Bhubaneswar: Odisha State Film Awards 2016 were declared a few days ago and the coveted award for Best Actor (Female) was conferred on Sangeeta Mohapatra, better known as Lipi in the entertainment industry.
Odisha Sun Times caught up with her in between takes of her ongoing shoot for a telly serial and congratulated her for the honour. From going completely makeup-less to shooting at four in the morning in the suffocating stench of sukhua (dried fish), she reminisced about her experiences of being a part of Mimansa (for which she bagged the award).
Lipi also spoke at length about her journey from albums to the silver screen. Excerpts from the tête-à-tête:
Q: How did Mimansa happen to you?
A: One fine day, I received a call from director of Mimansa Chakradhara Sahoo saying that he had me in mind for a character in his movie and believed that I would be able to do justice to it. I read the script and instantly agreed.
Q: Is it a woman-centric film?
A: Mimansa is based on a factual story of a fisherwoman, her life and times while showcasing various underlying shades of her personality and chronicling her struggles. So yes, it is a woman-centric movie.
Q: The audience has mostly seen you as a sweet-faced actor or in glam avtaars and portraying a fisherwoman is a total departure from that. Were you ever apprehensive as to how moviegoers would perceive you in the role?
A: I have never been an image-conscious artiste and always made a conscious effort to essay a variety of characters. In the music videos, I have taken up roles of both commoner as well as glamorous diva. I have also played mythological characters like goddesses Lakshmi, Sabitri and that of Kalijaai from Odia folklore. I have also played the lead in the televised version of the popular novel Kaa, and the character of a poor village woman affected by industrialization in an Hindi movie, Adibhumi by Satyabrata Dwivedi.
Q: Tell us about your transition from music videos to movies.
I did a lot of music videos with Jayaprakash Mohanty during the initial years in the entertainment industry. Some of my videos became very popular. That was the golden age of Odia album industry. This tag of ‘album queen’ is a creation of the media and I am grateful for it. Later, veteran director Prashant offered me a role in Om Shanti Om. However, my first stint as the leading lady was in Tu Mori Paeen.
Q: Music albums, telly serials, movies, you have been there and done it all. Which one among them was the tough to work for and the most fun to do?
Each project is challenging and unique in its own way. I enjoy music videos and song sequences in movies, in particular. Listening to a new song and enacting the video before its release is a refreshing and rewarding experience. Songs are specifically conceptualised and shot in scenic locations. Therefore, travelling for shoots is also something I look forward to.
Q: What do you think needs to be done to bring Ollywood to the forefront of the regional entertainment industry and enhance its output?
A: Ollywood is far better than many other regional film industries except for the practice of making adaptations of southern films. We need to encourage our Odia audience to watch Ollywood movies more. Furthermore, adequate number to theatres are also required to meet the demand of the audience and growing number of films being produced in the state.
Q: Do you think the Odia music album industry has lost its popularity? If yes, what needs to be done for its revival?
A: It certainly has lost its popularity. The audience is now bored with the video and audio of music singles. Moreover, due to advancement of technology, the age of cassettes, CDs and DVDs is gone. So why would anyone produce albums? One cannot just depend on digital and social media like YouTube, Facebook or WhatsApp to make profits. They just aid in promotion and viewership. I do not see any solution to reviving the old charm in the near future. But, private FM radio channels are doing a good job in terms of the audio aspect of albums.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I am not an advance planner. I live in the moment and take life as it comes. Currently, I have my hands full with telly serials shoots, performances and appearances.