Bhubaneswar, 16th April, 2016: The first edition of Odisha Art and Literature Festival (OALF) 2016 was inaugurated by eminent Odia poet Padmabibhusan Ramakanth Rath and Jnanapith awardee novelist Pratibha Ray by lighting the lamp.

The inauguration was followed by felicitation to eminent theatre, cine actor and director Sadhu Meher and noted Odia film producer Akhay Kumar Parija. After that, April-May edition of Odia magazine ‘Chera’ was released by Ramakanth Rath, Prathiba Ray, Sadhu Meher, Akhay Kumar Parija and Manu Dash, editor of the said magazine. Sam Pitroda, eminent telecom scientist, presented keynote address through video-clip and urged writers’ community to work for the development of the state. Giving the example of his own life, he called on the youth of Odisha to Dream Big for progress of the self as well as the state.

The first session of the two-days festival started with a panel discussion on “Future of Cinema” and among the panelist were eminent actors and directors like Sadhu Meher, Chakradhar Sahu, Himanshu Shekhar Khatua and Surya Deo, an acclaimed film critic, who introduced the panelists.

The post-lunch session was slated for poetry reading by young poets including Prabasini Mahakud, Ajit Dasmohapatra, Surya Mishra, Mukul Mishra, Biyotpragyan Tripathy, Rakshyak Nayak, Saroj Bal, Pratiksha Jena and Debendra K Bauri who enthralled the audience. Prior to the beginning of the poetry reading a collection of poems “Riot and other poems” by Debendra Kumar Bauri and translated by Manu Dash was released by eminent poet Devdas Chhotray who presided over the poetry reading session. Dr. Hrushikesh Mallick, an acclaimed poet, academic, critic and literary page editor of Dharitri put forth his views on contemporary Odia poetry and critically analyzed it.

In the afternoon, a panel discussion on “Future of Short-fiction” was moderated by Dash Benhur, an eminent short story writer, editor, columnist, eloquent speaker and cultural activist. In this panel Paramita Satpathy, Deba Prasad Dash and Susmita Rath discussed about the various facets of Odia short fiction.

The concluding session was on “Problems in staging our plays” which was moderated by eminent cine-actor and theatre director Ajit Das in which theatre directors like Dhira Mallick of ‘Satabdira Kalakar’, theatre director Abhinna Routray, Subodh Patnaik, Mihir Meher of ‘International Theatre’ and Manoj Patnaik of ‘Manana’ group had engaging discussion in which eminent theatre and cine actor Sadhu Meher also put forth his views on the issues relating to the problems of theater production in the state. This session was moderated by veteran journalist and Editor of OdishaLIVE, Mr. Nilambar Rath.

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