Posts Tagged ‘Oriya Cinema’

Mythology Slowly Vanishing from The Menu of Oriya Films

Oriya Mythological Films

Oriya Mythological Films

The society is evolving and so are the media that recount stories. So while greed, sex and crime form the crux of most films in Bollywood, the same is happening back here in the Oriya film industry. Though both Bollywood and Ollywood are poles apart in many ways, it’s not difficult to draw an analogy between both on one ground – the way they have evolved.

Walking down the memory lane one can find the birth of film industry both in Mumbai and back here in Orissa to astoundingly similar story themes – Mythology. Raja Harischandra , the first Indian film directed by the legendary Dada Saheb Phalke had drawn its story line from Mythological anecdotes of Indian Scriptures. Similarly the Oriya Filmdom started its trek towards the celluloid glitz with Sita Bibah , a film based on the popular Indian scripture Ramayana. The film was directed by Mohan Sunder Dev Goswami and released in 1937.

After a streak of mythological and historical films, the Indian Film industry took on to social story lines. The same thing happened down here with the Oriya Film industry. A streak of mythological films formed the crux of most films that were made in Orissa after the launch of the first one.

The second Oriya Film to be launched in Orissa was Lalita in 1949 which was based on the popular Oriya deity Lord Jagannath. Though the film crashed, surprisingly it was another film on the same storyline that went on to create records in Oriya filmdom. Shri Jagannath released in 1950 was, in fact the milestone of Oriya Film industry as it inspired a generation to take film making seriously.

What followed next was a slew of social and formula films. However mythological films kept on coming in between. It was in the year 1962 that mythological films came to fore once again as two films with storylines drawn from Indian scriptures went on to become run away hits. Dasyu Ratnakar and Jaya Deba were both smashing hits and again prompted film makers to explore Mythological Subjects. Sree Sree Patitapabana, another film based on Lord Jagannath was released the next year and was again able to get a favorable response from the audience.

In the seventies, Nitai Palit directed chartbuster  Krushna Sudama which created box-office record. He repeated the success with BandhuMohanty Though, in 1978 another mythological film Sati Anusaya was released, it failed to be a crowd-puller. Sree Krushna Rassalila, Sri  Jagannath. Mathura Bijaya and Nila Madhab were released in 1979.

But, barring Sri Jagannath which created records, rest three films flopped at the box-office. Jaya Ma Mangala hit the theatres next year, but it was more social in nature than mythological. Seeta Laba Kusha, a south Indian movie dubbed in Oriya, released during that period also had very little success. Debajani directed by Byomkesh Tripathy and released in 1981 faced a similar fate.

The mythological films clicked again with Bhakta Salabeg. Directed by Radha Panda in 1983. It created history and broke all previous box-office records whereas Mahasati Savitri released in the same year failed to create an impact. Raja Harishchandra and Basant Rasa, which were also released in 1984 earned moderate success. But in 1993, a remake of Naga Panchami was able to earn a record collection.

After that there has been a decline in the number of mythological films that were made. Though films like Gojabayani released in 1998 were runaway success, these were more of social film that revolved around power of a Local Deity. After a long hiatus Sabyasachi Mohapatra directed Jai Jagannath” was released in 2007. The film had an extraordinarily impressive cast that included Sadhu Meher, Sarat Pujari, Sritam and Jyoti Mishra and was released in 13 languages simultaneously including English and Hindi and was released all over India. Despite the crew and hype that surrounded the film, it could not pull crowds in the theatres. The film wa the last of mythological films to be made in Orissa.

To see the Hindi Film industry in the same lens, one can find that mythological and historical films have already taken a back seat in the Bollywood. Though a slew of them in the formative years got good response from audiences, the last mythological film in true sense was made in the year 1986 . Veer Ekalavya was a low budget film and vanished from theatres even before people could know. Social and Formula film today rules the roost in Bollywood. And it would not be misnomer to say that as on today’s date Ollywood is just a meek follower to what the Bollywood does. Sleaze, sex and crime have become the most preferred subject matters of directors in Ollywood.

Cinema is a powerful mode and wields tremendous influence on people. It can be used to favorably disseminate correct moral among the masses. Orissa in Particular and India in general has a huge repository of mythological stories that can be used to deliver the message among the people. It’s the right time when mythological films are taken in right earnest in film industry.