Infusing colour into Jajabara

The magic of the black-and-white blockbuster Oriya fim Jajabara will now thrill fans again, this time in colour.

Published: 14th August 2009 12:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2012 09:34 PM   |  A+A-


IT is one of the biggest superhits of Oriya film industry. The title track captivates through its brilliant music, sounding as fresh even today. The magic of black and white Oriya film 'Jajabara' is back to enchant again and this time in colour. With his team of digital artist Tilak Ray and 18 roto artists, Bapu Lenka has made an exceptional effort to revive and preserve the loved movie, making it the first black and white regional film of the country to have been coloured.

Released around three-and-a-half decades back in 1975, the film was a platform for young artitstes like Jayiram Samal, Samalendu, Banaja Das, Tripura Mishra, singers Trupti Das and Geeta Pattnayak. Legends today, they were all launched in the movie. The release of its colour CDs on August 7 has caused waves in the industry. “It all started when I was watching the coloured Mughal-e-azam. It struck me that Oriya black and white films have also been superhits and colouring them would be an interesting project. So I thought of picking a film that had music that is listened to and liked even today. Though there are many such musical hits, Jajabara is one song that you can find even in today’s marriage processions or other functions,” said Bapu Lenka, Director Home Video entertainment, during the release function.

But for this passionate collector of Oriya films who has acquired video and telecast copyrights of almost all films from 1950 to 1982, including Lalita and Shri Jagannath, colouring Jajabara was not an easy task. “When I first discussed it with Tilak, he immediately coloured one frame and showed that the technology was available here. Until then I thought it was some very hi-fi software. But he also explained that for an entire film to be coloured it would take three years even with 20 artists!” Lenka agreed to finance and work started. Ray with his dedicated team of roto-artists made the work possible within two years using Web technology. “There were 2,19,000 frames altogether and we had to take care of colouring every single pixel starting from a nail somewhere on a wall to a button on the shirt to the fields, skies, everything. Meanwhile we had to make sure the colours have a liking today and suited the trends of 1975,” said the digital artist from Padmalaya studios.

The colour version of the film is available at video stores for just Rs 35. “I had to keep the price low as the industry is already suffering from heavy piracy,” said Lenka who spent close to Rs 14 lakh for the project. This not-so-small step can prove a giant leap in reviving Oriya cinema.


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