With only two months to go for the world’s largest open air theatre, Bargarh Dhanu Yatra to be held at Bargarh; Bhubaneswar Pradhan, who has donned the crown of mighty Kansa thrice already, is also the unanimous choice for this year’s demon king.
Bhubaneswar Pradhan, fondly known as Bhubana, lives in Sarla village under Bargarh block. His first tryst with acting was at 12 years of age. He acted in Abhimanyu’s character at his village play Mahabharat and was praised for his acting talent.
There has been no looking back for him since then. Besides his successful portrayal of Kansa’s character at Dhanu yatras in villages like Chichinda, Chicholi, Lelehar, Arigaon, Sagarpali, Bandhabahal, Gulamal, Daphala, Talamunda, Bhaler, Nagaon, Lathore, Rampur and Budhiapali, he has also shown his talent at world famous Bargarh Dhanu Yatra in 1998-99, 1999-00 and after a gap of 17 years in 2017-18.
On this occasion Bhubaneswar shared some of his unforgettable experiences with our correspondent Premananda Khamari during an interview.
Here is the excerpt:
Q: Cinema and theatre are said to have been badly affected by social media and YouTube. Does it mean audience enthusiasm for Dhanu Yatra remains the same as before?
A: Social media and YouTube have done more good than harms. It is because of these media that yatra gets lakhs of new visitors every year.
Q: How much happy are you after getting the opportunity to perform demon king Kansa’s role in Dhanu Yatra? What are the challenges?
A: As I have been selected for second consecutive year, I feel happy. The challenge lies in the role of Kansa, is its attractive dialogue delivery to win million hearts.
Q: King Kansa is the antagonist. But in Dhanu Yatra is he treated like a protagonist?
A: Krishna is the god. But in Dhanu Yatra Kansa plays its fulcrum character which is why he is the hero.
Q: According to you, what steps should be taken to make it a global event?
A: Bargah Dhanu Yatra has already reached the level. Yes, to make it more attractive and enjoyable, some talented artistes are to be roped in, that’s all.
Q: If you are asked to say something about your acting, what will be your answer?
A: Last year I made a comeback after a long 17 years. So my acting may have lost a little bit of perfection and will have not failed to come up to the viewers’ expectation.
This year I will try my best to entertain my fans. However, lakhs of devotees who watch the festival are the best judge of my acting.
Q: How is the preparation going on to give justice to your role?
A: I have been doing one hour rehearsal daily since last year’s festival. Particularly, I have given importance to dialogue delivery and voice modulation. I hope my voice will see me through the eleven-day long festival even if I deliver dialogue in high pitch.
Q: Whose acting has inspired you the most?
A: I am immensely influenced by the acting of late Yudhisthir Satpathy who had a record of performing Kansa’s role in Dhanu Yatra for 32 years. I have grown watching him.
Q: What is the lesson Bargarh Dhanu Yatra has for its spectators?
A: The main message of Bargarh Dhanu Yatra is ‘Victory of justice over injustice’. Besides, the festival is the perfect epitome of brotherhood.
Q: For 11 days you are Kansa. What are you in rest of the days?
A: I have a grocery shop in my village. I devout my leisure time to rehearsal.
Q: Do you have any problem in your social and family life?
A: I have gained immense public contacts. I have faced problems too. At the same time I have lost 17/18 acres of my inherited land to my acting career.
Q: How are your family members towards your passion for acting?
A: To be very frank, my family members are my biggest supporters. If there is anyone who feels happy for my acting it is none other than my wife.
Q: What do you like most to eat?
A: Stale watered rice and tamarind.
Q: Any memorable moment?
A: The day I cannot forget in my life is a day in 1994 when dhanu yatra was on at Chchinda village under Bheden block in Bargarh district. The then Chief Minister late Biju Panaik arrived at the festival 10 minutes late than the fixed time. And at that time I being Kansa imposed a fine of 10, 000 gold coins on him.
Q: Who are your ideals?
A: My parents and my gurus.
Q: You are an actor. Have you ever received any offer to act in films or tele serials?
A: No, I have not received any such offers. But I am sure I will be successful if ever get an opportunity.
Q: Do you want to give any message through your character?
A: Before being an actor, I am a son of this soil. I am grateful to Bargarh people, Dhanu Yatra committee and well wishers for reposing faith on me and giving me yet another opportunity to play Kans’ character this year.