Can Odia literature inspire Odia cinema again?
Adding to the discussion, director-politician Nanda said in older times, only one film was made in a year based on Odia novels or books that were widely read.
Published: 07th November 2022 08:35 AM | Last Updated: 07th November 2022 08:35 AM | A+A A-
BHUBANESWAR: At a special session titled ‘Odia Literature and Odia Cinema: Will the Twain Ever Meet’, award-winning members of the regional film industry Prashanta Nanda, Surya Deo, Himansu Sekhar Khatua, Sabyasachi Mishra and Sanjoy Patnaik, discussed the issue with introspection on the reasons as to why works of eminent Odia authors are no longer being adapted into movies.
Chairing the session, film critic Deo said the impact of Odia literature on cinema was very strong till the 80s. Be it the first Odia film ‘Sita Bibaha’, ‘Lalita’, ‘Shree Jagannath’, ‘Dasyu Ratnakar’ - all inspired by mythologies - or ‘Maa’, ‘Amada Bata’ and ‘Malajahna’, every film was inspired by Odia literature. “But after that period, films based on Odia literature were not accepted by audiences and did not do well commercially. Be it ‘Aparichita’ or ‘Matira Manisha’,” he said.
Deliberating on the journey of Odia literature into films, director of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute Khatua said literature was the primary medium of entertainment towards the 19th century. “Odia cinema which arrived 127 years back used literature as its foundation to grow.”He said literature provided Odia cinema its subjects and stories. “And in the process, filmmakers have taken Odia literature closer to people”, he added.
Citing the example of films ‘Matira Manisha’ and ‘Malajahna’ that were based on namesake novels written by Kalindi Charan Panigrahi and Upendra Kishore Das respectively before the 1930s, filmmaker Patnaik said when Odisha was carved out as a separate state on the basis of language in 1936, stories like these played a very important role in shaping Odia identity. “But is this kind of partnership between Odia literature and cinema possible is something that needs to be pondered upon,” he said.
Adding to the discussion, director-politician Nanda said in older times, only one film was made in a year based on Odia novels or books that were widely read. “There was a need to add an element of economic viability to Odia cinema by making three to four films a year. Under these circumstances, not all films could be based on literature because my targeted audience - the middle-class cinema goer - will not always identify with a character in a novel,” he said, citing the example of film ‘Amada Bata ‘. He added that there has always been a dearth of visual literature in Odisha.
Actor Sabyasachi said both literature and cinema hold significance for him. “I belong to a family where more emphasis is given on literature, while as an actor I work in cinemas,” he said. Speaking about his latest project ‘Puskara’ based on an Odia novel ‘Nagabindu’, the actor said he plays the role of a priest at Swargadwara who performs ‘puskara’ rituals of departed souls. “This story is different from what is being made today. The movie is an experiment for us because at the time of remakes, we feel our audience needs a change. Hence, we have returned back to Odia literature,” he said.