At a time when ardent followers are gradually shying away from watching mainstream Odia films, a team of young filmmakers managed to run a houseful show at their short film festival.
o you remember when viewers were last seen standing in queue at a theatre to watch an Odia movie in Bhubaneswar? Given the kind of reputation mainstream Odia films have in recent years, it’s difficult to recall. However, a group of young movie maniacs charted an unusual route to draw the audience to the theatres.
Last week, they presented a ticketed show comprising a series of six indie short films of different flavours at Idcol Auditorium in Bhubaneswar. The hall was chock-a-block with many enthusiasts waiting outside to get an entry. The event, titled Kalpana Ra Collage, said to be the first Film Mela of original movies, was a grand success with its hashtag #KRC2022 trending all over the social media even now.
The event was organised by Odians Originals in association with United Misfits and local streaming platform AAO NXT.
This was an attempt to revive the dying reputation of the Odia film industry, said Sumit Panda, one of the organisers.
“Organising a ticketed show of six indie shorts is no mean feat that too in Bhubaneswar and making it houseful is another level which requires a lot of belief and teamwork. Kudos and congratulations to the organizers,” said actor, producer Swastik Choudhury who was present in the viewers’ gallery.
Tapas Ranjan Rout, whose short film Utsav recently bagged the top honour at a Unicef-sponsored short film festival, was mightily impressed with the initiative.
“People who rue original films are not made in Odia language may have to eat their words, had they been present at this screening. It was not just a collage, but a cocktail of movies, music, interaction and anecdotes,” said Rout in his reaction.
Indeed, Kalpana Ra Collage was not just about screening of movies. The cast and crew of the movies came on stage to share their experience during the making of their films and responded to the audience queries.
That’s not all. Popular playback singers Gaurav Anand and Bunny Mohanty, with their soulful rendition, regaled the audience between the screenings.
Asked what made them take such a plunge, Sidharth Goutam, a corporate film director and one of the key members of the team said, “Of late, when people were a little unhappy with the commercial Odia cinemas, some young minds including a few of us attempted to present something fresh to the viewers through short films. Then we thought if a series of short stories compiled into a book can make a good read, why can’t we knit some selected short films into a package to entertain the audience. We worked on the idea and the effort gathered steam. After making such film melas in cities like Bangalore and Pune, we attempted this in Bhubaneswar.”
Sidharth, along with his team, is credited with over 50 digital contents.
When all these started, to this query, the ITER alumnus said, “When I met Anurag Kashyap on the sideline of an event at Bangalore in 2015, I asked him if there can be a market dedicated to the short films in India. ‘If you can create one for yourself, then why not’, he said. This was the stepping stone of what you watched today. Seven years of dream, six days’ notice, five days’ preparation and a houseful show. Now, we can safely conclude that Odisha is ready to watch and pay for good Odia content and welcome good makers,” signed off the ITER alumnus.
Not only Sidharth, all his crew members are satisfied and obliged to the audiences’ response to the event.
Sumit said, “We are really grateful to those who took their time off and came to the auditorium to support the initiative. I have no words to express my gratitude. The success of the event proved that good content always has a market. Today, we have screened six films. If we can conduct such an event every month and can screen 72 films then top streaming platforms like Amazon, Netflix or Disney Hotstar, who are now reluctant to stream Odia movies, will have little choice than launching their exclusive Odia platforms.”
Well known actor Partha Sarathi Ray whose movie Shadow was screened at the event said, “The event’s success is an answer to all those who say Odia audiences can’t accept and understand original creative content. Everyone in this auditorium bought tickets and came to watch six simple short films made on a shoestring budget. They’ll definitely come to the theaters if you stop underestimating them and focus on quality and originality. This is proof enough that it’s the content that creates stars, not the other way round.”
Apart from Sidharth and Sumit, others who contributed for the success of the event are Biraj Rath and Ashutosh Panda. Saswat Rath, Hari Shankar and Jugal joined the team as volunteers.
COMPONENTS OF THE COLLAGE
- Genre -Experimental
- Story – Sumit Panda
- Direction- Sidharth Goutam
- Producer- Sidharth Goutam
- Cast : Zeeshan, Sukriti, Sachin, Banisa, Sangram, Parag Behera
- Genre – Drama
- Story, Lyrics- Sumit Panda
- Direction- Sidharth Goutam
- Producer- Odians Originals
- Cast : Dipanwit
- Behind the screen – Biswajit Kuldi, Bunny Mohanty
- Music- Binay Rath
- Singer – Biraj Rath
- Direction- Biraj Rath
- Producer- Biraj Rath
- Cast : Dipanwit,Sheetal, Priyanka & Biswajit Kuldi
- Genre – Thriller
- Story – Bunny Mohanty
- Direction- Mahesh DLeo
- Producer- Black Magic
- Cast : Dipanwit, Prem, Shruti
- Genre – Romance
- Story – Biswajit Kuldi,Himagni
- Direction- Biswajit Kuldi
- Producer- Amara Muzik
- Cast: Sovan, Himagni, Abhishek, Parag
- Genre – Suspense
- Story – Subhashree Pattanaik
- Direction- Abhishek Swain
- Producer- AAO NXT
- Cast : Partha Sarathi Ray, Kalki Krishna