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A journey of cinema history

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NAMITA PANDA   |     |   Published 21.08.10, 12:00 AM

Bapu Lenka

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 20: He is not just another film lover who just likes to watch a movie in theatres over a bucket of popcorn and then forget about it. For 30 years, Bapu Lenka has been contributing to the Oriya film industry in more ways than one. He was the first to make Oriya films available in video cassettes and archive them to document their history.

“I was crazy about films. But I noticed that Oriya films were not available for viewing, once the movie left the cinema halls,” he reminisced. So Lenka, then a 21 year-old, decided to start his own video cassette company.

“The first Oriya film to be available for private viewing was Balidaan under my company that I launched in 1982,” said Lenka who owns Home Video Entertainment.

Whenever he met any film personalities, he collected reels of their films. “They did not know what to do with them. Veterans like Gopal Ghosh had made many films but the reels were dying a natural death, reacting to dampness and heat of the atmosphere. I gathered almost all films released before 1982 except for the first Oriya film Sita Bibaha, since its video was destroyed in a fire incident,” he said.

Today he has a huge collection that includes the first 220 Oriya film and videos of songs sequences in his archives.

He also produced, directed and hosted the first film celebrity interview show in 1995 for Doordarshan, Rupeli Parada Suneli Katha.

Last year he reproduced the 1975 hit Jajabara in colour. It was the first film in regional cinema to be made from black and white to colour. “I was so inspired by the colour version of Mughal-E-Azam that I had to do reproduce Jajabara in colour,” he said.

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