Prashanta Nanda: The best allrounder of Ollywood

Prashanta Nanda is regarded as the best allrounder of Odiacineme industry. The versatile actor is also knownas the living legend of Odia cinema. He proved his mettle as an actor, director, screenplay writer, lyricist, and a producer and even as a playback singer. He was also the former Minister of Odisha. The talented actor has bagged three national awards in ‘60s.
The multitalented Prashanta Nanda’s birth is very significant as the actor grounded in the same year on which India got its independence. The actor was born on May 2, 1947.
Prashanta made his silver screen debut through the film DashyuRatnakar, but he came to limelight for his brilliant performance in his very second film NuaBou which was released in 1960 and he also bagged National Film Award for the movie. After his successful second film of his career there was no looking back. The prolific actor was highly appreciated for his lively performance in NuaBou. His acting in MatiraManisa brought him the second national award and the third one came his brilliant acting in the film Adina Megha. SeshaSravana is another Odia movie in which you will find the brilliant acting and direction from Prashanta Nanda. He has directed more movies than he has acted. He has also acted in two Hindi films, i.e. Naiyya and Paheli. Naiyya was the remake of his film SeshaSravana. He was also seen in the lead role in the movie. His last directorial venture was Thukulu (2011) was a very different kind of movie with different taste.  He created a niche for himself in the industry. His film, JiantaBhoota, won National Film Awards under National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Environment/Conservation/Preservation Film category in 2009. His contribution towards the upliftment of Odia cinema is unquestionable. Though, he has already passed a long outstanding 40 years in the industry, his undying passion for movies have kept him great going.
He is one of the most celebrated politicians in Odisha politics.  He was the BharatiyaJanata Party’s senior leader and Orissa state BJP Vice President and resigned from the party in August 2007. Later, he joined Nationalist Congress Party.

Devdas Chhotray: The acclaimed poet

Devdas Chhotray, the passionate poet cum administrative officer is known figure in Odisha music. The busy life schedule has not prevented him from his passion, writing. He has tried his hand in poetry, stories, lyrics, musicals and screenplays.
He is the son of legendary Odia playwright Gopal Chhotray has set a niche for himself in Odisha for his creativity. He graduated from Ravenshaw College and pursued his master’s degree in political science from Utkal University. Then he moved to Cornell University in the USA for further study. He has composed music for over 75 Odia films and his songs were immortalized by the legendary Odia singer Akshaya Mohanty. As his principal songwriter, his bonding with Akshaya Mohanty has earned the duo considerable popularity and critical acclaim. This collaboration has resulted in creation of new and imaginative idioms in modern Oriya music.
The talented writer has also written scripts for feature films such as Vasudha, Gayaka, Viswaprakash, Indradhanura Chhai, etc. A regular artiste of All India Radio, Cuttack, he also worked as director of Odisha Film Development Corporation and with many notable organizations. He is also chairman of the governing body of Biju Patnaik Film and Television Institute in Cuttack.
Devdas Chhotray is widely known for his four decades of poetry and lyrics, and his works have been translated into several Indian and foreign languages. A majority of his non-film commercial songs have been recorded by HMV (presently Saregama). He has composed musicals for the television also.
Devdas Chhotray inherited the heritage of theatre. He has several publications to his credit. They are Nila Saraswati and Hati Saja Kara. Translations of his poems in English have appeared in a collection called ‘Longing’ published by Pimlico Books.  Devdas Chhotray has created some notable music albums. He was also conferred with many literary awards for his contribution towards music and movies. His creativity has brought a lot of fame for him in comparison to his profession as an administration officer.

Akshaya Mohanty: The crownless king of Odia Music Empire

The name itself carries the weight of the person who has contributed a lot for the development of Odia music and has given a new touch to it. He is nonetheless Akshaya Mohanty, the crownless king of Odia music word.  Even after his death, the regard for the person has not deterred among the music lovers of Odisha. Akshaya Mohanty alias Khoka Bhai was singer, songwriter, music director, short story writer and novelist. Akshaya has contributed to Oriya Bhajanas, Odissi, folk songs, non-film modern light songs on contemporary themes, ballads based on popular legends of the State.
Akshaya was born to BichitranandaMohanty and SubarnaManjariMohanty at Bankimundai, Kendrapara on October 12, 1937. Akshaya had no formal training in music. At the age of 22 in 1956, he joined government services in his home city Cuttack, but quit after seven years in 1963. He became an approved lyricist in All India Radio, Cuttack in 1956. By 1959 he became an approved composer in All India Radio. He was married to PrabinaMohanty in 1967. He has two sons and two daughters. His son, ChitrabhanuMohanty is a stage singer.
Akshaya recorded his first song GadialaBhaiDharichhiSura Re in 50s. His silver screen journey started through the film Maa (1959) in which he sang GoriGoriGori. He has sung songs in 129 Oriya films.In 1965, he has composed music for the movie Malajanha. The song RakataTalamala of the movie was huge a hit. He composed music for 75 movies. He has made experiments with themes, words and in recording and producing special sound effects. Some of his experiments include starting a new cult of ballads in Odia. AkshayaMohanty also has acted in 3 movies and co-directed a movie.
He created a separate market for Odia film music and introduced new trends in regional film music.As best playback singer he bagged state award in 1980, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1996. As best music director he bagged state award in 1988 and 1990 and he received music director award from Cinecritic Association. The unparalleled singer, music composer and director and class of talents breathed his last on November 2002, but he still remains in the heart of Odia people and the affection and regard for the legendary singer will remain the same in future also.

Bijaya Mohanty: The evergreen actor

Bijay Mohanty, the most celebrated actor of Ollywood who has more than 190 Odia films to his kitty. The versatile actor is an all-rounder who played diverse roles including protagonist to the negative character. He is a national award winning actor and has already completed a long 40 years still he is going strongly. He also has acted in Oriya, Bengali, Hindi and Telegu films. Three of his acted films have bagged prestigious National Awards. The veteran actor is also seen regularly in teleserials and in small screen.
Bijaya was born and brought up in Baripada. He actively participated in acting in his college career. Then he joined National School of Drama. He passed-out of NSD, along with classmates like Nasseruddin shah, Raj Babbar, Om Puri. He tried his luck for sometime till 1975 and had acted in theatres.  He struggled hard to venture into silver screen, but after his return from Delhi, for a period of 2-3 years. But his first acted film Sanklap was closed suddenly due to unknown reasons. After that, he joined
Sangeet Natak Academy as a professor.
Bijay Mohanty ventured into silver screen through the film Chilika Tire. The film bagged National Award later. Films became his way of life and passion after he joined in the Drama department of the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya in 1977. Super hit film Naga Phasa established him as an actor, but in a negative role. Thereafter, he appeared in films like ‘Bipasha’, ‘Pati Patni’, ‘Sautuni’, ‘Samay Bada Balwan’, ‘Danda Balunga’, ‘Sahari Bagha’, ‘Chaka Bhaunri’ and ‘Chaka Akhi Sabu Dekhuchi’ in negative roles.  He also formed a drama troupe named Jugechha. The troupe staged plays in different parts of Orissa as well as the country.
Bijay Mohanty is probably the one and only actor in the modern day who has tried his hand in all types of roles – hero, villain, comedian and character role. Notably, he has played all these roles successfully and much to the appreciation of the film-lovers. He has also tried his hand in direction with the film ‘Bhuli Hue Na’ and has been successful in his directorial debut. He married co-actress Tandra Ray and lives in Bhubaneswar with his kids. Odia cine lovers have lots of expectations from the veteran actors who has already completed a long 40 years in the industry.

Nitai Palit: Where It All Shined

Nityananda Palit, better known as Nitai Palit though is not a known name among most of the Odia movie lovers was a playwright, actor and director. The legendary and talented person has given a new dimension to Odia cinema. He is first Odia film director and his directorial venture was Kedar Gouri. Palit received President’s Award in 1965 for his directorial film “Malajanha”. This was the first Oriya film ever to be awarded the ‘Silver Lotus’ for direction and is still considered as a classic. He was born in Cuttack on March 8, 1923 to Nagendranath Palit and Sarojini Devi.  He completed his schooling from Ravenshaw collegiate school and was interested in drama and music from his tender age.

After matriculation, he joined LIC to run his family and then joined the left-wing Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) where he worked for a few years as a playwright, actor and director. In 1954, he jointly directed a film, “Kedar-Gauri” with noted playwright Manoranjan Das. The film featured Bina Kumari, whom he later married.  In 1955, he independently directed the film, “Bhai Bhai”, thus becoming the first Oriya film director. Overall, he directed 12 films, out of which he produced three-four documentaries and three telefilms. He was also the writer of nine film-stories, 16 screenplays and four documentary scripts.

Most of his directorial films reflect the social evils in a great sense which has everlasting impression among the society. After the film Malajanha, he directed Maa(1959), this film also based on Novel written by Gyendra Burma. Kie kahar in 1968, this film broke the box office record during this time. It followed Bandhan 1969: Dharitri 1972 Mana Akasha 74: Krishna Sudama 1976: Bandhu Mohanty1977: Anuraag 1980: Kiye Jite Kiye Hare 1981.Dharatri  film was also based on the Novel By Amulya Kumari Pattnaik.

He never attended any film institute during his career. He was awarded  ‘Best Director’ by the govt. of Orissa four times. He was active till his last journey.  He breathed his last when his film “Kichhi Aasa Kichhi Swpna” was in the process of being made, on July 26, 1990 due to cardiac attack.


Uttam Mohanty: The dynamic trend setter

Uttam Mohanty is one of the most veteran actors of Ollywood. The talented actor has contributed a lot to the industry. For a period of long 20 years, he remained the number one star and uncrowned king of the Odia cinema industry. He has acted in more than 130 Odia movies. The versatile actor had also tried him in Bengali and Hindi Movies. Bollywood megastar and legendary actor Mithun Chakroborthy paid tribute to the actor saying “I feel immensely lucky and honoured to have worked with such an influential actor and I did learn a lot from him.” The appraisal to the actor from a megastar shows all that how much respect the actor deserves. Due to his ill health and other negotiations, the actor is keeping himself away from silver screen but his passion for film remains the same as he has been seen in film, teleserials sometimes in a guest appearance or in a small character. He has also bagged many prestigious awards including prestigious Jayadev Puraskar in the year 1999 and FITFAT Biscope award in 2008.
Though he was born at Balrampur in Bihar, but he came to Odisha as his grandfather was settled in Baripada. He completed his early education from Maharaja Krushna chandra High school & MPC college of Baripada. His interest towards the profession came to the fore when he actively participated in drama and plays during his college life.

He made his debut against Rita Chand who was also a debutant though the film Aviman in 1977. From the very first film, his acting skill was highly appreciated and that gave him a lot of mileage in the later part of his careet. The next film he did was “Pati Patni” opposite Maheswata Ray. Then the streak of films like “Nijhum ratira sathi”, “Chinha Achhinha”, “Ramayana”, Tapasya, Ram Balram happened. Most of his films, he acted against Maheswata Roy and Aparajita Mohanty.

The eighties was the best time of his career. Many Ollywood films of the 1980s had Uttam Mohanty in it, and he dominated the Oriya film industry. He excelled in all kinds of roles: romantic, village lad, character. Abhiman, Danda Balunga, Bhakta Salabega are even remembered today for his stupendous acting. He also worked in around 30 Bengali films and one Hindi film – Naya Jahar, opposite Satabdi Ray. Uttam-Maheshata pair was one of the popular pair in the industry and both of them were pitted against each other around 15 films in 1980’s. Over fifty of his films are opposite Aparajita Mohanty, whom he married later. They first appeared together in Astaraga (1982), and married in 1987. Other heroines who have acted opposite him include Anita, Sujata, Tandra, Deepa, Baisali, Subhra pati, and Rachana Bannerje.

After 1995 he got more character roles due to his ill helath and age-related issues. He also acted in some Odia, Hindi and Bengali serials. His elder son Tanmay Mohanty alias Babusan has created niche within a short span of period. Uttam Mohanty is the only star in the Oriya cinema horizon to have been at the top for nearly two decades, dominating the Oriya film industry throughout the 80′s and 90′s. His contribution is acknowledged by one and all in Oriya film. He has won many Oriya filmfare awards and prizes as a best actor. A number of societies and institutes have honored him as a living legend of Ollywood cinema. Uttam-Aparajita has set up a production house and their first venture is Love Master which is going to be released shortly.

Gadadhar Puty : Talent meets substance

Gadadhar Puty is a very popular name in Odia cinema fraternity. He has created a niche for himself in a very short period of time. He came to limelight for his movie Puja Paain Phulatie. The film gave him long cherished success and also name and fame in Ollywood. Currently Puty is serving as the Head of Production at SIET, Bhubaneswar.
The director-cum-filmmaker was born in Pathuri in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha. He completed his graduation degree from MPC College Baripada, and completed his post graduation degree in English literature from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack.
From the very young age, he has attraction towards creative fields. In his early school days he was writing short stories, but later he shifted his interest towards cinema. So, he got admitted into Film & Television Institute of India, Pune.
During his stint at FTII in Pune, Puty scpited and directed and edited Sapna, a feature film in Hindi which drew attention of filmmakers in Mumbai. But he shifted his base to Odisha to contribute for the development Odia cinema.
In 1983, he made his first first feature film in Odia, Ashara Akasha which won three State film awards ran 50 days in commercial circuits.
Puty also edited feature films like Nisiddha Swpna, (Forbidden Dream), Tara, Kichhi Srmuti Kichhi Anuvuti, Door Diganta (Distant Horizon), etc all of which have been honoured by National Film Awards.
His latest film Pooja Pain Phool Tie (A Rose for Pooja) is the story of deep bond between two little girls who pass through a series of turbulent emotional phases. Beneath a very simple & emotional story, Puty has left a deep and profound philosophy of life in this film. The film was highly acclaimed by critics and was honoured by six State film awards in the category of Best Film, Best Direction, Best Story, Best Cinematography, Best Child Artist & Best Female Singer. The film also got the National Award for Best Oriya Film for 2006.
Puty has won four State Film Awards: twice for Film Editing, once each for Film Story and Film Direction. He has made two very noteworthy tele-films i.e. Bibar and Doorabhasa based on the stories by Tarunkanti Mishra. Puty is a director, editor, film maker and a writer also. He tried his hand different film of cinema and succeeded on all this. He has also done different programmes as a director and editor in television.

Age is no bar for Gloria

Gloria Mohanty is a household name in Odisha as she has set a benchmark for her in Ollywood industry. The age has no effect on her work and she is going strongly at her 90’s and acting in tele serials and movies also. The age has surrendered before the veteran actress as she is a busy actress now-a-days also.
Gloria born on June 27, 1932 in Cuttack. At her early childhood days, she was initiated into dance and music by her aunt and eminent actress Anima Pedini. Pedini recognised her talent and her talent in dance that finally brought into acting at the theatre and cinema. She also taught Odissi under prominent Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She taught music at the National Music Association, Cuttack, along with her friend Sunanda Patnaik. Her music teachers were Gurus Kundala Adi Narayan, Balakrushna Dash, Bhubaneswar Mishra and Beena Debi. She was a reputed singer of All India Radio, Cuttack, for long 20 years.
At the age of 14, she debuted in theatre in the play ‘Bhata’ as an lead actress against Gour Prasad Ghosh in the year 1944. It was Kabichandra Kali Charan Patnaik who introduced Gloria into theatre. And for the next 16 years, she featured in more than 100 plays in Odia, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and English which were staged in major metros like Calcutta and New Delhi besides in Odisha. She was very good athlete also as she also represented the state women’s Volleyball team.
Gloria started her silver screen journey in 1950 with the path-breaking film “Sri Jagannath” as the heroine Lalita. It was a huge hit and gave her lot of mileage to her as an actress. Later, she featured in films like Kedar Gouri, Maa, Sitarati, Taapoi, Tapasya, Ulka, Janani, Chhamana Athaguntha and Adi Mimansa. Today, at the age of 90, she is still actively involved with the film and television industry as a busy actress. She has acted in more than 25 Odia movies. She has bagged many awards for her brilliant acting skills.

Raju Mishra : Light & Shade of the Ollywood Icon

Shri Rajgopal Mishra well known as Raju Mishra who was honored with 9th Fitfat Bioscope Award 2012 on 9th December at Shahid Bhawan Cuttack, is a versatile Director, an adroit Cinematographer, & Music Director who is esteemed among viewers and the film industry over decades.

Right from his childhood he has come across a lot of creative people as both his parents father late Shri. BimalKishore Mishra and mother late Smt. Sumati Devi were performing artists of repute, who performed and taught traditional, classical and folk music. His mother had been a famous radio artist for thirty years. He was ardent to do something in the creative field till he decided to become a film maker, his journey has been a fabulous one. After graduating from Film & Television Institute of India Pune in 1977 with flying colors he tried a small stint with the television training center there. Late Mr.Bhaskar Chandavarkar the music professor of FTII gave him his first break as a cameraman in a marathi film. He actually wrote the story and screenplay for the film late Smita Patil was the leading lady of the film. The film got a couple of national and state awards. Before that Raju Mishra’s student diploma film along with Manjul Sinha and David Dhawan had got into the prestigious Indian Panorama section of the International film festival. Manjul a very sensitive director went into the advertising industry and later on did famous serials like “ye jo hai zindagi”. David went into the bombay industry as an editor where as Raju Mishra who always wanted to be a film maker straight away opted for Odisha. The reason he felt was making money in Mumbai as a Cinematographer would have killed his ambitions as because it would have taken a couple of years there in Mumbai without a godfather there and that would have been a waste of time.

So the career had to be in Odisha. Luckily for him Mr. Debabrata Kar and friends like Binod Mishra and Surya Mishra helped him to start his career as a film maker and the film was “Ulka”. May be the subject and making was a little ahead of time so the commercial results were not encouraging. However the cinematography and music of the film were widely appreciated by one and all. It is still a landmark film as far as these things are concerned. In fact the state award for cinematography started with Mr. Raju Mishra getting the first award.

Time supposed be the greatest teacher, taught Raju Mishra the lesson of surviving the commercial film industry in Odisha. There was no looking back him. A couple of films like “Janani” and “Jaga Hatare Pagha” as cinematographer and he was back in the commercial arena with his own story screenplay and cinematography for the film “Mamata Maage Mula”. The film was a thundering success. The success continued with films like “Jor Jaar Mulak Tar”. The background music was by Raju Mishra where as songs were composed by late Akshay Mohanty the great KhokaBhai. The film broke all possible records at the box office. Followed films like “Pua Mora Kala Thakura”, “Chaka Aakhi Sabu Dekhuchi”, “Aasuchi Mo Kalia Suna” with resounding success proving Raju Mishra was not a fluke. Film after film followed. Time and again Raju Mishra proved that he had the audience support for him. An artist always feels to communicate to his audience what he has felt in his heart about a story or a subject. Raju Mishra always takes inspiration from real life incidents though the above mentioned highly successful films were larger than life fantasies he opted for making a film like “Sata Micha”. The film had story screen play cinematography direction and music by “Raju Mishra”. The characters and incidents in the film were inspired by true incidents and living real characters. To Raju Mishra’s surprise he received state awards for story, photography and direction simultaneously. It was realy inspiring for him. He believes Film Making is a team work and the team has to coordinate share the same vibrations and wavelength to come out successful. It is very difficult to always find like minded people to work with, this was the only reason Raju Mishra opted for almost all the core branches of film making to speak his heart out but whenever the team consisted of like minded thinking people he shared the honors with them. The journey is very long. It is a long 35 years of career with dozens of films, short films, ad films tele serials etc. Raju Mishra has been humbled that God endowed him with special blessings to gain the audio visual power to communicate. This is the major reason for his success. Whenever Raju Mishra operates the camera for any audio visual work his distinctive style comes through. Thats the reason he got four assamese films achieve national recognition and the same number for Odia and Marathi language films. His visuals are rich with so much communicative power that sometimes they dont need the help of literature or music. This is a gift of God to him which he keeps practicing in the field since last 35 years. Padma Shri Manoj Das’s short story “Laxmi Ra Abhisara” attained great cinematic heights through his vision. It received 9 out of 14 awards given by the state of Odisha every year. His recent works like “Dear Sir” a tele film and above all Fakir Mohan’s Chha Mana Aatha Guntha in a tele series will be remembered forever for their aesthetic value.

His eye and ear for discovering new talents is phenomenal. Over 3 decades he has given odia film industry artists and technicians who are now very well established and very big names themselves. Many senior Ollywood citizens remember Raju Mishra as a great mentor. This came through from Rachna Bannerjee’s statement during Bioscope Awards. She said Raju Mishra is my true mentor who taught me ABC of acting and am oblidged. This ABC took her to become one of the heroins of AB of bollywood thats Amitabh Bachan. Thanks Guru Raju Mishra the Dronacharya of Odia Film Industry. May God bless you Raju sir to live long enough to discover many more artists and talented technicians for our film industry.

Sabyasachi Mohapatra

Though Sabyasachi Mohapatra has few Odia films in his kitty, he has created a special place for him in the Odia movie world as a director, producer and also a writer. He came to limelight after his internationally acclaimed film Bhukha.He has also set up a production house named Mohapatra Movie Magic in collaboration with his other four brothers.
Sabyasachi Mohapatra was born to Kapileshwar Mohapatra. He was a meriotorious student as he bagged scholarship in highschool level. He completed his seventh class from Deogan M.E. School and High School from Pritviraj High School(Balangir). After matriculation, he joined Gajendra College. In his college career, he showed his interest towards drama and participated in different college functions. His association with drama and theater increased when he did law from Sambalpur and involved more in the field. His father is his source of his inspiration as he(his father) introduced him to acting. His intial stage performances were done under the affectionate guidance of his beloved father. His towards film grew and he used to visit cinema halls along with his father. But, destiny played a crucial role in his life and finanicial burden took a toll on him and his family was badly hit by 1975 famine and he started his own business.
His film journey started accidently when Sadhu Meher asked his assistance for the film Abhim aan him. He debuted as a director in a feature film in the Kosali Language ,titled as Bhuka with the help of his four brothers.The film was screened and got International Jury Award at Gijon Film festival.This bought him much cherished fame and recognition.
He then worked in films like jhili ,Bou, Bahudibe Mo Jaga Balia. His mega budget mythological film – Jai Jaganath was released in 15 different Indian languages. He also wrote the stories of films like Bou, Bahusibe Mo Jaga Balia and Jai Jagannath and he made the film Jhili as a producer.