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Restored by Film Heritage Foundation, ‘Maya Miriga’ will be shown at the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy

A movie that was made with great difficulty, lay forgotten in a warehouse for years, and was found in poor condition – Maya Miriga by renowned Odia director Nirad Mohapatra is destined to be a case study in courses about film preservation.

The 1984 production was restored by the Film Heritage Foundation after a three-year effort. Maya Miriga (Mirage) will be premiered at Il Cinema Ritrovato (June 24-30), the festival in Bologna, Italy, which showcases newly restored classics. For Mohapatra’s family as well as FHF founder Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Maya Miriga’s resurrection is nothing short of miraculous. The back stories about Maya Miriga are as dramatic as the film itself is quiet. Mohapatra’s screenplay captures the gradual changes that cause a joint family to implode. Three generations live in a rambling house in Puri. “Here we are, so many and with so many demands,” a character says.

The eldest son and his wife, who are expecting a child, have come to resent the pressure of educating four more siblings. When one of the children becomes an Indian Administrative Service officer, material conditions improve but the bonds fray. The restlessness is most vividly expressed in the competing ambitions of the women, especially the household’s eldest daughter-in-law. Made in the realist tradition of the Indian New Wave movement, Maya Miriga explores its themes subtly, without being judgmental. The cast is largely non-professional, with the filmmaker’s brother, future NDTV journalist Sampad Mahapatra, playing the IAS officer. The beauty of the film is that it is timeless. Everyone can relate to it.”

The miraculous resurrection of Nirad Mohapatra’s Odia classic ‘Maya Miriga’

Mohapatra had directed a few documentaries before embarking on his fiction project. With barely any money at his disposal, the Film and Television Institute of India alumnus made Maya Miriga with 16mm film cobbled together from leftover stock at processing laboratories.

Production on Maya Miriga dragged out for nearly a year. The movie is dedicated to the brilliant production designer Bansi Chandragupta, who had worked extensively with Satyajit Ray. Chandragupta was all set to work on the film when he died suddenly during a trip to New York in 1981. After Maya Miriga, Mohapatra continued to make documentaries. He also lectured widely on cinema and served on the juries of several film festivals. But he never directed another feature. The one that he did make largely disappeared from view.

About Editor in chief

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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