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Classics to come alive on big screen

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OUR CORRESPONDENT   |   Published 30.04.11, 12:00 AM

Bhubaneswar, April 29: Classic Oriya films, which have been loved by generations of film lovers in the state, often seem to have been forgotten. With no television screening of the classics for decades, the young generation viewers almost never get a chance to watch these national and international award-winning films while those who had watched them during their release, also lament the absence of screening in any form today.

But there’s good news for Oriya film lovers now. A group of film enthusiasts in the capital will start organising monthly screenings of classics that can be attended by all film aficionados. The screening series begins on May 1 with Nitai Palit’s much-admired Malla Janha. There has been no public screening of this highly acclaimed film since it was released in 1965.

The film was based on Upendra Kishore Das’ famous novel of the same title. There are many firsts and special memories associated with Malla Janha. Legendary music director Akshay Mohanty made his debut as a composer in the film as did Jharana Das. Moreover, revered Odissi guru, Keluchrana Mohapatra, was the choreographer for the film. Declared the best regional film of 1965, it had won the silver lotus National Award.

After Palit, the copyright of the film now lies with Mahendra Mishra. “Malla Janha belongs to the genre of parallel cinema, but with songs. In fact, it is the first in Orissa’s film-making history to be made in the form of art cinema or new wave cinema,” said Mishra. “I’m glad that a public screening is being held for the film that will let the current generation see what brilliant work film-makers in the past had done,” Mishra added.

The screening will be followed by felicitation to people associated with the film, including lead actress of the film, Jharana Das, lyricist Binodini Debi and singer Pranab Patnayak. They will also share their memories of the film.

Film lovers and artistes of the present generation who had never got a chance to watch the classic are already excited about the screening. “I am looking forward to watching the movie. I have heard about the wonderful acting of Jharana Das in her debut film, and I wish to learn a few things about acting from her performance,” said actress Archita.

“I will be hosting the event and I’m already thrilled for the same. It will be a golden chance for all film lovers to watch the classic at an open-to-all event,” said actor Samaresh Routray.

“After beginning with Malla Janha, we will continue the screenings once a month with films such as Lalita, Bhai Bhai, Anutap and so on. Many film lovers from Cuttack, Baripada and other cities will be attending the event as will many present day film-makers and artistes,” said a member of the Film Journalists Forum, which is organising the event.

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