The reigning queen of Odia movies is Archita Sahu, who is also an accomplished exponent of Odissi dance. The Odia movie ‘Thukul’ is an Odissi-dance-based movie in which Archita plays the central role of an Odissi danseuse, twists and turns in her life and love . The lead male role in this movie is played by Babushan, son of Uttam Mohanty and Aparajita. Both Uttam and Aparajita used to play the lead roles in Odia movies.( Now they are playing character-roles.)
Here are some snap-shots of Archita:
The film has been directed by Prashant Nanda, who in his younger days, himself was the lead actor in many Odia movies. He was senior to me one year in College and was the Secretary of our College Dramatic Society for one year. The story and the dialogue are also by him.
‘Thukul’ in Odia is a word used in children’s games. When a player needs a short break in the game to attend to some other work, she/he says “Thukul”. When a player says this, the game is suspended till this player returns and gives a green signal to resume the game. The single word Thukul is uttered to stop the game. However, to release it, elaborate words, in poetic form, have to be said. The whole thing has been demonstrated in the beginning of the movie. In the film, the lead players utter this word when they want to stop the other from doing what he/she is doing or going to do at that particular time. This technique has been used in the film to set turning points in the story. However, when the word is used in the film on one of the occasions,, it did not seem to me to have added much value. The word and the technique have been very effectively and meaningfully used subsequently.
Here is the full movie:
Source of videos: YouTube
By the way, a question now comes to mind. After the English spelling of ‘Orissa’ became ‘Odisha’ on 4.11.2011 after passing of The Orissa (Alteration of Name) Bill 2010 and the Constitution (113th Amendment) Bill,2010 in the Parliament, should Odissi dance, which has its origin in Odisha, be now called ‘Odishi’ as the word is pronounced in Odia? A Member of Parliament from Odisha, during the discussion of these Bills in Parliament, went even to suggest that the English spelling of name of the State should be changed to ‘Odissa’. Was this in reverse gear to synchronise with the prevalent English spelling of Odissi dance?