Report by Ashok Palit, Bhubaneswar: The premier show of Sabyasachi Mohapatra’s upcoming Sambalpuri movie, ‘Sala Budha’, (The Stupid Old Man) was held on 9th December,20 12 at JayadevBhawan,Bhubaneswar. It was also the occasion for the Mahapatra Movie Magic unit to mark the 25 years silver jubilee celebration of ‘Bhukha’, Mahapatra’s earlier Sambalpuri movie (1989), which happens to be the first ever movie to be made in Sambalpuri/Koshli dialect.
Eminent director Niraod mahapatra was inaugurating the event; many popular and known personalities from Odia and Sambalpuri Film Industry were present in the show along with the Guests of the meeting. All cast and crew of ‘Sala Budha’ and ‘Bhukha’ were honored on the stage. On the eve of this function director Sabyasachi Mohapatra narrated a real story (that the ‘Kumar Pictures’ unit had witnessed during shooting of ‘Bhukha’) to convey a message that how the producer had provided his best despite the scarcity of money.
‘Sala Budha’ is the story of a generous old man and set in the back drop of a village in the western Odisha during the reign of Maharaja Biramitradaya Singhdeo, who ruled Sonepur in the 20th century in the pre-independence era.
The old man is the Village head (Gauntia) who tries to help the villagers despite all odds is the summary. Like every year, villagers pray for good rains but the imminent drought and their anxious wait for the clouds form the backdrop of Sala Budha. Despite adverse economic conditions the village chief does not loose hope. It is this grand old man who keep the folks motivated and engaged for a bright future is the "hero of the circumstances".
Hope, values and faith are the undercurrents of this tribal village life. The film captures the rich tribal ethos of the Sambalpur region of Odisha. The legacy of rich music, dance and their ethnic language provide the original milieu to this rustic story based on the novel Sala Budha written by Kapileswar Prasad Mohapatra( Father of the director.To capture the periodical ethos this film is made in black and white, other cast and crew are -Producer : Sushant Mohapatra, Co-Producer : B. Chintu Mohapatra, Director of Photography : Aum Prakash Mohapatra, Editor : Rajendra Mahapatra, Associate Director : Kumar CDev Mohapatra.
As per the director this film is a tribute to senior citizens and the ageing population of India on the occasion of cinema in India celebrating its 100 years. I think India's future rests on the strength and faith of people like my hero in Sala Budha. Today youth needs hope, determination and strong values and my protagonist in the film is an anchor for the villagers in distress
Atal Bihari Panda, who has played the pivotal character of the old man, has done a great job. Tapaswini Guru, playing the character of the old man’s wife has also done her best. Among the others, performance of Netranand Barik, Prithviraj Nayak in the character of the king, Purusottam Mishra and Shobha Sinha are to be remembered. Other characters have been played by known Odia film actor Ratan Meher, Bijaya Tripathy, Gadadhar Barik, Pradumya Sahu, Pabitra, Dilip and others.
While the music, scored by Ramesh Mahananda bears the real charm of Odia folklore, the art work and the typical folksy properties used in the film claims huge appreciation. The film is based on a novel written by Kapilesh Prasad Mohapatra and (unofficially) the story is claimed to be his own story, borne during his lifetime.