Odia cinema not based on Odisha literature: historian

Prominent Odisha film historian and critic, Surya Deo lamented the decline of originality in Odia’s cinema and said it was because it was no longer based on state literature and survives through remakes.

Deo, speaking at a memorial lecture on Tuesday, said Odia’s films and literature were linked in the 1960s, mainly because writers like Gopal Chhotray and Bijay Mishra also understood cinema.

“Some of the films based on novels or short stories originally written by Odia writers have been critically acclaimed and commercially successful,” Deo said in his Ganeswar Mishra memorial lecture held to mark the seventh anniversary of the famous writer’s death.

The trend continued into the 1970s. But in the 1980s, the film adaptation of Odia literature slowly declined as commercial success became elusive. “Due to the commercialization of Odia films, the effect of literature on cinema has diminished. What audiences want to see has become very important during the adaptation process,” said Deo, who recently achieved national recognition for his work as a film historian.

A filmmaker’s visualization is and should be inherently different from a writer’s when a film is adapted from literature. “You have to accept the differences between film and literature because of the different perspectives of the filmmaker and the writer,” he said.

Talking about the influence of Odia and Bengali literatures on Odia cinema, Deo highlighted the importance of elements of Odisha culture and tradition while adapting.

Well-known translator Jatindra Kumar Nayak emphasized the importance of documentation which, he said, creates roadmaps for further study and research.

Renowned translator and scholar Arun Kumar Mohanty said that Bijay Mishra emphasized the humanitarian aspects and in doing so created a special place in people’s hearts due to his simplicity.

Part 6 of “Srujana Samagra” by Ganeswar Mishra, a collection of translated works, was released on this occasion.

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