Chinese twist to Oriya film tale

talented bunch: Actor Shilpa Shetty in Odissi dance costume on the sets of the film in Kollam, Kerala.

talented bunch: Actor Shilpa Shetty in Odissi dance costume on the sets of the film in Kollam, Kerala.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Shyamhari Chakra

Shyamhari Chakra

Trilingual film ‘The Desire’ to hit the silver screen in April

BHUBANESWAR: Gone are the days when Orissa’s ‘own’ Odissi got a fair deal from Oriya filmmakers. While Odissi gurus were invited to direct dances for films, films were being made with eminent dancers in the lead -- Minati Mishra (Arundhati) and Sangeeta Dash (Baje Bainshi Nache Gungura) -- to name them.

Come April, the time to celebrate the Oriya New Year, Oriyas and the Odissi fraternity worldwide would have an occasion for special celebration. Trilingual film ‘The Desire’, an Indio-Chinese joint venture, would hit the silver screen with the protagonist -- Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty -- as an Odissi dancer. Even ace actress Jayaprada, who had her distinct debut in Sargam as a deaf and dumb dancer, has donned the character of an Odissi dancer as the screen mother to Shilpa.

And added to the Oriya pride, Shilpa’s Odissi dance number set to an Oriya song has been directed by Orissa’s Odissi Guru Ratikant Mohapatra with music by Oriya composer Laxmikant Palit. And interestingly the film’s associate director Purendu Panda has also been Oriya apart from the 16-member Odissi dancers troupe from Bhubaneswar featured as Shilpa’s disciples on screen.

Kerala’s journalist-turned-award winner filmmaker R. Sarath is directing the film that revolves round Goutami (Shilpa), an accomplished Odissi dancer and a talented artist Jai Leang (Xia Yu, the Chinese superstar considered at par with India’s Shah Rukh Khan).

The film follows the journey of their respective lives until they are separated and brought together again by destiny, informed Ratikant Mohapatra who is just back from Kerala after directing the Odissi sequences. Besides Shilpa and Jayaprada, the film casts Anupam Kher and Vikram Gokhle as the Odissi guru, he added.

“Shilpa underwent a week-long Odissi dance workshop under me at Kollam in Kerala where the film is being shot. It was a pleasant experience to work with Shilpa who has been a Bharatanatyam dancer too. As an artiste she was able to understand the style and form of Odissi dance and its execution. Practicing in the morning and evening, she proved to be a committed artiste and her performance in the shooting was satisfying,” Mohapatra said.

The director had seen his father and legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra perform in Mumbai and had a dream to do a film on Odissi, he added.

“It was great of him that he elected to have an Oriya song in the movie that spans over four minutes,” he acknowledged. “It’s not only an honour for my father or me, it’s for Orissa, the Oriyas and Odissi fraternity as well,” he said.

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