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A Tribute to Manoranjan Das

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Bhubaneswar: Eminent dramatist Manoranjan Das was the pioneer of the modern theatre movement in Odisha. Odia literature will now look empty without him after his death on Feb 17. He was the prominent face of Odia theatre, which has its unique place in Indian theatre.

The modern Indian playwright passed away following prolonged illness on Sunday night at his residence near College Square in Cuttack. He was 92. Born on March 10, 1923, Mr Das had written dozens of plays like ‘Kathagodha’, ‘Aranya Fasal’, ‘Jauban’, ‘August Na’, ‘Baxi Jagabandhu’, ‘Agami’, ‘Abarodha’, and ‘Sabdalipi’.

He was known for his experimental plays in Odia literature. Amongst his works, he was best launded for ‘Aranya Fasal’ for which he won Sahitya Akademi Award. Later, he was honoured with Padma Shri by Government of India in 2004. He was nominated by Srjan for the award in the category of “Eminent Person in Theatre” for the year 2009.

Mr Das had started his career as the Sub-Editor of the regional beat in All India Radio, Cuttack after completing his graduation in Arts and Law from Utkal University. He was the only person in Odisha to hold the prestigious position as the Secretary of three State Akademis – Odisha Sahitya Akademi, Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi and Orissa Lalit Kala Akademi.

He entered the world of literature with traditional play like ‘Ratri’ in 1942. It can be noted that he was the first playwright to introduce modern Odia literature in national scene. Even many of his plays have been translated into other languages – English, Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Marathi and Sanskrit.

Mr Das had contributed a lot in the field of cinema and broadcasting media. He was the prominent face on the stage besides writing dialogues for films. He has directed many plays for Radio. Even he had directed few films in the later period.

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