Of the 25 films that have hit the box office so far, just a handful did average business and the rest could not even manage a week-long run in the halls.
Of these releases, Susanta Mani’s ‘Golapi Golapi’ and ‘Lekhu Lekhu Lekhi Deli’, Anubhav Mohanty and Barsha Priyadarshini’s ‘Something Something 2’ and ‘Mental’ did average business and could manage to recover the money from market. ‘Something Something 2’ as a family drama had Barsha playing double role of a Hindu and Muslim girl. While each of these movies was made with a budget of `80 - `90 lakh, the rest were produced within ` 70 lakh.
The leading Ollywood couple Anubhav-Barsha, besides Amlan Das, Babushan Mohanty and newbie Jhilik Bhatacharjee were the hot favourites among the audience.
New Stories, New Plots
Even as filmmakers tried to look at stories through different angles, their films could not achieve much.
Comedian Pappu Pom Pom tried to introduce some freshness with his film, ‘Ame Ta Toka Sandha Marka’, but it did not do well on the business front. Like ‘Lekhu Lekhu Lekhi Deli’, this film was also released in Surat in Gujarat that has a considerable Odia population.
Though director Ranjan Mishra tried to do an honest job with ‘Jai Hind - The History of Eram’, the film did not perform well. Steering clear of regular commercial cinema, Mishra attempted to show the historical Eram incident at Bhadrak in 1942 where 35 persons died in police firing during the freedom struggle. The film was released in just 13 theatres across the State.
Mihir Das and Yukta’s ‘Mu Tora Kie’ based on a love story of an elderly man and a young woman, bombed at the box office. Also, ‘2014: Fear of the Year’ that was touted as the first of its kind horror movie in the industry for its technical excellence, could not last beyond a week in theatres.
“That Ollywood lacks originality does not come as a surprise anymore. But the other factors that ail the industry now are lack of filmmaking sense and theatres. Filmmakers copy films from Tollywood frame by frame and do not understand the aesthetic value that a movie requires. Besides, we have just around 80 halls today in Odisha that are in extremely poor shape,” said senior director Gadadhar Puty.
The Silver Lining
The only saving grace for the industry was Sabyasachi Mohapatra’s ‘Adim Vichar’ that was screened at Indian Panorama category of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2014, at Goa. Penned by Sabyasachi’s father Kapileswar Prasad Mohapatra, ‘Adim Vichar’ is based on the lives of the tribal people of Odisha. Another film that made a mark was Kadambini Media Production’s ‘Krantidhara’, directed by Himanshu Khatua. Actress Gargi Mohanty excelled in the role of Pratigyan who struggles to keep her political career afloat while facing a male chauvinist society. It was screened at 12th Chennai International Film and 7th Bengaluru International Film Festival. Another mid-budget segment film is scheduled for release before the year ends, ‘Rasta’.
Reel Life Turn Real
Ollywood saw two star marriages this year with Anubhav and Babushan tying the knot with their love interests Barsha and Trupti Satpathy respectively.
Anubhav and Barsha’s wedding on February 8 was a star studded affair at Bhubaneswar while, Babushan tied his nuptial knot with Trupti in a low key manner on July 6.
Ollywood Loses Veterans
On May 13, veteran Sarat Chandra Pujari passed away at the age of 80 in Bhubaneswar. Pujari, who left a mark on the Odia film industry, had a career spanning over five decades with more than 60 films. He made his debut in the film ‘Mahalaxmi’ in 1959 and was president of Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi till his last days.
Death of two of the most popular comediennes of the industry - Runu aka Sadhana Parija and Mamina aka Jyotsna Satpathy - left a void in the industry. On October 25, Parija suffered a heart stroke at her home in Cuttack and died on the way to the hospital. Having started her career as a theatre artiste in Annapurna Theatre, Parija debuted in Ollywood with ‘Batasi Jhada’.
On December 9, 48-year-old Satpathy died after prolonged illness. Starting her career in 1978 with ‘Gouri’, Satpathy had acted in over 150 films.
Prior to Parija’s death, 73-year-old Birendra Narayan Routray passed away on November 24 due to cardiac arrest at Cuttack. An actor who mostly played the role of a villain, Routray had acted in over 35 films.
On December 11, popular Ollywood actress Gloria Mohanty passed away at the age of 83. She had begun her career as an accredited singer of Akashvani Kendra, Cuttack. Her role as Lalita in her debut movie ‘Jagannath’ had brought her immense popularity in the State.
Looking up at 2015
One of the biggest projects to look forward to in 2015 is a period film ‘Chandrabhaga’, to be produced by Anubhav and Barsha’s Vishnupriyaa Arts & Graphics.
An adaptation of Pratibha Ray’s novel ‘Shilapadma’, the film will portray the life of Kamal Moharana, an eminent sculptor among the 1200 artisans who carved out the Sun Temple at Konark.
While Anubhav will be portraying the character of Kamal Moharana, Barsha is playing the role of Chandrabhaga. The film will also have Akash Das Nayak, Gargi Mohanty, Sritam Das and Salil Mitra playing major characters. Shooting for ‘Chandrabhaga’ begins this month and Ashok Pati will direct it.