PARADIP: Popularly known as ‘jatra comedy king’, 80-year-old Manibhadra Biswal made his audience laugh with his acting skills. But the octogenarian is now leading a drab life at an old age home in Paradipgarh.
Shunned by his son after he stopped working, Biswal worked in the jatra industry for 48 years. His new address, the Ratnamala Jema Old Age Home, is filled with people who have been left to fend for themselves in the prime of their lives by their sons and daughters-in-law.
Hailing from Oliapatana village within Khantapada police limits in Balasore district, Biswal acted in 400 plays and was associated with opera parties like Shivani Gana Natya, Satasankha Opera, Sreemaa opera, Janata Gananatya, Biswa Janani opera, Tulsi Gana Nataya, BaghaJatin Gananatya, Biswa Darbar, Eastern Rad and others.
Born in 1942, Biswal passed his HSC in 1961 and worked as a teacher in the ME school of his village for nine years. After quitting his job, he started acting in plays. In 2018, Biswal adopted ‘mahima dharma’ and quit acting.
While acting, he had given money to his elder son. However, Biswal was neglected following which he left home and came in contact with president of Ratnamali Jema old age home Santosh Behera. “Biswal left his house on October 25, 2022 and took shelter in our old age home. He was neglected by his elder son. However, Biswal did not stay with his younger son as he had not given him anything from his earnings at opera houses,” said Behera.
“I am leading a contented life with others in the old age home. We are a family. Life is full of struggles and I am ready to face them,” said the actor. The old age home is inhabited by 20 inmates and Biswal continues to entertain them with his acting. The octogenarian, in the fag end of his life, is doing what he does best.