CINEMA OF ODISHA
Ajay Kumar Nandy
The cinema of Odisha is famous throughout India and growing every year by a large margin as people are liking Ollywood movies now. After the first Odia film Sita Bibaha in 1936, only two films were produced till 1951. A joint consortium of landlords and businessmen who collected funds after 1948 produced those two movies. Sita Bibaha was directed by Mohan Sunder Dev Goswami and was released in Laxmi Theatre, Puri. The 1951 production Roles to Eight was the first Odia film with an English name. It was released after 15 years after Sita Bibaha. It was the fourth Odia film produced by Ratikanta Padhi. The eleventh Odia film Sri Lokenath was the first Odia film that got a National Award in 1960; it was directed by Prafulla Sengupta. One of the major trailblazers and pioneers of the Odia film industry were Gour Prasad Ghose and his wife, Parbati Ghose. They introduced and mastered innovative ways of technical storytelling. Over the years, some of their most notable films such as Maa and Kaa brought them national fame and numerous awards, including many National and lifetime achievement awards for their contribution to cinema as directors, producers and actors. The same year, Prasant Nanda won a National Award as best actor for Nua Bou, his debut film. The name of Prasant Nanda always comes up when dealing with the Odia film industry. He was present in Odia films since 1939, but he became active only after 1976. Nanda served Ollywood as an actor, director, screenplay writer, lyricist and even as a playback singer. Such a versatile genius is quite rare in Indian cinema history. Nanda alone carried Odia films into the national honour list by winning National Awards three times in 1960, 1966 and 1969 for his acting in Nua Bou, Matira Manishaand Adina Megha. Uttam Mohanty, whose debut film Abhiman won accolades all over, is now the veteran actor of the Odia film industry. His wife Aparajita Mohantyis a renowned actress. Sarat Pujari was one of the most popular actors of the 1960s. His popular films are Nua Bou, Jeevan Sathi, Sadhana, Manika Jodi, Naba Janma, Matira Manisa, Arundhati, Ghara Sansara, Bhookha, etc. His films portrayed the general condition of the state of Odisha with a strong social message.
Sarat Pujari is a prominent figure. Apart from being an actor, he was also a successful director and an academician. He continues to act in a few select films; he is enjoying his retired life and writes columns in the newspapers as his hobby. Raju Mishra is another rising star in Odia film industry. He is an international award-winning photographer, director, choreographer and lyricist of Ollywood. Other well-known actors are Bijay Mohanty, Sriram Panda, Mihir Das, Siddhanta Mahapatra, Mahasweta Ray, Tandra Ray, Anubhav Mohanty and Babushan Mohanty.