Brief Note On Oriya Drama – Odiya Drama
Oriya Drama is also known as Odia Drama, Oriyan Drama, Orissan Drama and Odisha Drama.
Drama in various forms had been a source of entertainment for the people of Orissa. The Oriya drama grew out of folk plays known as Yatra, Leelas and Suangs. With the spread of English education, Oriya dramatists came in contact with English plays.
The first Oriya drama was ‘Babji’, written by Jagmohan Lala in 1877. Another pioneer in Oriya drama was Rama Sankar Ray. Afterwards, many writers were active in the field, chief amongst them were Kampal Mishra, Padmanav Narayan Dev and Bhikari Charan Patnaik. Kothpur Math near Mahanga in Cuttack district was an important stage center for dramas.
In the early twentieth century, lyrical dramas of Baishnav Pani, Krushna Prasad Basu, Balakrushna Mohanty gained immense popularity. The greatest popular dramatist was Baishnab Pani. During early part of the twentieth century, Oriya Drama took a new turn in the hands of new and bold dramatists like Ashwani Kumar Ghosh. Between 1937 and 1962 he wrote many social, historical and mythological plays. After him, came Kalicharan Patnaik whose immortal creation was ‘Bhata’ (Rice) depicting man’s inhumanity in times of famine.
A number of Orissan dramatists were engaged in writing drama in the post independence period. Amongst them were Rama Chandra Mishra, Pranabandhu Kar, Manoranjan Das, Bhanja Kishore Patnaik, Gopal Chhotray, Annada Sankar Das, Bymokesh Tripathy, Kamal Lochan Mohanty etc. While Gopal Chhotray excelled in Radio plays, Manoranjan Das created Oriya Nabanatya Drama. His creations were ‘Amrutyasa Putra‘, ‘Aranya Fasal’.
Then followed a large number of dramatists in this line. But professional Oriya theatre gradually died around sixties. Some absurd dramas were being experimented during this period. Some of the young dramatists wrote dramas in popular Oriya (Loka Natya Sailee) and Group theaters staged them. After eighties, progressive group of theaters emerged and staged dramas with lot of experimentation.
Today radio and television plays are popular and Oriya drama has fallen into bad days. But most significant happening in the present times is the emergence of Yatra in a new form, which has become immensely popular.
Other Forms (Ramya Rachana)
Belles letteres is a new creation of prose literature and originated in the west. It is neither an essay nor a feature. It is also not a Lalit Nibandha. Ramya Rachana initially started in Oriya covering social problems with lot of humor and satire. Since then, much experimentation has taken place in this new form of writing.
In Oriya, development of Ramya Rachana is a post-war phenomenon. Fakir Mohan Senapati with his ‘Nananka Panji’ was a pioneer in the field. Then came a spate of writers like Gopal Chandra Praharaj, Govind Tripathy etc. In the post independence period, the most important writers of Ramaya Rachana were Krushna Prasad Basu (Akhada Ghare Baithak), Nityanancia Mohapatra (Patra 0 Pratima), Phaturanda (Maskra). Others who have received popular approbation in this field are Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu (Sekala Pakhab), Choudhury Hemakanta Mishra (Aghatan), Barna Charana Mitra (Anusha Tenusha), Chandra Sekhar Rath (Mu Satya Dharmi Kahuchi). The author of this book has written hundreds of Ramya Rachna (Drusti Kona and Phuturu Phaturu), using a new style with use of colloquial language and intense humour and satire covering contemporary problems. Large numbers of new writers in this field have emerged of late.