Ollywood@80: ‘Sita Bibaha’ remembered

Bhubaneswar: On a day the Odia film industry completed 80 years of its existence, film makers and enthusiasts alike fondly remembered the first Odia film ‘Sita Bibaha’, which released at Laxmi Talkies in Puri on April 28, 1936.

Director Mohan Sunder Deb Goswami overcame many challenges to give Odisha its first Odia movie. The movie based on the heart touching subject of the ‘Ramayana’ had 14 songs, 29 scenes and was made at a cost of Rs 29,000.

“It is hard to believe that someone thought of a making a film in Odia at that time. Goswami was an artist and had the vision to conceive such an idea way back in 1936. It was a matter of pride to make a film as at that time; money and commercial success were not the objective,” said eminent filmmaker Sabyasachi Mohapatra.

It’s unfortunate that the reel of the movie was destroyed in a fire. However, the still-preserved posters of the movie are a mute witness of a watershed moment, which marked the beginning of what we know today as Ollywood.

To mark this occasion, a film poster exhibition was organised by ‘Chhaya-Pratichhaya’ to pay tributes to some of the most acclaimed works of the Odia film industry.

“Sita Bibaha was released on this day in 1936. We consider this day as the day when Odisha got its first Odia movie and the first Odia movie was screened in Odisha. We mark it as the birthday of Odia cinema. A considerable amount of perseverance, hard work and commitment was shown by Goswami to make ‘Odia’ film a reality,” said film critic Surya Deo.