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‘Pabaar’ Proves That Content and Storytelling Can Draw Even Odia Film-Agnostic Audiences to Theatres

Bhubaneswar: Babushaan Mohanty and Elina Samantaray-starrer Raja-release Odia film “Pabaar- Kichhi Satya Ghatanaru Anupranita” has proven that content is king in today’s entertainment arena. At a time when Odia cinema has been striving to shed its negative image of lacking original storytelling, “Pabaar” stands out as a testament to the power of compelling narratives.

The wave of change began with Amartya Bhattacharyya-directed and Swastik Choudhury-produced ‘Adieu Godard’ in September 2022. This movement has since brought forth some of the finest original story-based films such as “DaMAN,” “Pratiksha,” “Pushkara,” “Charitra,” “Phalguna Chaitra,” “Dashama,” and “Delivery Boy” over the past two years. This Raja festival, Odia cine-lovers were treated to ‘Kuhudi’ and ‘Pabaar.’

‘Kuhudi,’ starring Anubhav Mohanty, Prakruti Mishra, Kuna Tripathy, Dipanwit Dasmohapatra, and Supriya Nayak, directed by Ajay Padhi, tackled the sensitive concept of parental alienation and divorce. However, its treatment leaned towards moral lecturing, downgrading women who seek divorce, and whitewashing a male actor’s real-life controversies through his role as an advocate. Its appeal was more urban-centric, targeting city-dwellers.

In contrast, ‘Pabaar,’ directed by Ashok Pati, is set in a rural backdrop, portraying a contemporary village socio-political story that resonates with the masses in Odisha, where approximately 80 percent of the population lives in villages. This socio-comedy drama follows an illiterate scheduled caste individual thrust into the role of sarpanch by upper caste members after their Gram Panchayat was declared reserved for SC communities. The film symbolically showcases how traditional power-holders engage in corruption and malpractice, undermining the interests of the very people who elect them.

The central theme revolves around the protagonist’s journey to becoming a sarpanch and realizing his true ‘Pabaar.’ The story navigates through the fun-filled and entertaining life of a devout jatra fan, upper caste bullying, a tender love story, and reflections on social issues still plaguing Odisha’s villages.

Notable performances by actors like Krishna Kar (KK), Choudhury Jayprakash Das, Ravi Mishra, Satanu Guru, Papu Pom Pom, and some popular YouTubers add depth to the film, making it relatable for a diverse audience. The music is captivating, and the film successfully showcases various aspects of rural Odisha.

Despite the release of the high-profile Hindi film ‘Kalki,’ ‘Pabaar’ has been well-received and is performing well at the box office. This success of Pabaar showcase that, regardless of language or regional tags, quality content and presentation can make a film truly “Pabaarful.”

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