The Odia film industry, also known as Ollywood, is one of the hidden gems of Indian Cinema. The following evergreen Odia films are a testament to how Odia moviemakers endeavoured to create awareness and eradicate the deep-rooted social evils in our society through the medium of films and drama.
Here’s our list of evergreen Odia films:
Shesha Shrabana – The last monsoon
Released in 1976 Shesha Shrabana is regarded as one of the classic & evergreen Odia films, which highlights caste discrimination. It is a typical Indian love story between a lower caste boy and an upper-caste girl.
The story revolves around “Sania”, a boy whose family includes his sick mother and his friend Makrana. They earn a living through fishery. One day while on the hunt for fish, they rescue a girl named Manika and decide to bring her home. Sania and Makrana decide to take Manika back to her parents.
However, the parents refuse to accept her, after realizing she has stayed at the house of a lower caste fisherman.
An ill-fated love story blossoms between Sania and Manika.
This story narrates how individuals become victims of self-doubt because of the numerous barriers imposed by the society.
This film has also received awards like Best Feature Film, Best director and is still loved by the people of Orissa.
Gapa Helebi Sata
Released in 1976 Gapa Helebi Sata is also the first colored film in the Odia film Industry. The storyline of this movie throws light on class discrimination. The protagonist is a rich, wealthy man who is seen exploiting and misusing a girl just because she belonged to the lower strata of society. However, he later starts to like her. Without paying heed to the societal structure and norms, the man decides to get married to this girl.
This film was a revolutionary hit in the Odia film Industry. Even today you might catch a movie junkie humming to the words of Banara chhai (Shadow of the forest), a very popular song.
Chha mana atha guntha
Released in 1986 Chha Mana Atha Guntha is an emotional and heart wrenching typical village land dispute story. The plot of the story is about a wealthy landlord who spins a conspiracy to steal the land, which belongs to a farming couple.
The land drew the landlord’s attention because of its rich value and fertility. The farming couple’s nightmare turned to reality after they were left with nothing. They lost their own land and cows.
Due to the shock of losing their livelihood, the husband goes into trauma, and the wife is beaten to death. While being tortured to death the woman pleads before the landlord to return her chha mana atha guntha.
Hence the title of this movie is derived from the cry of the women to give back what belonged to her. The movie also stresses “karma”, as in the end the landlord suffers and dies.
Abhilasha is another super hit romantic movie released in 1984. The plot of this story revolves around the dilemma and struggle of a boy who is caught up between the glamorous, new urban life and the rural village life.
Released in 1984, Maya Miriga is a drama-based film with a plot set in a rural Indian household. The characters include an old widowed grandmother, a teacher who has four sons and a daughter. With the mediocre and deteriorating lifestyle, the teacher has high expectations from his sons to uplift their financial conditions through the means of elite education.
The second son, the protagonist of the film, gets enrolled in the IAS and is looked up as the sole breadwinner of the family. He then gets married to a girl above his social status.
There are a cat and dog relationship between the elder brother’s wife and the protagonist’s wife over independent values and ideas. The third son grows up to become a rebel.
A family falls apart due to the pressure to do better and to chase the urban lifestyle. This focuses on family values and the importance of filial love.
Kathaantara is a film released in 2007, is based on a real-life incident, the apocalyptic 1999 Super Cyclone of Odisha. The protagonist is a Bangladeshi refugee who is the sole survivor of her family after the cyclone.
She has to keep her love but at the same time has an opportunity to return to Bangladesh. She is torn between these two choices while she is being chased by an ambitious young journalist to cover her story.
Released in 1989, Bhukha is a movie that is the gateway to experience real Oriya culture. Based on the kosli play Bhukha, it talks about tribal community issues and about communities that are foreign to urban areas and lifestyle. It speaks about the struggle to balance between upholding traditional values and modernity.
Released in 2011, Balunga Toka is centered on the story of a boy called Chiku who often gets in trouble and is a rebel until he meets Preeti for whom he falls. With Preeti’s grace he secures a job.
When their affair is out in the open, Preeti is wedded to another guy. She escapes and has an accident. Chiku has an accident at the same place and loses his memory.
After regaining his memory, he sees Preeti getting married to someone else but seeing the love that still existed between both of them her father accepts their love.
This central idea of the movie is that the acceptance of love is more important than social constructs of income and caste.
Released in 1964, Amada Bata is a classic Odia film based on a novel with the same name, which tells us the story of a girl named Maya who compares her life before and after marriage. Being carefree and pampered versus being a responsible and independent woman. This movie depicts the realities and phases of life in a beautiful manner. If one is thinking of the evergreen Odia films, he cannot miss this classic.
Released in 1968, Stree- counted amongst the evergreen Odia films, is the story of a woman who gets married but stays away from her husband. Their suppressed feelings for each other grow within all the social barriers.
This movie won the National Award for best feature film.