Filmmaker who played mentor to several stars - Era ends with death of Oriya film industry's 'superhit' man Basant Nayak

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By VIKASH SHARMA AND NAMITA PANDA
  • Published 28.06.11
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Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, June 27: Eminent Oriya filmmaker Basant Nayak, well known as the grand old man of Oriya cinema, died at a private hospital this morning.

The septuagenarian, who had a kidney related ailment, has left the film fraternity mourning. He is credited to have launched many prominent actors and giving many hits that had changed the way films used to be made.

Born on January 16, 1937 in Cuttack, Nayak was a student of the PM Academy school and Stewart Science College in the city. Later, he completed his textile engineering from Mumbai. However, driven by his passion for cinema he quit his family jewellery business and a career in textile industry and associated with distribution of films, starting with the 1975 superhit Jajabara.

From script, production to distribution, Nayak had set a professional and commercial viable pattern that is still followed by other filmmakers. His banner, Brajraj Movies, gave numerous hits starting from the first film Nagaphasa, which was also directed by Nayak. Well known actor Bijay Mohanty made his debut in the film. Later, actors such as, Anubhav Mohnaty, Arindam Roy and Babushan, also made their debut under the same banner.

“He was my mentor in the film industry. Our association goes back to 1975. We shared a strong bond and I have acted in most of the films made under their banner,” said Bijay Mohanty. “Our industry owes him a lot and his death is a major set-back. He was the uncrowned king of Oriya films,” he said. Nayak has produced 19 Oriya films and distributed as many as 18 Oriya movies.

“It is a great loss for the Oriya film industry. My relation with Nayak was not a commercial one like between a producer and an actor. Rather, he was my elder brother whom I knew closely for 30 years,” said noted actor Uttam Mohanty. “It was his involvement in all aspects of the filmmaking, including scripting, music and other related activities, that made him so special and successful,” he said.

Ever since Nayak has not been keeping well, his son Sanjay Nayak has continued the efforts of his father.

“My father was immensely passionate about filmmaking and taught me the nuances of looking after various aspects of film production,” said Sanjay.

Due to a kidney problem, the 74-year-old was admitted to a Bhubaneswar-based hospital last week. After his death at 6am today, his body was carried to the Kalinga Studio where he had shot several times following which it was taken to Cuttack where members of the film fraternity visited and paid homage to the multifaceted personality. The last rites were concluded at Puri. “The demise of Nayak is the death of an era. Nayak was a great filmmaker and every artist used to be happy whenever they got an offer to work for the Brajaraj Movies,” said actor Namrata Das.

“Nayak was the leading filmmaker for more than four decades. He has given so many hit films which speaks volumes about his creativity and talent,” said producer Praduymna Lenka.