‘Discontent’ & ‘Drama’ Over Odisha Sangeet Akademi Awardees List

Lately, awards seem to have become controversy’s favourite child with almost every award ceremony grabbing headlines for some irregularity or the other.

The Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi recently announced the awards for the year 2017-18 and 2018-19. Artistes excelling in their respective fields will be awarded for their work in different categories including music, dance and drama.

The announcements were soon followed by controversy and dissatisfaction among artistes who have been left out from the list of winners. The contention over the names of the winners is getting stronger day by day. Many senior artistes have written letters to various authorities, expressing their disappointment.  The latest to join the disgruntled artistes, is singer Debasish Mohapatra.

Accusations range from irregularities in the awards, favouritism and even pecuniary influence and the selection process.

Some disappointed artistes, it is said, have written letters to the Chief Minister, 5Ts Secretary, the Minister of Odia Language and Literature, heads of departments concerned  and Sangeet Natak Akademi Odisha, demanding investigation and strong action against the irregularities.

The Culture Department, on the other hand, is silent over the matter. It is also being said that the winning artistes have been given a plan to organise a spectacular function to showcase their talent before the audience.

According to sources, the winning artistes have been told that their names were selected despite them not being very popular and therefore, they have to organise a big festival in Bhubaneswar, sing and dance and act to let people know about their calibre and thus, drown the voices questioning their talent.

Heeding the advice, some artistes, are said to have immediately booked Rabindra Madap and Bhanja Kala Mandap and hired other performers for the purpose, the sources further revealed.

According to rule, only Akademi winners can recommend the names of other winners. Some nominations were made on that basis, in which many established and older artistes were left out and younger artistes were picked as winners. One of the victims of this selection process, an established singer, has expressed his ire and has said that he will inform the higher authorities about it.

Some artistes, living in far off places, who have not been selected, are wondering what to do while the artistes living in or near Bhubaneswar are making rounds of Sangeet Natak Akademi or getting reassurance over the phone in a pre-recorded voice that says, “Don’t worry…Please have patience…Your biodata is with us…Wait for the next time.”

Whatever the outcome may be in the following days, one thing is for sure, the people of Bhubaneswar are going to enjoy many shows during November and December when the weather is mostly pleasant.

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