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”
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.
“ 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
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
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
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)
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