Report by Ashok Palit; Bhubaneswar: Like other forms of Indian classical dance, the Odissi style traces its origins back to antiquity. Dancers are found depicted in bas-relief in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneshwar) dating back to the 1st century BC.
The Natya Shastra speaks of the dance from this region and refers to it as Odra-Magadhi. Over the centuries three schools of Odissi dance developed: Mahari, Nartaki, and Gotipua. The Mahari tradition is the devadasi tradition; this is the use of women who are attached to deities in the temple.
The Nartaki tradition is the school of Odissi dance which developed in the royal courts. Gotipua is a style characteristed by the use of young boys dressed up in female clothing to perform female roles. Odissi dance was held in high esteem before the 17th century. Nobility were known for their patronage of the arts, and it was not unheard of for royalty of both sexes to be accomplished dancers. Like the other classical arts, dance was seen as a way to define India's national identity. Governmental and non-governmental patronage increased.
There were a number of people who were responsible for the reconstruction and popularisation of Odissi dance. Most notable are Guru Deba Prasad Das, Guru Kelu Charan Mahapatra..Guru Mayadhar Raut, Guru Pankaj Charan Das ,But odissi in form of feature film not yet made, for the first time young Odishi dancer Sawat Joshi is planning a full length feature film on Odishi. The movie will be of international standard and being planned to be showcased in various international film festivals. The movie is titled 'Kalpana' which will be directed by young director Ramesh Rout.
Kalpana' is a story of three young talents- Aditya, Arundhati, Anupama, who are ready to sacrifice their own dreams and aspirations to find the identity of their own land. The story takes place in 50s-60s. Kalpana is planned to be a documentary style of presentation. Some of the reputed artists from india and abroad are planned to be roped in to the film. While Saswat Joshi himself will play the character of Aditya, Ollywood actress Anu Choudhury will be seen in the role of Anupama, along with famous dancer of Italy Nicoletta Grasso in the role of Arundhati. World famous dancer Ileana Citaristi will also be starred in Kalpna in a striking role.