Tribals are often exploited by urban people: Sabyasachi

Panaji: Diminishing tribal cultures of Odisha have mostly been the central theme of regional director Sabyasachi Mohapatra’s films as he feels it is important to raise awareness about these simple and innocent people.

Sabyasachi, 64, whose award-winning Odiya film ‘Adim Vichar’ (Ancient Justice) was screened at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here, said the tribals often get exploited by urban people.

“The varied Indian cultures are alive with tribes. We are almost on the verge of losing them. They are very simple and child-like people and due to these qualities they are often exploited by the modern people, who live in cities.

Their thoughts and justice are full of moral values,” Sabyasachi said.

‘Adim Vichar’, based on his father Kapileswar Prasad Mohapatra’s short stories, is about a righteous Kondh tribal elderly man who turns rebellious when he is implicated and produced before court.

“I did an extensive research in bringing out the film, I shot in real locations, besides staying with the Kondh tribals. Odisha is full of tribes and there are almost 28 types of tribes in the state. I love to make these kind of films through which I can raise awareness about them (tribes),” he said.

The lead role in the film has been played by 84-year-old actor Atal Bihari Panda, who also starred in Sabyasachi’s last project ‘Sala Budha’.

“Atal uncle is my father’s close friend and it was the demand to cast him. He had no clue that he would be the part of the film till I told him two days before I started shooting the film,” he said.

Apart from the film screening, the cast and crew of the film, dressed as Kondh tribals, also performed the tribe’s dances and songs.

“We wear similar kind of dresses when we go to a festival for our screening. I don’t want to have any disparity among my crew members. This tribe has many songs and dances and that’s why I used many such sequences in the film,” Sabyasachi said.

The filmmaker said the mainstream Odiya film industry has not evolved in terms of content as the movies are basically remakes of Telugu and Tamil films.