Maya Miriga (The Mirage) is a 1984 Odia film directed by Nirad N. Mohapatra. This was the first full length feature film by Mahapatra and dealt with the social issues of the time. Made with a shoestring budget, it went on to win general acclaim at film festivals and received many awards.

Cast

  • Kishori Devi
  • Sampad Mahapatra
  • Manaswini Mangaraj
  • Manimala
  • Binod Misra
  • Bansidhar Satpathy
  • Sujata Mahapatra
  • Bibekananda Satpathy
  • Shriranjan Mohant
  • Tikina

Crew

  • Production: Lotus Film International
  • Direction and Screenplay: Nirad N Mahapatra
  • Camera: Raj Gopal Mishra
  • Music: Bhaskar Chandravarkar
  • Editing: Bibekanand Sathapathy

Story

Maya Miriga is the story of a family, where three generations live under a decaying roof. The widowed grandmother is the titular head, her son Raj Kishore Babu, father of four sons and a daughter, is the gentle yet disciplined headmaster on the verge of retirement. The father demands of his sons, a diligent pursuit of education as the means of upward mobility. The centre of all their hopes is the brilliant second son studying in Delhi to get into the IAS. When he makes it to the coveted service, the family thinks all their sacrifices have been worth it. The family gets flattering proposals and the IAS probationer marries a city-bred girl above his status. The unvoiced protest comes from the eldest daughter-in-law Prabha, the beast of burden and kitchen slave. Her husband is a college lecturer. Prabha wonders if the IAS officer’s wife will share the chores. She is proved right when the new bahu defies tradition by opting to stay with her parents when the husband is away on training. With inexorable finality, she carts away her dowry of a new fridge and shiny laminated furniture to her independent home, setting off seething resentment in Prabha’s hither to submissive mind. Inevitably, she nudges her husband towards independence, and he opts to be deputed to Cuttack. The disintegration of the family is by now apparent. An uneasy silence follows. In the quietness of the night, and in the privacy of their rooms, the family members recollect the warmth of their togetherness, yet are painfully aware of the impossibility of staying together. Next morning, Tutu and his wife leave with their dowry items. Prabha, for the first time, declines to light up the oven feigning sickness. The mother has to take on the responsibility of the family. Reflecting on the state of affairs, Raj Kishore Babu ironically asks his two year old grandchild: “will you too leave us”.

Commentary

Noted film critic Maithili Rao termed the vanishing of Nirad N. Mohapatra from the movie making scene after such an ‘exquisitely elegiac, immensely moving first film’ as one of Indian cinema’s greater unanswered questions. I would rather call it a great loss for the Odia film industry and its patrons for being unable to inspire or instigate Mohapatra’s return, because a debutante with such consummate artistry could never have been a one-film wonder.

Awards

  • CANNES FILM FESTIVAL (1984) – Critics Week Section
  • MANNHEIM-HEIDELBERG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL –  Best Third World Film(1984)
  • NATIONAL FILM AWARDS (1984)  – Second Best Feature Film
  • INDIAN PANORAMA (1984)
  • HAWAII FILM FESTIVAL – Special Jury Commendation
  • ORISSA STATE FILM AWARD (1985) – Best Director,Best Film
  • LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL
  • LOCARNO FILM FESTIVAL FILM FESTIVAL
  • REGUS LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

TRIVIA

REFERENCE