The noted Odia movie maker Nirad Mohapatra passed away. Hope the Award winning Odia movie MAYA MIRIGA (The Illusory Deer) from 1980s rings a bell to many. He made that movie. I remember watching it one summer afternoon on Doordarshan in 1987. The story revolves around a boy from a typical Odia middle class family who qualifies for IAS, the most cherished job in Odisha of our generation. The boy’s success instantly puts him on a pedestal catapulting him as the most sought after bachelor. He ends up marrying a girl from the upper strata of the society. The newly wed bride from the elite family could not fit to the middle class milieu. She does not like her husband sharing the same razor with his bothers, not unusual in a middle class family those days. Though the down to earth boy has become a HAKIMA (big officer) he hasn’t been able to get rid of his old habits which is distasted by his wife. A very symbolic movies. A classic depiction of the dilemma in a middle class Odia family due to the sudden change of status in one of it’s members. Like a trapeze artist the guy struggles to play a balancing act between his wife and the rest of the family.
Those were the Golden days of Odia cinema. Every other year Odisha used to produce many award winning movies. CHILIKA TEERE (On the banks of Lake Chilka), SEETA RAATI (Winter Night), NEERABA JHADA (Silent Storm) to name a few. It did not take long for those movies to be shown on National TV as they perform poorly in box office. I bought the DVDs of couple of newly released Odia movies from my last India trip. They were laced with plenty of Hindi dialogues and copycat scenes from South Indian movies speaking volumes about the state of affairs about the current Odia movies. There was hardly anything original Odia about them. It was difficult for me to watch them beyond 30 minutes.
RIP Sri Nirad Mohapatra, you were one of the last of the originals. May your tribe flourish in a state which is fast losing its language and cultural heritage.