An ad hoc attitude of the Odisha Film Development Corporation (OFDC) in hosting the celebrations for the 75 years of Odia cinema has caused much embarrassment to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) led State government that has recently appointed BJD leader M. Khan as the OFDC chairman.
To kick off the celebration, OFDC organised a two-day Odia film festival at IDCOL auditorium on Monday and Tuesday in which seven classics were slated to be screened. The list included Kanakalata (director Ghanashyam Mohapatra), Maya Miriga (director Nirad Mahapatra) and Klanta Aparanha (director Manmohan Mahapatra) for Monday and Indradhanura Chhai (dir. Susant Misra), Malajanha (director Nitai Palit), Ahalya (Bijaya Ketan Mishra) and Kathantar (Himansu Khatua).
Since there was no publicity regarding the festival and the film fraternity was not informed by the hosts, there were barely 15 people in the auditorium on Monday that included the OFDC chairman, the director of the film being screened and the film critics.
“My film was scheduled for screening at 1.30 p.m and I arrived at the auditorium in time. But the OFDC official in-charge of the screening went for lunch and did not turn up till 2.30 p.m. So all of us had to wait for him,” rued internationally acclaimed filmmaker Nirad Mahapatra.
On Tuesday, there were just five people in the auditorium when the screening commenced at 11 am. Several prominent people and a number of filmmakers from the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack had gathered at the auditorium by 1.30 p.m to watch Malajanha that had claimed the President's Award in 1965. However, the same OFDC official, whose absence on Monday had delayed the screening, announced that the film could not be screened due to technical reasons while OFDC General Manager D.P.Mohanty said the copyright holder of the film, Mahendra Mishra, refused to provide the DVD for screening.