Reproduced from my blog
Continued from previous post
Odia literature started spreading its wings in early 19th century in order to combat the growing influence of Bengali and Telugu culture in northern and southern parts of the state respectively. At that point of time, it would be safe to say that Odia literature was richer than that of Bengal. Post Tagore period, the tables had turned. There was no inclination towards creating work of literary merit. Rather it was all a pastime of the rich and powerful. Some notable exceptions do exist. Today, hardly anyone bothers about Odia literature. The older generations lament but have not done anything to entice the younger lot towards their rich culture and heritage. The only Odia stories, novels and poems I know of was taught in my school.
The less said about Odia cinema, the better. We are perhaps the greatest ‘copycats’ in the current era of strict intellectual property rules and copyrights. The ‘elite class’ has given up on regional cinema since 1980s. Our films boast of having English titles, frame-to-frame copied scripts, dull and boring lead actors, mandatory ill-fitted song and dance sequences and poor technical acumen. It has been ages since I saw a good Odia movie. I find the black and white ones way better than what is dished out today.
There has been no effort from any side to build a ‘Brand Odisha’ with a true authentic flavour. With the lack of a niche identity, there comes a deep inferiority complex. The average Odia is secretly ashamed of being one and makes no effort to change the status quo. Madhu Babu’s famous question still remains unanswered.