Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Bhubaneswar: First edition of Odisha Art and Literature Festival (OALF) held for two days fron 16th April at Press Club of Odisha in the capital city of Bhubaneswar. It was inaugurated by eminent Odia poet Padmabibhusan Ramakanth Rath and Jnanapith awardee novelist Pratibha Ray by lighting the lamp.

The inauguration was followed by felicitation to eminent theatre, cine actor and director Sadhu Meher and noted Odia film producer AkhayKumar Parija. After that April-May edition of Odia magazine ‘Chera’ was released by Ramakanth Rath, Prathiba Ray, Sadhu Meher, Akhay Kumar Parija and Manu Dash, editor of the said magazine. Sam Pitroda, eminent telecom scientist, gave keynote address through video-clip and urged writers’ community to work for the development of the state. Giving the example of his own life, he called on the youth of Odisha to Dream Big for progress of the self as well as the state.

The first session of the two-days festival started with the panel discussionon “Future of Cinema” and among the panelist were eminent actor and directors like Sadhu Meher, ChakradharSahu, Himanshu S Khatua and Surya Deo, an acclaimed film critic, who introduced the session.

The post-lunch session was slated for poetry reading by about 15 young poets including Prabasini Mahakud, Ajit Dasmohapatra, Surya Mishra, Mukul Mishra, Biyotpragyan Tripathy, Rakshyak Nayak, Saroj Bal, Pratiksha Jena and Debendra K Bauri who enthralled the audience. . Prior to the beginning of the poetry reading a collection of poems “Riot and other poems” by Debendra Kumar Bauri and translated by Manu Dash was released by eminent poet Devdas Chhotray who presided over the poetry reading session. Dr. Hrushikesh Mallick, an acclaimed poet,academic, critic and literary page editor of Dharitri put forth his views on contemporary Odia poetry and critically analyzed it.

In the afternoon, a panel discussion on “Future of Short-fiction” was moderated by Dash Benhur, an eminent short story writer,editor, columnist, eloquent speaker and cultural activist.In this panel Paramita Satpathy, Deba Prasad Dash and Susmita Rath discussed about the various facets of Odia short fiction.

The concluding session was on “Problems in staging our plays” which was moderated by eminent cine-actor and theatre director Ajit Das in which theatre directors like Dhira Mallick of ‘Satabdira Kalakar’, theatre director Abhinna Routray, Subodh Patnaik, Mihir Meher of ‘International Theatre’ and Manoj Patnaik of ‘Manana’ group had engaging discussion in which eminent theatre and cine actor Sadhu Meher also put forth his views on the issues relating to the problems of theater production in the state .Nilambar Rath, former editor, ETV News and editorial director of Odish LIVE and brilliantly moderated the session on drama.

On concluding day, young publishers of Odia language discussed about the “Woes of young publishers in regional language ( Desi Sahitya je banijakala) which was moderated by eminent writer, critic, editor, journalist and speaker Asit Mohanty. Four young publishers vividly narrated about their problems facing by them in publications. Banoj Tripathy, Saroj Bal, Raj Kishore Das and Subhranshu Panda discussed in the panel and the program was introduced by Manu Dash.

After that the poetry reading session started in which eminent and modern architect of Odia poetry including Ramakanth Rath, Sitakant Mahapatra, Dr. Prativa Satpathy and Mamta Dash read their poems. In post-lunch session,Dr. Debasis Panigrahi moderated the session called “Odia novel in ICU” in which young and acclaimed novelist like Ajay Swain, Paresh Patnaik and Chirashree Indrasingh intimately discussed about the problems of novel writing in Odia. The next session was on “Literature and Religion” which was moderated by eminent writer Santanu Kumar Acharya and the subject was vividly discussed by Rakishore Mishra and Manju Ray. The last and interesting session was on “Translating Odisha” in which Prof. Bikram K Das, an eminent linguist and translator, Prof. JatinK Nayak, Sangram Jena and Chandan Das participated. This session witnessed hot argument between the panelist and the audience.

Later on, Manu Dash, festival director,Odisha Art and Literature Festival proposed vote of thanks to the participating writers, electronics media and press and the sponsors for supporting in organizing two-day long festival and declared the festival 2016 end and announced that the next edition of Odisha Art and Literature Festival would be held in month of January 2017 to avoid extreme heat wave in the city.

This festival was organized by “Dhauli Review Trust” and was supported by “Oil India Limited”, “Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd”,“National Aluminium Company Ltd” and “Aditya Birla Group” (Lapanga Unit),” Paradeep Phosphate Ltd” and “Paradip Port” for extending their help.