“I had never hoped that Malajanha shall smile back someday. It was the first film of my life. I was just 18 then. Nearly half a century later, when I am in the twilight years of my life today, lots of memories flash back. And Malajanha continues to be the sweetest of all these memories”. As celebrated actress Jharana Das – the lead actress of the fabulous film - joined the special celebration at the IDCOL auditorium as a special guest for the screening of Malajanha on Sunday, she had tears of joy and ecstasy.
Like Jharana, legendary singer Pranab Patnaik was choked in emotions. “I had never hoped that I would be able to watch this film and hear its songs that I had sung”, he stated when he was honoured along with the film’s director Nitai Palit’s wife Bina; producer- music director-background singer Akshaya Mohanty’s wife Prabina; lyricist Binodini Debi, Malajanha-writer Upendra Kishore Das’ daughter Jasodhara and copyright holder Mahendra Mishra on the occasion that was the launch of the Film Journalists’ Forum (FJF) of Orissa.
“FJF was launched coinciding with the celebration of the 75 years of Oriya cinema. The media has a major role in promoting a healthy cinema-culture and FJF is committed towards this mission besides working towards preservation and promotion of the legacy of Oriya cinema,” explained Forum’s founder-secretary and film historian Surya Deo. Deo is also an avid collector of rare Oriya film posters, photographs and articles on Oriya films.
FJF would screen one of the landmark films every month as part of its Smruti-Chhaya series that kicked off with Malajanha, he announced.
Released on December 10, 1965 in Cuttack, Malajanha, that claimed the coveted President’s Silver Medal, was considered as the first new wave Oriya cinema and it was pitted by critics and connoisseurs at par with Satyajit Ray’s path-breaking Pather Panchali. However, its prints were missing for decades till well-known publisher and arts promoter Mahendra Mishra managed to restore it with the assistance of National Film Archives of Pune.
The occasion witnessed a rare and touching scene – the intimate meeting of the stars of yesteryears and present day. Popular actors Siddhant Mohapatra, Usashi Mishra, Sabyasachi, Buddhaditya, Akash, Arindam, Madhumita Mohanty; producer Sanjay Nayak and director Susant Mani were seen honouring the cast and crew of Malajanha.
And present on the occasion were veterans like actor Sarat Pujari, actor-dramatist Anant Mohapatra, lyricist Narayan Prasad Singh, filmmaker Sabyasachi Mohapatra and producer Amiya Patnaik as special guests.