Lets’ Leave The Stars Alone & Worry More About Odia Film Industry’s Survival

Our media says they are stars. Cameras follow them wherever they go and whatever they do. Our Desi paparazzi hunt them to get a distant shot or a sound bite. They pose like stars too. In a tiny city like Bhubaneswar, their stardom looks more funny than glittering.

A film industry with an annual budget of less than Rs 5 crore can hardly produce a star. At best there can be actors of some repute. Their lives and livelihood are overrated, over projected and overhyped in media. In Odisha, we have a palm-sized film industry, but the media tries to put them on a very high pedestal. We troll them as easily as we create an aura around them. We never bother to delve into the reality of their lives.

I have seen the late Sarat Pujari, the finest star of Odia cinema regularly coming to Rabindra Mandap to watch a play or dance show in an auto rickshaw and living in a modest rented house all his life. We have also seen the neglected and poverty-stricken life of the legendary Samuel Sahu (Babi) or Hemant Das. Nothing much has changed since then. Our so-called superstars have lived a lower-middle-class life. That is real. But the media tries to hunt our actors to create controversy. We try to know all their secrets. We are keen to follow their love stories, sometimes real and mostly fake. The media feeds its belly with TRPs sucking out the private lives of the poor actors. Media makes them dazzle with empty imagination and hyper shoot. In reality, they live a simple life full of insecurities.

One may believe it or not, here we make films on a budget of Rs 15 to 25 lakh. Out of that small production cost, we can imagine what could be the remuneration of the artistes! Today, the highest paid Indian film star Prabhas gets Rs 100 to 180 crores remuneration per movie. (Source, IMDb) Imagine, his remuneration for one film can be the 25 years annual budget of the Odia film industry! The stardom in Bollywood and south film industries is humongous and larger than life. Stardom is all about purse and prosperity, added with huge popularity. Our desi stars live a middle-class life and their popularity is more or less like a gas balloon. It can fizzle out at any time. It is said that Jatra stars and TV serial actors earn more than the Odia film stars.

With such a meagre income, how do the stars dazzle? Do they really glitter or it’s a mere mirage? Paparazzi who run after stars can hardly understand the frustrating reality of their stardom.

Today, two well-known Odia movie stars Babusan and Prakruti Mishra are in the eye of a mega storm. TV journalists and camera persons are hounding them all over to make their controversial life saleable. It’s pitiable to see poor journalists, editors and commentators investing their valuable time in such an ignorable controversy. (The lover, the beloved and the wife – this triangular love and hate story has become so archaic, so predictable and so boring)

One should really be worried about the existence of Odia cinema. Can anyone say which the last super hit Odia movie was? In the entire history of Odia cinema, there are hardly a couple of movies which could collect Rs 50 lakh at the Box Office. Our film stars are at best struggling boys and girls who deserve our love and sympathy. Hounding them as stars and making their lives miserable should not be our game.

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