Bhubaneswar– This year marks the 90th anniversary of filmmaking in what is now called Odisha and isn’t it time to revive the state-run Kalinga Studio that was established nearly 35 years ago but has for a variety of reasons fallen on hard times?
“We are preparing an action plan for renovating the studio to facilitate shooting of movies and teleserials. Several projects have already been taken up for revival of the studio,” Odisha Film Development Corporation (OFDC) managing director Bibhuti Bhusan Behera told IANS.
Spread over 25 acres, the studio was established on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar in 1982. It attracted major filmmakers from all over the country during the 1980s and the 1990s. But in course of time, the studio lost out due to poor infrastructure and obsolete equipment.
“There was a budgetary allocation of Rs.2 crore (over $300,000) for developing the studio’s infrastructure in 2015-16. This year also, the government has made a Rs.2 crore allocation. We are trying to revive the studio with limited resources,” Behera said.
He said several floors will be created in the coming days with recording facilities while a village complex is on the verge of completion and would facilitate film shooting. He said the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) has been tasked with the studio’s development works.
At present the corporation has drawn a Rs.7 crore plan for developing ancillary infrastructure of Kalinga Studio to augment revenue generation. It has proposed setting up an open-air amphitheatre, three studios and an eco-park. An art theatre and a 300-capacity cultural centre will be built for multi-purpose activities like theatre, film screenings and cultural functions.
The OFDC has also proposed an eco-park over five acres for outdoor shooting.
“The proposals are in the pipeline….we are working on it. Presently we are concentrating on the village complex and construction of boundary wall of the studio,” OFDC deputy general manager P.K. Misha said.
OFDC chairman Munna Khan, who is also an actor, told IANS the infrastructure development in the studio would give a boost to film making in the state.
“About 25 Odia movies are being filmed every year in the state. Due to lack of infrastructure, the producers and directors are moving outside the state for shooting. So, once Kalinga Studio is developed, they would prefer to shoot and record movies for cost saving while it would enable OFDC to generate revenue,” Khan said.
Notably, the studio has cumulative losses of Rs.3.22 crore mainly due to inadequate production of films and changes in filmmaking technology. The studio has an annual income of Rs.20 lakh from its existing infrastructure.
For the record, the first Odia film “Sita Bibaha” was released at Puri’s Laxmi Talkies on April 28, 1936. Directed by Mohan Sunder Deb Goswami, the movie was based on the “Ramayana”, had 14 songs, 29 scenes and was made for Rs 29,000. To put this in perspective, you would need to purchase 10 grams of gold! (IANS)