BHUBANESWAR: Three eminent personalities from Odisha have been chosen for this year’s prestigious Padma Shri awards for their contribution to the fields of cinema, performing arts and music. Actor-director Sadhu Meher, Odissi dancer Aruna Mohanty and singer of the popular Sambalpuri song ‘Rangabati’, Jitendra Haripal, have been selected to receive the Padma Shri Awards-2017. Odisha-born, Dr Mukut Minz, now based in Chandigarh, has also been selected for Padma Shri.
Although a delayed move, the veteran Sadhu Meher is happy that he has been chosen for the award. “I am delighted that my contribution to both Hindi and Odia cinemas has been recognised,” said Meher, who has acted in 38 Odia films and directed five __ ‘Abhimana’, ‘Aparichita’, ‘Abhilash’, ‘Gopa Re Badhhuchhi Kala Kanhei’ and ‘Babula’.
The 77-year-old artiste has also directed a Hindi film, ‘Yeh Jaan Meri Hai’. In fact, Meher began his acting career with Hindi films like ‘Bhuvan Shome’, ‘Ankur’ and ‘Mrigaya’ and then moved on to do Odia films.
He, however, is unhappy with the present set of actors in Ollywood. “There are two kinds of actors. Someone who loves to act and one who likes to see himself on the screen. Today’s actors in Odia film industry belong to the second category. They just wear make-up and fancy clothes to appear on screen but have no dedication to learn the nuances of acting,” he said.
For Aruna Mohanty, the award is a recognition of her contribution towards propagating Odissi across the country and abroad. “I am extremely happy that the country has recognised my efforts towards promoting and propagating this ancient dance form,” said the dancer, who dedicated the award to Guru Gangadhar Pradhan.
Talking to ‘Express,’ Haripal said he owed his success to his wife Mallika. He said the award will give a boost to folk song.
Dr Minz successfully undertook a kidney transplant surgery on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Minz is a native of Sundargarh district.