Sabya Mohapatra’s ‘Sala Budha’ in Indian Panorama

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    OST Film Bureau

    Bhubaneswar, Oct 23 :

    Sabyasachi Mohapatra’s critically acclaimed black & white period film, ‘Sala Budha’ (Stupid Old Man) will be among 26 Indian films to be screened in the Indian Panorama section of the 44th  International Film Festival of India ( IFFI ) to be held in Goa from November 20.
    Director Working Still 03

    ‘Sala Budha’ marks the silver jubilee of Sabyasachi’s last film in the Sambalpuri dialect, ‘Bhukha’ that was awarded at the Gijon International film festival and screened at the World Rural Film Festival in France.

    “Though ‘Sala Budha’ has been screened at a number of places for discerning audiences and earned accolades from critics and viewers alike, I was not too sure if it would get the nod from the Panorama jury because the story, penned by my father Kapileswar Prasad Mohapatra, is about the happenings in a small village at the beginning of the last century and it’s a black and white film with an 83-year-old playing the protagonist,” Mohapatra told OST.

    But the film did impress the jury and is now set to attract international attention after it is screened in the Indian Panorama section of the IFFI 2013.

    The Story

    Bhagatram, fondly called ‘Sala Budha’ (Stupid Old man) , the head of a very poor and obscure village in western  Odisha, faces the threat of losing his land and leadership thanks to the machinations of some evil characters in his own village.

    In an attempt to hold his people together and help them survive the horrors of famine and demands of a greedy King, he inspires them to share his faith in God and the belief that there is always goodness among men.

    Set in the early 20th century pre-Independence India, Sala Budha revolves around the wise and generous village head, Bhagatram.

    Strongly committed to the people in his village and their welfare, he goes out of his way to help the needy. During a severe drought, he is seen offering financial assistance to people in distress even though there is little hope of recovering the money from them.

    However, villainous characters from the same village level false charges against him  before  the local feudal chief (king) as a result of which the wise old man suffers humiliation and punishment. But his unshakable faith in basic human goodness wins the battle for him as the king soon realises the old man is genuinely a Good Samaritan and rewards him.

    Sambalpuri Ethos

    The film captures the rich tribal and cultural ethos of the Sambalpur region. It’s a wonderful mix of Sambalpuri folk music and dance traditions, earthy humour and superb performances. It is the authentic rural milieu of the film that makes Sala Budha a remarkable film,” says Gopal Pradhan who was actively associated with the film’s production.

    “The film is an effort to bring alive the rich ethnic culture, folk traditions, music, dance and the sweet dialect of the Sambalpur region,” says Sabyasachi Mohapatra, the film-maker who has made eight feature films,including the highly acclaimed Sambalpuri film, “Bhookha’, so far.

    Sabyasachi says he has always felt deeply disturbed by the way the young generation today treats the elderly and even their own grandparents. This, he says, was one big reason that motivated him to do a film on his father’s story about the wise old man, who lives for others and is keen on sharing his experience and wisdom with the next generation.

    “One in every five persons will be over 65 by 2035. What if they are left uncared for by the gen next?  Instead of looking at elderly people as pests who deserve to be ignored, the young generation must treat them with respect and benefit from their rich experiences and wisdom. That is the core message of my film,” says Mohapatra.

    SALA BUDHA 

    Credits

    CAST : ATAL BIHARI PANDA , GHASIRAM MISHRA, GADADHAR BARIK, PRITHWIRAJ NAIK, NETRANAND, PUROSATTAM MISHRA, RATAN MEHER , PRADUYMNA, TAPASINI GURU, ROSALIN SARANGI AND SOBHARANI SINHA.

    STORY –  KAPILESWAR PRASAD MOHAPATRA. PRODUCER – SUSHANTA MOHAPATRA.SCREENPLAY & DIRECTION – SABYASACHI MOHAPATRA. DIALOGUE –  ATAL BIHARI PANDA. MUSIC –  PANKAJ JAL, GHASIRAM MISHRA. CINEMATOGRAPHER –  AUM PRAKASH MOHAPATRA. EDITOR –  RAJENDRA MAHAPATRA. DI –  PRIME FOCUS. PROCESSING – CINELABS. PRODUCTION DESIGNER – P. MANTU MOHAPATRA. RERECORDING – ANUP DE, CAS.  ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR – KUMAR C. DEV.  CO-PRODUCER – B.CHINTU MOHAPATRA