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Odisha OAS Officer’s Short Film ‘Mask’ Wins Big At International Film Fest

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Bhubaneswar: Amid COVID19 pandemic when face masks have become an essential part of our daily life, a realistic short film based on the current situation has brought pride and applause for Odisha from all around the world.

Odia short film ‘Mask’ directed by Sweta Kumar Dash, a senior officer of the Odisha Administrative Service (OAS) has won the prestigious International People’s Choice Award at the Quarantine Image Film Festival-2020 in Argentina.

Masks during the time of coronavirus play a significant role to save lives. Sensing the need for masks during these testing times, Sweta Kumar wrote the story and created the short film. Dash, who is now on a four-month deputation to Ganjam district for COVID duty, has managed to find time during leisure to prepare the script and direct the movie.

The 7-minute-18-second film depicts the struggle of a poor minor boy to sustain a livelihood for his family amid COVID-19 pandemic. The boy moved around the hustle-bustle of the city to sell masks in the day that were hand-stitched by his mother during night.

The film also showed some shades of grey reality which includes the reluctance of people to purchase the masks because of its low price.

Magnificent acting by Ajay Choudhury, a minor boy hailing from a poor family in Berhampur, has received appreciation from all around the world.

Speaking to OTV Dash said, “This little kid who lives in the slum motivated me to make this short film. It is indeed sad that even today there are many people who are not willing to spend a mere Rs 20 to purchase a mask. This Rs 20 could save their life. In order to add a touch of realism, I decided not to take any professional actor but approach Ajay and his family to be a part of this film. I am glad that our efforts are being appreciated globally.”

The protagonist of the movie Ajay Choudhury said, “The only way to survive Coronavirus is to make some basic changes in our lifestyle. What I want to urge the people is to wear masks whenever they step out, use sanitiser and maintain social distancing. I would like to thank Sweta sir and Geetanjali ma’am for giving me an opportunity to express my story.”

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal went on Twitter to congratulate the cast and crew of the film.

Among 3000 entries, the jury members adjudged ‘Mask’ as the best film on COVID-19. This short Odia film has also made it to the final list of nominees after being widely appreciated at the Lift-off First-Time Filmmaker International Film Festival and Flick Fair International Film Festival.

(Edited By Ramakanta Biswas)

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