Report by Odisha Diary bureau; Bhubaneswar: The Odia cinema has a glorious past. The first Odia film ‘Sita Bibaha’ was released in the year 1936 and was an important part of the struggle for a manifestation of Odia cultural identity in celluloid form. The film was a huge success. Gradually the entrance of new filmmakers brought a revolution in the Odia film industry by not only securing the essence of the Odia culture but also changing the way the film industry watched Odia movies. Odia directors and actors gained recognition at National level by bringing in freshness to Odia movies. Such efforts heralded the golden era of the Odia film industry. But now, it is an accepted fact that Odia cinema has lost its grandeur with passage of time. Despite the technological advancements, better learning opportunities Odia cinema is not what it used to be. The quality of cinema in Odisha has gone down the drain.
To identify the issues prevailing in Odia cinema a symposium on “Contextual Issues plaguing Odia Cinema” has been held on 16th August, 2017 at Hotel Mayfair Lagoon, Bhubaneswar. The symposium was proved helpful in addressing the issues and suggests steps to bring about a change in current trend of Odia cinema. The panelists of the symposium included veteran filmmaker Raj Gopal Mishra, veteran journalist Sampad Mahapatra and independent filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharyya who shared their views regarding the issues and their experience in the industry.
“Too much of interference of producers in the filmmaking process is one of the burning issue”, said Mr Raj Gopal Mishra. “The availability of cheap digital medium is both a curse and blessing for Odia film industry as it results in making of abundant of bad films and number of good films by aspiring filmmakers as well who can now make a film without spending a fortune”, he added. “A film is solely a director’s product. Hence, the existing Odia filmmaker needs exposure which will be helpful for them in shaping their craft”, expressed Mr Sampad Mahapatra. “The government should also come up with a scheme to financially help some of the established and aspiring filmmakers”, he further added. “The odia cinema industry lacks qualitative media coverage and criticism. Its quality is degrading because of the illiterate filmmakers and technicians who are ruling the industry. The odia film can be as strong as any other language film and it has got immense market in the country and abroad, only if we will be able to create qualitative cinema”, expressed the young and dynamic indie filmmaker Mr. Amartya Bhattacharyya.
The symposium was attended by the students of different media and film institute of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Dhenkanal. It was a great chance to share knowledge and experience among the emerging talents in the film industry which is expected to guide the existing Odia filmmakers in the right direction as well. The event was organized by Lighthouse – a premier audio-visual production house situated at Bhubaneswar.