BHUBANESWAR: Even as Jatra troupe owners claim that growing operational costs and restrictions inflict huge loss every year, the operas remain a big draw in the State compared to Odia films and TV serials.According to estimates, the Odia film industry’s annual turnover is Rs 20 crore from about 20 to 25 films. On the contrary, the turnover of Jatra industry stands at Rs 100 crore.
The State has around 20 A-Class troupes besides around 100 B-Class, C-Class and amateur troupes. While A-class troupes earn round Rs 1.2 lakh a night, mostly raised from tickets, C-Class ones make anything between Rs 30,000 and 50,000.
The presence of big and popular names decides the show price as star performers charge a staggering `20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh a year. Jatra troupes, each comprising around 200 members including directors and actors, work for around 300 days a year. While actors rehearse for about a month, they take breaks for a month before commencement of another season.Jatra researcher Kapilas Bhuyan says most of the A-Class troupes stage at least 260 single performances a year and it goes up to 300 performances if some plays click and are staged twice a day. The traditional Jatra has undergone sea change in the recent years. The operational costs have increased owners have to invest in state-of-the-art stage, air-conditioning and fire-proof tents besides lighting and security.
Bhuyan suspects the move to close the industry - which was at its peak a few years back - might have stemmed from the fact that there is no control over the remuneration star performers demand and get. Also the owners may be seeking some patronage from the Government.
Needless to say, the decision of the owners has not gone down well with the artistes and the opera lovers.
“The decision is unilateral. The owners should have consulted with the artistes before taking a final call. It will affect 9,000 artistes who will lose their bread and butter,” said Hrusikesh Mishra, secretary of Raghunath Panda Kalakar Samiti.
Mishra said it is an oddity that Government is apathetic to Jatra world. The Culture Department must come forward to patronise it and do something for the artistes who make millions laugh and weep night after night, he added.