eminar on Gopal Chhotray Birth Centenary
Gopal Chhotray’s Play will enrich Indian Aesthetic and literature; Manoj Mitra
It’s not a good sign that we don’t know much about Gopal Chhotray in Bengal and to bridge the gap we need to undertake a project to translate his entire major plays into other Indian languages from Odia, said Manoj Mitra, the veteran Bengali playwright and theatre legend. Inaugurating the birth centenary celebration of renowned Odia playwright, fiction writer, poet, Padmashree awardees and a legendary cultural icon Gopal Chhotray’s birth centenary seminar Mr. Mitra paid his rich tribute to Shri Chhotray. While talking on Indian theatre he emphasized more on translation and it is only through translation we can take the genius of Gopal Chhotray to the larger Indian audience, said Shri Mitra. The birth centenary seminar was being organized by Sahitya Akademi in the Hotel Kalinga Ashok, Bhubaneswar on 17th September 2017. In the inaugural session secretary of Sahitya Akademi K. Sreenivasrao welcomed the guests and Gaurahari Das, the convener of Odia advisory board introduced the basic theme of the seminar to the audience. Shri Das said that Gopal Chhotray was a legend whose plays are equally appreciated by the masses and the classes. Prof. Sumanyu Satpathy, very eminent scholar and critic outlined the varieties and vitalities of Gopal Chhotray’s play works in his erudite key note address. He also said that every play of Gopal Chhotray begins with an extraordinary thematic throw and that force the audience to go deeper into the subsequent scenes to come. He was one of the mass icons of our time who was capable to understand the pulses of his time and the world, Shri Satpathy told. Veteran theatre personality Shri Ananta Mohapatra presided over the inaugural session and n his presidential address Shri Mahapatra described Gopal Chhotray as the biggest iconoclast of his time. Supplementing Manoj Mitra’s proposal of translation, Shri Mohapatra told that as neighbor Bengalis and Odias must translate each other with great frequency. Goutam Paul, the officer-in-charge of Sahitya Akademi, Kolkota proposed the official vote of thanks.
The first academic session of the seminar was quite vibrant and the speakers in the panel spoke out multi faceted talents of Shri Chhotray with great details and clarity. The session was begun with the display of a documentary film on Shri Chhotray’s life and work. Talking about Gopal Chhotray’s life as a writer and cultural activist, Biyotprajna Tripathy, fiction writer and film maker presented panoramic snap shots of the maestro’s life. She said that the family and the world co existed in one single point and that point was the artist within the veteran. She very carefully presented three vital aspects of Gopal Chhotray’s literature; political world view, sense of humor and involvement with the people. Following Ms. Tripathy veteran film maker, actor and political figure Shri Prashanta Nanda spoke about his personal intimacy with the great playwright. Exact pick of words for a dialogue makes most of his plays and films super hits, said Shri Nanda. Scholar and the former head of the Odia department of Utkal University Prof. Sanghamitra Mishra presented her paper on the thematic varieties and multi folded styles of Chhotray’s play. Presiding on the session veteran playwright and film personality Bijay Mishra spoke about his friendship with the legend and also he reminded the audience that there will be no second Gopal Chhotray in any part of the world. Banoj Tripathy, Member, Odia advisory board, proposed the vote of thanks.
The post lunch session was focused on other genres of Chhotray’s writing. Playwright and scholar Dr. Bijay Kumar Satpathy spoke about the autobiography of Shri Chhotray. Prof. Satpathy said that “Bharasa’, “parakalama” and “Shankha Sindura’ are three major plays for which he shall be remembered for ever. Talking on the political humor and satire in Chhotray’s play veteran journalist Prashanta Patnaik spoke that Chhotray was a classic blend of intellectual intensity and general sensibilities. Presenting the concluding remarks on the seminar renowned poet, fiction writer and celebrity lyricist, also the son of Gopal Chhotray, Shri Devdas Chhotray presented an outstanding personal narrative on his father’s life and literature. His speech was intensely personal blended with an objective analysis. The concluding session was being chaired by Prof. Prafulla Kumar Mohanty. In his presidential address Shri Mohanty analyzed the unique dramatic language of Shri Chhotray. Vote of thanks was proposed by Banoj Tripathy.
The seminar was a fully crowded one a galaxy of writers, theater personalities and film folks attended it. Former president of Sahitya Akademi Ramakant Rath, fictionist Bibhuti Patnaik, Dhira Biswal, Adhyapak Biswaranjan, Rajendra Kishore Panda and many more writers were present in the event.