrating The 75 years of Oriya Cinema

Sita Bibaha - First Oriya Film

Sita Bibaha - First Oriya Film

What a way to evolve for Orissa cinema? From touring amphitheaters to large halls that accommodate hundreds; from mythological scripts to urban fantasies; from low budget investments to films running into crores; from an average of one to three films to an average of 15-20 films a year – clearly the journey so far for the Oriya film industry has not only been tremendous but also spectacular.

Long back, in the 1934, a pious man of Puri Mohan Sundar Dev Goswami fist mooted the idea of producing in Oriya Film. Then Orissa lacked the basic infrastructural facilities for the production of film. Neither a good director was available nor was there a well equipped studio. The man with stone grit decides to scribe his own script based on the drama written by Kampal Mishra and with help of Priyanath Ganguli of Kolkatta produced the first Oriya film “Sita Bibaha” which was released in the year 1936, April 28 at laxmi Takies Puri.

The film was a culmination of unflinching faith of Mohan Sundar Dev Goswami who struggled with phenomenal odds to give Orissa a new identity in celluloid form. Oriya films thus did not have a tryst with silent movies. The path was set for talkie films. Produced with an investment of only Rs 30,000, the film had 14 song sequences. The 12-reeled film had in its cast line Makhanlal Banerjee (Ram) who received only Rs 120 for his performance, Aditya Ballav Mohanty (Lakhsman) who got only Rs 35 as conveyance allowance and Prabhabati Devi (Sita) who was paid the highest amount of Rs 150. Despite it being the first Oriya film with several drawbacks in every section of its making, the two-hour-long movie generated great enthusiasm among the people.

However the lack of theaters that could display the films to a greater mass of people meant that the film was a commercial failure. And this put a brake on other financers to put their money into film making in Oriya language. The situation continued for the next thirteen years as no other film was ever made in Oriya till 1948.

Prashant Nanda - Oriya Actor

Prashant Nanda - Oriya Actor

Rupa Bharti Ltd, a public limited company was then mooted to produce films in Oriya. The first public limited company in entertainment business in India was thus born in Orissa and provided a solution to the problem of finance by collecting Rs 10 to Rs 100 from general public. The same year another production house waslaunched in Orissa. Named Eastern movies tone Pvt. Ltd, the company presented Orissa with its second movie “Lalita” in 1949. The following year ‘Rupa Bharati Ltd. Company’ after successfully raising capital from the market, produced “Sri Jagannath” – a film based on an episode from Hindu mythology. The film released in 1950 was massively successful and was remade in telugu to be relaunched in Andhra Pradesh where it again went in to make big money

Stage was thus set for Oriya film industry to take a quantum leap from here, The 1951 production ‘Roles to Eight’ was the first Oriya film having an English name. This was the fourth Oriya film and was produced by Ratikanta Padhi. The pace of oriya films was very slow till then but the art of making movies had been learnt by Oriyas.

Jharana Das _ Oriya Actress of The Yore

Jharana Das _ Oriya Actress of The Yore

It was the year 1960 that Oriya film making got its major recognition in national circles as Sri Lokenath became the first Oriya film to get a national award. The film directed by Prafulla Sengupta was just the 11th film to have been produced by the Oriya film industry. The same year, Prasantha Nanda wan National Award as best actor for the film Nau Bau. The iconic film personality who would later leave an indelible impression on the Oriya filmdom had just made a debut as an actor with this film.

The name of Prasanta Nanda would always come while dealing with Oriya films. He was present in Oriya films since 1939, but he became super active only after 1976. Nanda served Oriya filmdom as an actor, director, screenplay writer, and lyricist and even as a playback singer. Such a versatile genius is quite rare in Indian cinema history. Prashant Nanda alone carried Oriya films into the national honor list by winning National Awards for three times in 1960, 1966 and 1969 for his acting in Nua Bou, Matir Manisha and Adina Megha.

Oriya films, especially in 1960s and in 1970s, were highly indebted to Bengali films. Several Bengali directors help their Oriya counterparts to help make films. Eminent director Mrinal Sen even directed an Oriya film Matir Manisha which won National Award for best actor. Prashanta Nanda was the winner.

The Oriya film industry kept growing exponentially in the 1970’s especially after the runway hit, ‘Mamata’ (1975) directed by Bymokesh Tripathy . Though a number of Oriya film were produced no attempt was made to provide the basic amenities to the producers in the state, this inadequacy stood as a major hurdle for producing more films in Oriya language. Consequently the Orissa Film Development Corporation Ltd. was established in the year 1976 as a nodal agency for implementing the state policies with a view to promoting the growth of film industries in Orissa. In seventies Oriya Cinema gave birth to its first colour film “Gapa Helebi Sata” (1976) though ‘Samaya’ (1975) was partially coloured). During the mid seventies, Oriya Cinema lost its direction, films were made with the sole intension of doubling the investments, irrespective of quality. This lead to deterioration of Oriya Cinema,where culture value were thrown the winds, and box office culture of the cheap hindi commercial cinema was imported. Plagiarism become the order of the day. Big budget films came to be made and the decline quality set in.

Mahasweta Ray  - Oriya Actress

Mahasweta Ray - Oriya Actress

During the eighties, a total of 119 films were produced on an average of 12 films were made. Most important event of the Oriya film industry in eighties is arrival of three directors of the “Parallel Cinema” and they have brought the Oriya film industry a fair glory. They were Nirod Mohapatra, Manmohan Mohapatra and Sagir Ahamed all from Pune Film and Television Institute. Nirod Mohapatra’s Maya Miriga in 1984 was mile stone in the history of Oriya Cinema.Shagir Ahamed ‘Dhare Allua’ was selected for Indian panorama in 1984 along with ‘Maya Miriga’. On the other hand Manmohan Mohapatra laid the foundation stone of new wave cinema in Orissa in 1982 making his 1st film ‘Seeta Rati’.

Though the Oriya film industry has grown vigorously since the 1990 and the 2000’s, the genre of film making has declined. Of late, Bollywood seem to havegreatly influenced Oriya movies in form and content. Though number of films being released in Orissa has kept growing in numbers, commercialism defines the intent now. But as has always been said that with every cloud there is also a silver lining, it has also meant that Orissa film industry is today exploring avenues that it had never done earlier.

Going outdoors has become frequent even for a few scenes.Wearing beautiful costumes and designer labels and sprinkling the film with beautiful locales has just become the order of the day. A latest release “Mote Bahu Kari Nei Jaa” in fact became the first film in Oriya to have been completely shot in a foreign locale. The viewership has also grown in proportion. Proliferation of television channels and Cds has only aided the rising popularity of Oriya filmdom.

The Oriya film industry on its sojourn to glory has spawned a line of stars who have left indelible impression on the oriya film industry. While Sriram Panda, Prashant Nanda and Uttam Mohanty, as lead actors, and Dukhiram Swain, Bijay Mohanty and Hara Pattnai as villains were uncontested in their respective roles; Jharana Das, Mahasweta and Aparajita were the unchallenged heroines of the classic era.

Today Sidhhanta Mahapatra and now Anubhavhave claimed extraordinary success as lead male pairs. Other actors on reckoning today are Sabyasachi, Buddhaditya, Aakash, Arindam, Archita and Barsha Priyadarshini who have kept on giving regular hitsto Oriya film industry.

Oriya Girl Ankita Mohapatra Makes Bollywood Debut

Ankita Mohapatra, the 23-year old lissome beauty from Orissa who won the Gladrags Mega Model contest a year earlier has silently made her way into the Bollywood by signing for a film with producer Sajid Nadiadwala.

Oriya Girl Ankita Mohapatra Makes Bollywood Debut

Oriya Girl Ankita Mohapatra Makes Bollywood Debut

The Model who recently made it to the final five of the Miss India Pageant confirmed having signed for the film.”I am excited about making my debut with such a big offer “the actress says.Though Ankita has no formal trainings in acting,she is confident about giving her best.

Daughter of Bhubaneswar based Dr Saudamini Mohapatra and Sangram Mohapatra, Ankita has been bright student throughout her school and college career. A B.Tech engineer in Electronics and Tele communication from Silicon Institute of technology, Ankita had no qualms in shunning job offers in IT multi-nationals to opt for a career in Modeling. After Coming to Limelight by winning the Gladrags Megamodel 2009, Ankita Mahapatra featured in cover of Sunday Indian magazine and Gladrags. Apart from this, Ankita Mahapatra also won Miss India East 2011.

An ardent fan of Hritik roshan, the Model nurses a desire to work with him some day.”I really wish to work with him in the future,”Ankita says. The young beauty also nurtures a dream to work in Oriya movies and contribute towards the growth of Oriya film Industry.