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Parbati Ghose: The actor who dazzled on and off camera in Odisha film industry

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A scene from the Movie Kaa

Bhubaneswar: Parbati Ghose aka Chapala aka Chandana had set new milestones in cinema with her beauty, sincere depiction of characters and artistic acumen. She was also the first woman producer and director of Odisha.

Parbati Ghose: Donning the director’s hat

A pall of gloom descended on Odia film fraternity following her demise last night. As a tribute to this finest Odia actress, Odisha Sun Times takes you through her life and time.  

Parbati had carved a niche for herself with some memorable and powerful performances. Her on-screen romance with Gour Prasad Ghose (Rai Gour) became real life love story and along with him she bloomed as an artiste.

Parbati Ghose with her husband, Gour Prasad Ghose

Her penchant for acting was ignited in school days and she received immense support from her parents to follow her passion.

Born in Cuttack, she was one of eight siblings. Her father Late Basudev Naik worked as a manager in the then famous Manmohan Press. Many bestselling works of noted writers Kanhu Charan Mohanty and Gopinath Mohanty were published by this press during his tenure and he was also responsible for the Odia translation of the Gita, the editions of which are still available.

Parbati Ghose: The quintessential beauty

As a student of Sanat Nalini Girls High School, she participated in various cultural and social activities. She took dancing lessons from Odissi Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Guru Dayal Sharma and Guru Suresh Routray.

Parbati won her first award of Rs 5 in a school poetry recital. Subsequently, she got involved as child artist in All India Radio and went on to become an ‘A’ grade artiste.

A poster of the movie, ‘Shri Jagannath’

She soon landed her first onscreen role as a child artiste (Nila Madhava) in the movie ‘Shri Jagannath’ in 1949. Incidentally, Rai Gour essayed the role of Shaktidhar in the movie, which became a huge success and sowed the seed of her long career.

A scene from the movie, ‘Amari Gaan Jhua’

Her first movie as a lead actress was ‘Amari Gaan Jhua’ opposite Rai Gour produced by Naren Mitra (Utkal Chitra Pratisthan). The 1953 movie, which dealt with the perils of child marriage, won rave reviews and the romantic pair won many hearts.

A scene from the movie, ‘Bhai Bhai’

In 1956, when Rai Gour turned producer with ‘Bhai Bhai’, she was the natural choice for the female lead. Three years later, she acted in ‘Maa’, again produced by him.

A scene from the movie, ‘Maa’

This very year they tied the knot and she became Parbati Ghose (the name given by her in-laws).

The wedding knot

After marriage, she was part of many successful and award winning movies including ‘Laxmi’ in 1962, ‘Kaa’ in 1965, ‘Stree’ in 1968 and ‘Sansaar’ in 1971.

A scene from the movie, ‘Laxmi’
Receiving the national award for ‘Stree’
A scene from the movie, ‘Sansar’

After ‘Sansaar’,  the husband-wife team announced a movie based on Fakir Mohan Senapati’s epic novel ‘Chha Mana Atha Guntha’. The venture inadvertently got delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. However, she was able to revive the project in 1986 and independently produced and directed the same for which she received critical acclaim.

The muhurat of ‘Chha Mana Atha Guntha’
A scene from the movie, ‘Chha Mana Atha Guntha’

Meanwhile, she kept her passion alive by acting in television serials and radio plays and was soon conferred ‘A’ grade status in both.

In 1977 she acted in a non-home production movie titled ‘Amar Prem’ along with Rai Gour. The duo returned to home turf, as producer/director with Odia telefilms, ‘Samadhan’ and ‘Hawker’, for DD Odia, and Hindi telefilms, ‘Prashna’ and ‘Sopan’, for DD National.

A scene from telefilm ‘Sopan’

In the following years, she produced music videos, short films and documentaries for State Resource Centre (SRC). ‘Saria Pura Ra Sania’, penned by Indu Bhushan Misra, was a music video on literacy which created quite a stir among the common man. They identified themselves with the character Sania (played by Manoj Panda) and were motivated by the same.

A pic from their personal album

In 1996, she made ‘Salabeg’ for the Films Division. Satyaki Misra played the titular role of a Muslim devotee of Lord Jagannath under the meticulous direction of Parbati. IPS officer Binoy Behra was also a part of the cast.

Parbati Ghose with daughter Ratri and granddaughter Pavlina

Her other important works include short film ‘Pitei Nani’ on women emancipation, biopic on the noted philanthropist and freedom fighter Malati Choudhury, serial ‘Pura Puri Parabarika’ for Doordarshan, telefilm ‘Paribartan’ on tribal health in their local dialect and telefilm ‘Pratibha’ based on the famous novel by Utkal Kesri Dr. Hare Krushna Mahtab to mark the celebrations of 50 years of Independence.

(The above pictures have been sourced with special arrangement with the official site of Gour Prasad Ghose & Parbati Ghose)