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Why PHERIAA is different- in my point of View

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Mihir Ranjan Acharya,Director, Odia film PHERIAA come back. Output Head News7, Bhubaneswar

I am speaking all these because I want to convey the message what are the interesting points those had been disturbing me to shape this story or film “PHERIAA Come Back”. The film has not come to public forum, hope very soon a preview screening is going to be held. If you get the chance to watch this film then you will notice the following points that will certainly give you a better taste.First of all five characters have been shaped as per the Pancha Bhoota. Praksah is Sky . He is idealistic and aims as high as sky . You can mark him wearing a blue T shirt marked as Sky. Jyoti, his wife is the next Bhoota – Bhoodevi or Earth.  She is tolerant, a good mother, a good wife. Even she embraces all her sorrow to her heart. In one dialogue it is being expressed by Uttam, she is closer to the village people than Prakash is. Uttam is Prakash’s friend, is marked as Water (Apa), only support of Prakash in the village. Jhoomuri is the village girl. She is AIR. Yes she can enter any ones house of the village. In the song she also expresses that no one can catch her.  Dandana the dishari is ‘Fire Agni’ . You can first mark him with  heating an iron rod in fire and branding it on a child’s belly (Chenka Chikitsa). Jugani is also again a FIRE Element in this story. When you see her airing the broth to lit the fire she marks her fire element in her charactor. And also She is a quarrelsome lady another fiery element in her character.

My aim was to give 3D shape to the characters who will move as per their own nature own manner. The main lead Prakash is such a type of character whom you might have seen in your day to day life- Idealistic, dreamy and also somehow stubborn. He has intended to do something great for his country- so he is idealistic-  and has left his high salary job in America and comes back to his village. Unless he is stubborn he could not have done it. He is dreamy that he feels he would change the village in a day. He is short tempered that he confronts and charges if he finds anything wrong. That may be is his tragic flaw.  So also you can find nice depth of Jugani and her her husband Durya’s character. Which I should not reveal it now but you can mark it when you watch the fil

Pheriaa is a tribute to Jesus Christ. Yes Jesus came to change the society but people crucified him. After his death people cry to call him back. Here Prakash dies and you will find he is lying stretching his two hands and one leg folded as if crucified, by the people. You can mark it in the film. Yes this scene is very close to my heart.

In many  good films you will always find a simpleton child. Here Ripun Prakash’s son has a magical role in giving a pace to the story. One time you will feel why this character is here but later you will find Ripun is the key plot point . If you ask why they don’t have a daughter, but a son ? why a son like in all usual films. Yes, the family have been framed as per a real life story of Aashish  and Ruta who have left their high salaried job and come back to a village in Maharashtra and changed its picture. E

This is an Odia film. Odisha is known for its rich tribal culture. So we have tried to keep the story fit in a tribal backdrop. You will find tribal dance in it you will find tribal life and the custom attached to it-  Iron branding treatment, murdering by the name of witch, animal sacrifice etc etc will be seen in this film. Odisha’s number is second as per witchcraft related crimes, Jharkhand is first.  In my career in journalism I have seen crime news related to witchcraft is always coming every now and then to our table. That’s why I thought story of our film will be on witchcraft crime. And also Pheriaa is a crime thriller.  Marriage and death, these two inseparable rituals are always in Indian life. Therefore many great films have marriage scenes or death scenes. Yes there is a marriage scene in this film. A girl is getting married to a dog. This is a unique tradition which is seen in tribal parts of Odisha, Chattishgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. This is very colorful scene of the film. Naxalism is also a part of tribal part of Odisha. You will find this element in this film .

Pheria is film of success and failure. You will find someone has failed for some reason and someone is succeeding for other reason.Pheriaa is an art film. Usually art films were not having songs. But we thought to go like modern day art films. So it is a new generation art house cinema. We have intentionally broke the linear story telling format – in which story starts from the beginning point and ends at the last point.  But in my point of view, story becomes more challenging when it moves in back and forward style, along with flash backs or reverse story telling.  And Pheriaa is moving like this way. During story discussion we had an argument to end the story just after climax. But my point of view was let’s give a different touch. And our story moves 10 minutes more after climax. In that part the real message lies. I don’t know you will like it or not.

One different touch that came to Pheriaa is that it was shoot in complete natural circumstances. I had never imagined this but it happened and made this film vibrant. Particularly the fair in the last part was a real fair. And the motif music has been created by our music director which is natural in tribal fair- that is called Gurmai in local language has been used in this. One thing happened while we were shooting in a village of Koraput Boriguma that music was played and we found some village women behaved unnatural, they just rolled on the ground (thakurani cought hold them- they claimed) and were out of control. Even we had to stop our shooting, and we could not do this later.

Two favourite dialogues there

-ବାବୁ ଏ ଗାଁରୁ ଅନ୍ଧାର ଦୂର କରିବା ଏତ ସହଜ କାତା ନୁଏଁ। ( Babu it is not so easy to wipe out darkness from this village.) Actually he means it is not so easy to bring changes in these people who themselves are in darkness.

ଗାଁ ମୋ ବିନା ରହି ପାରିବ କିନ୍ତୁ ମୁଁ ଗାଁ ବିନା ରହିପାରିବନି,( The village can stay without me but I can’t stay without this village.) This is very nostalgic dialogue when I go to my own village. The village is as beautiful as it was without me

Last and not least  you will find a book in this film repeatedly. That book is E-M Foster’s Where Angles fear to Tread. Focus was not the book but its title. The real proverb is Fools rushed in where angels fear to tread. It is my approach to my audience. Many great persons have tried to make movies of their dream, sometimes people have rejected them. Audience never care in what condition, in what budget, in what toil and trouble a film has been made. They may reject it in a clique. Like a fool I have rushed into making a film. My approach is if you find anything nuisance please please don’t be catchy to all those mistakes Forgive me.   ସୁଜନେ ନ ଧରିବ ଦୋଷ …..

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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