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In election time, Sweetheart can wait mate

- Ten big-budget Odia movies announced last year yet to make it to silver screens

Bhubaneswar, June 1: About 10 big-budget films announced last year starring big names and promising to regale cine lovers are yet to find their way to the screens. Add to that another string of low budget flicks that suffer from the same fate. In a calendar year when only 25-30 films release every year, the ones kept on the backburner are not helping the Odia film industry that is already in doldrums.

Multi-starrer films that began around 2012 and are yet to reach the audience include Sweetheart, No.1 Khiladi, Bhaunri, Lalpan Bibi, Arranged Love Marriage, Sindoor and many more. Director Susant Mani said that there could be various reasons behind impediment of a film. The prominent ones, he counts, are negligence or disinterest on part of the producers and date issues of the directors and actors. His film Sweetheart, starring Samaresh, Babushan and Anu Choudhary, was supposed to release during Durga Puja in 2013. But about 10 per cent of dubbing and most of post production work is still pending.

“My producer is a politician and he got busy during the election season. Since I could not wait for one particular film to release, I started concentrating on other projects. I have made three films after Sweetheart. But we had a meeting recently and we are making sure that Sweetheart hits the theatres very soon,” said Mani.

Daddy, a film that released last month, was one of the rare cases when a film got delayed because of an actor’s (Arindam in this case) date issues. Date clash is an unusual scenario as the limited films that are made allow actors and directors to devote ample time and energies in one project.

In a few other cases, the reasons of the delay in release vary from arguments between the director and producer to lack of finances and even lack of clarity of many first-time filmmakers. As industry insiders say of actor-turned-politician Akash Das Nayak-starrer No.1 Khiladi, there was a clash between the producer and director. Hence, the film which was made ready for release about a year ago, is still stuck. When it comes to Lalpan Bibi, young filmmaker Abhishek Behura announced the film two years ago and kept filming songs but apart from mahurat, the lead star Anu Choudhary said she never got a call about shooting and the crew kept saying there were date problems for the other artistes.

An epic example in the release delay case is film Sangam. Starring almost all the who’s who of the industry such as Sidhant Mohapatra, Akash, Buddhaditya and Bijay Mohanty, the film was made ready for release about four years ago. But, it never inched close to hit the film halls. But some artistes are still positive about the future of films awaiting release for long. “Sometimes, minor problems delay release of a film. But industry outsiders only get to see the big picture that the film is not releasing whereas once everything falls into place, release will never be a big deal,” said Akash.

“Moreover, once a film misses out on releasing during peak seasons such as Rajo, New Year or Dussehra, the crew prefers waiting for the next film season to come to avoid losses. These are not issues to worry about,” he said.

While most big banners of yester years that ruled the Odia industry and ensured the film fraternity was always busy, have now become less active, like the famed Brajraj movies, there are only a few banners that can be relied upon to come up with good films frequently. Sarthak group is one production house that lives up to its words. Their next film Golapi Golapi will release in June during Rajo festival. Sitaram Agarwal, owner of the group, believes that most producers today are not serious filmmakers unlike his own group.

“They do not realise that filmmaking requires mammoth investments and the returns come after half a year. They get fidgety as the budget exceeds and they chicken out,” said Agarwal.


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