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Odia Classic ‘Maya Miriga’ Restored and Set for Screening at Il Cinema Ritrovato

Bhubaneswar: The illustrious Odia film ‘Maya Miriga’ (1983), directed by the revered filmmaker Nirad Mohapatra, is poised to captivate audiences once more with its restored version, premiering at the prestigious Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna on June 27. This screening will be introduced by Sandeep Mohapatra, son of Nirad Mohapatra, alongside Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) Director Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, marks a significant revival of a film that has long been heralded as a milestone in the history of Odia cinema.

Recently, on June 7, the film was showcased at the Bhubaneswar Film Festival in Bhubaneswar, reigniting interest in its poignant narrative and cultural significance. ‘Maya Miriga,’ which won the National Award upon its release, is a touching family drama that encapsulates the essence of middle-class family life in the 1980s. It vividly portrays the dynamics of a joint family and the struggles to maintain its unity.

Still from the movie

‘Maya Miriga’ has often been described as the most acclaimed film in Odia cinematic history. At the time of its release, it brought the regional film industry into the national and international limelight.

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Director of FHF, expressed his satisfaction with the restoration, noting the film’s critical condition before intervention. “Restoring ‘Maya Miriga’ has given us immense satisfaction as we have literally raised the film from the grave, having found the negative in a very poor condition abandoned in a warehouse,” Dungarpur said. He highlighted the film’s timeless resonance, portraying the disintegration of a middle-class joint family, a theme still relevant in contemporary India.

Reels of the Maya Miriga Before Restoration.

The restoration, undertaken by the Film Heritage Foundation, took three years to complete. Dungarpur emphasized the importance of the restoration, “We felt that ‘Maya Miriga’ was an obvious choice – not just for its beauty and the fact that it was in danger of vanishing, but also because it was a very important film from Odisha whose restoration would serve to bring Odia film heritage back into the limelight.”

The restoration process, which spanned nearly three years, began with an email from Sandeep Mohapatra to Dungarpur on November 17, 2020. The search for the original camera negative led to its discovery in a Chennai warehouse, where it had deteriorated severely. The negative underwent extensive manual repair before it could be sent to L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna for screening.

Restoration Work of the Film ‘Maya Miriga’

The restoration of the film was a herculean task, as the negatives recovered from the Chennai warehouse had deteriorated badly and were in a very poor condition.

Despite significant challenges, including vinegar syndrome, broken perforations, and color fading, the restoration team persevered. The 35mm prints accessed from NFDC-NFAI and scanned at Prasad Lab in Chennai supplemented the restoration, though these prints also presented issues of color fading and graininess. The grading process alone took nearly two months to balance the color and sharpness.

‘Maya Miriga’s’ restoration not only resurrects a cinematic gem but also celebrates the rich heritage of Odia cinema, ensuring that future generations can experience the film’s enduring narrative and emotional depth. The upcoming screening at Il Cinema Ritrovato promises to be a momentous occasion, honoring Nirad Mohapatra’s legacy and the meticulous efforts of those dedicated to preserving India’s film heritage.

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