By Surya Narayan Pradhan
Bhubaneswar: At a time when producers of Ollywood and Bollywood movies are struggling to get back their money invested, owners of Jatra groups in Odisha are raking in the moolah. Be it sizzling record dance, light decoration or fully air conditioned tents, managers and owners of the Jatra groups are leaving no stone unturned to woo audience.
Acrobatic dance during record dance is the latest fad with many jatra groups incorporating circus-style dance moves to leave audience spell bound. Bike stunts on the pandal during a minimum one-hour record dance before the beginning of a drama is the practice followed by managers of popular jatra groups.
“Earlier known as ‘Gitinatya’ performed by artistes before the start of a drama has been now replaced by record dance. People get attracted to a jatra party primarily because of the quality of record dance called as ‘Phataka’ in Jatra parlance. Once record dance gets over, audiences are seen several times leaving the tent without watching a drama organised by a jatra party for which they have bought a ticket. ‘Phataka’ gets the priority over the drama,” opined Naba Kishore Manik, an expert on the Jatra party business.
Managers of Jatra parties these days ensure enough space on the pandal for bike stunts integrated in record dance so that audience will get the thrill akin to watching action movies, Manik remarked.
“Jatra parties hire choreographers by paying hefty packages to teach dance steps to artistes for each drama. They are only catering to the taste of audiences,” Manik added.
Meanwhile, Indrabhubana Jatra Party is among frontrunners to experiment with pandals, light decoration and setting up air conditioned tent to give the cinema hall ambience to audiences.
Experts believe more surprises are in store during the Khandagiri Jatra during February next year when more than a dozen top notch Jatra groups will vie with each other to pull crowd.