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Odia Art Film director Shantanu Mishra

by ASHOK PALIT

On the eve of Director Birth Anniversary

Among those few film makers who led the alternative cinema movement in Odisha, the name of Shantanu Mishra comes second, the first being ManmohanMohapatra. While Mohapatra has directed 12 films, Mishra has four films to his credit and this is the second highest number in the arena of art cinema direction. Mishra, a post graduate in Mathematics, has enormous stage experience in acting, writing and directing. His debut film Mukti Masal which bagged flve prestigious state awards in 1990, also fetched one award for Mishra for the story of the film. Mukti Masal’s storyline revolved around revolution of the oppressed class, while his second film Asha depicted the conflict among individual families and the society treating them as three characters in the society. His third venture Mu Ra Murchhana portrays the expectations, desire and dreams of a middle class family and his last film Doora Diganta shows the conflict of human existence due to modernisation. Besides feature films, Mishra has also made a number of documentaries. Shantanu Mishra takes hibernation from direction more than 10 years.

Coming from an educated Brahmin family, born on 10, April, 1954 at village Gatanai in Kendrapada district. His father Kasinath Mishra was well known figure in the village and mother Sukadei was house wife. Santanu Mishra did his schooling at Gatanai and pre-university from Ravenshaw college,Cuttack After doing graduation from  Kendrapada  College, did postgraduate  from Utkal University,Vanivihar.He was also  state level Hockey and football player during his college  and university career. He   had started his service career as a Medicine Representative, then he got  Probationary Officer in Punjab National Bank, disgusted with day today bank clerical job one day he quiet   the PO job and joined as Senior inspector in cooperative  department. After one year he had joined in A.G office, during his service career in AG office, Bhubaneswar.   Shantanu Mishra was actively participated in theater movement with the member of Aneswana group. In order  to more active in cinema field he had leave the job from AG,Bhubaneswar in 1998, He believed that, ‘showing extreme antipathy against the evils and deeply caring the finer elements of the society is the responsibility of every artists of all ages’. In his later life he tried to amalgamate Marxism with the ideas of the psychoanalyst, CG Jung because he felt that there is no inherent contradiction between Marx and Jung. On the contrary, one is compensating the other. Film director Shantanu Mishra passed away on April 11, 2013 last at the age of 59.

However, in an interview he had characteristically remarked, “If tomorrow or ten years later, a new medium arrives which is more powerful than cinema, I will kick out cinema and embrace the new medium.” It is understandable that Shantanu Mishra was too much concerned to reach out to the people, as he believed that “people are the last word of all form of arts”. His first directorial debut was Mukati Masal was out and out influenced by Marx and Jung. Commercial failure, lack of proper recognition and always short of money was slowly destroying the man. Shantanu’s descend to alcoholism   at his last phase of life he had translated Attacks and Robbery on Srimandir  in English and with great disappointed  he had started a self  autobiography book titled “Death of a Director”

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1-Ashrumochan & Samita in“ Dure Digante ”2- Puspa Panda in “Mu’ra Murchhana”
His debut film “Mukti Masal’s storyline revolved around revolution of the oppressed class, while his second film “Asha” depicted the conflict among individual families and the society treating them as three characters in the society. His third venture “Mu Ra Murchhana” portrays the expectations, desire and dreams of a middle class family and his last film “Doora Diganta” shows the conflict of human existence due to modernisation. Besides feature films, Mishra has also made a number of documentaries. He was working on the new project after a hiatus of over 10 years. He was working on Sesa Chithi, a film on slum life, which remained incomplete. He had once said that lived in a slum to understand the various aspects and issues of slum dwellers. “Slums actually illustrate unity in diversity, but it is sad that there is no literature on the slum life of Odisha,” he had said. (The Telegraph, October29.2010)

Eminent director  Manmohan Mahapatra   remarked that “Shantanu Mishra has an excellent knowledge on script, as he came from theatre background he always give more important on dialogue delivery,inspite of all hurdles he continue to direct art cinema”,Susant Mishra an eminent art cinema director also comments “In spite of lucrative offer from commercial film producer Shantanu Mishra  stick himself with art cinema only”

In  1990, with “Mukti Mashal” Mishra joined the bandwagon of directors of the alternative mold. The story which evolved a mass consciousness, according to Mishra, was actually only a depiction of his own village life in Kendrapara.

Awards galore stand small in comparison to the larger-than-life image of Asha, the protagonist in the film of the same name released in 1993. Shantanu Mishra’s next venture “Mu’ra Murchhana” (1995) is a wise experimentation with dreams, ambitions and material aspirations of a lower-middle economic class family. The film begins with one rainy night and ends in another. Between the events, there lies one process. The process of material ambitions which enlivens and brightens up an otherwise dormant parasitic family.
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“ Dure Digante” films focus on traditional fishermen resistance to the mechanization of fishing as a metaphor, the conflict between modernsation and human existence till   perturbed over the denigration of environment. Manua is the traditional fisherman who catches fish so that his mother can sell them in the neighboring village. This is the only source of sustain. His fishing boat made in the traditional pattern is the carrier of his hopes. His emotional comfort however comes from the traditional folk dance he relishes to perform. Suddenly modernism strikes. Motor-driven fishing boats help prawn cultivation. Economic parameters change in the village. A fisherman, he has lived his life like a fish. Unheard and unwept, he has never been counted. There has been no difference between an inanimate and his life. A film with a highly philosophical undertone about life, its absurdities and helplessness men feel in anguish, Shantanu Mishra has excelled in his aim.
FILMOGRAPHY OF SANTANU MISHRA
Mukati Mashal(1990)
Production: Akshaya Rath

Story, Screenplay, Direction: Shantanu Mishra

Cinematography: B. Satish

Editing: Bidhu Raul

Music: Mohini Mohan Patnaik

Cast: Ashrumochan Mohanty, Akshaya Mohanty (Kashyapa), Snigdha Mohanty, Dhir Mallik, Bhaskar Muduli, Pranab Sahu

Asha (1993)

Banner: Trupti Visuals

Production: Alaya Mohanty

Story: Alaya Mohanty

Screenplay and Direction: Shantanu Mishra

Music: Prasanna Mishra

Cast: Aparajita, Jayaprakash Choudhuri, Binayak Mishra, Debjani

Mu’ra Murchhana (1995)

Production: Arati Production

Direction: Shantanu Mishra

Story: Pratibha Rani Mahapatra

Screenplay and Dialogue: Shantanu Mishra

Art Direction: Pitabasa Senapati

Cinematography: Jagan Brahma

Editing: Bijay Mishra

Makeup: T. Ramayah

Executive producer: Radhanath Sarangi

Producer: Raj Kishore Sahu

Cast: Ashrumochan Mohanty, Pushpa Panda, Jaya Prakash Das, Dr Chittaranjan Mishra, Pitambar Sarangi, Bidyutlata, Jayanti Kar, Jemadei

Dura Diganta (1997)

(Color, 35 MM)

Production: Akshaya Rath

Camera: Malay Ray

Audiographer: Nagen Barik

Editing: Chakradhar Sahu

Art: Sangram Maharana

Music: Ekan

Story, Screenplay and direction: Shantanu Mishra

Cast: Ashrumochan Mohanty, Sasmita, Bhaskar Muduli, Bina, Kalinga

Documentary Film:Contribution of Odisha in freedom movement(produced by Information and Public relation department)

Womens Empowerment,Ama Paribesh,Speed(on road Accident)
Tele Film:Barsharani

 NB:this article is being prohibited under copy right act copy of this article in any form without the permission of author will be put under law.

About Ashok Palit

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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