Plea to create Prof Dev Mohapatra Foundation

Nov 23, 2018
New Delhi:A strong plea for creating a Foundation to propagate the work done by late Shri Dev Mohapatra, renowned author and theatre personality was made at his Birth Centenary celebration held in New Delhi on Sunday.

Large number of people from the world of film,theatre, literature,government, paid glowing tributes to Mr Dev Mohapatra.

The Birth centenary celebrations were held at the National School of Drama where Prof.Mohapatra taught for more than 30 years. Mr Mohapatra also an Odia author of repute had published the first hand written illustrated magazine in Odia language from Bombay in 1948.

Former Ambassador to US Shri Lalit Mansingh, Chief Guest on the occasion called Shri Dev Mohapatra the “proud son of Odisha” who was “multi talented and very pious person”.

Giving details of the ups and downs in the life of Mr Mohapatra, who as “ a handsome young man left home to become an actor in Bombay”, he said ,his life was very much like a “Bollywood film” and proposed that a film should be made on Dev Mohapatra’s life , if not by Bollywood then by Odisha film industry.

He said Dev Mohapatra had a rich and satisfying life fulfilling his dream of creativity and love for teaching at the National School of Drama. Large number of talented students who were Bollywood celebrities today are product of Mr Dev Mohapatra’s teachings ,he added.

He said Dev Mohapatra’s wife Mrs Niroo Mohaptra,89, who was also present at the Birth Centenary celebration supported all her husband’s endeavours and sacrificed her career to raise a talented family which requires “rare courage and determination.”

Resident Commissioner Odisha Sanjeeb Kumar Mishra, stressing the need for having a Foundation in the name of Prof. Dev Mohapatra said, “The foundation will be one of the ways to tell people about the illustrious life of Dev Mohapatra and all that he has done for the society. He was a teacher, who followed his passion and spread his knowledge to many. It is something that the people of Odisha can be proud of across the world. What I saw about his life through the event and exhibition, I can proudly say that he is an idol for the people of Odisha and all of India.”

He said he would be associated with any future activity connected with creation of a Foundation in the name of late Prof.Dev Mohapatra. He said Prof Mohapatra was a role model and for his Foundation individual , public sector and corporate contributions should be collected before government recognition is sought.

Actor Ashish Vidyarthi paying his tribute Prof.Dev Mohapatra said, “ I have been crafted by him”.
He said, “Mr Mohapatra was an extraordinary human being. He was the most silent and loving human being one can ever imagine. A man with no hypocrisy about him, he was full of love. “
He said he had learnt from Mr Mohapatra that being an actor or playing a character did not mean you have to be “rude,moody or uppity”..Mr Mohaptra himself was humility personified, he added.

Fakir Mohan Foundation chairperson Dr Monica Das said the amazing contribution made by multi faceted Prof.Dev Mohapatra who was a silent worker in the field of arts,literature,theatre seems to have gone unnoticed and “unsung” so far. She stressed the need for compiling his work ,documents etc. and said the matter would be pursued with the Odisha Museum to preserve his work to be show cased for posterity.

Padma Bhushan Jatin Das said that he was closely associated with the family as Mrs Niroo Mohapatra daughter of Padamshri Paramananda Acharya famous archaeologist of Odisha and his family were neighbors in Mayurbhanj.

He said Mr Mohapatra was a legend but we do not have a sense of historicity to make such persons role models for the future. He said a book on him or an award in his name must be instituted.

Son of Mr Dev Mohapatra , Senior Journalist Satyen Mohapatra said it is more than 20 years since my father passed away, but the imprint he has left behind in the minds of all the people whose lives he touched is going to remain forever.
“I think if all of us are willing we can work towards building a Foundation in his name to carry forward his ideals and work in the field of culture and literature.”he added.
In messages renowned writer in Odia and English Mr Manoj Das who used to write for Kumkum said, Kumkum was a phenomenon like a fairy tale or miracle for young students at that time pictured by hand, lithographed. “He made me know that I could write and be read”Mr Das added.

In a message film actor K.K. Raina said about Prof Dev Mohapatra,” He was so gentle in solving problems that if I am able to direct today or do set design, it is only and only because of Dev Sir. He will always stay in my heart.”

Renowned film director Sai Paranjpye also said in a message, that Prof.Dev Mohapatra made them “ realise that stage was very important part of a stage play a production – You can have a good script, good actors ,good direction but you have to have a fantastic backdrop ,must have a fantastic stage ,a setting to mount your production, and that is what he taught us .He taught us the importance of the stage décor and stage design -and we made little models – he told us what we lacked ,what improvement we needed – it was fun working with him -not like a class more like working with a friend and we enjoyed his classes as it was like doing something exciting together.”
“I cant tell what the Mohapatra couple meant to me in those days of finding my career, finding my feet finding my wings to fly and I think Prof Mohapatra did a lot to help me to do that. He had a lovely smile and had a beautiful dimple when he smiled, I remember him with such gratitude and such affection,”she wrote in a message.

The program organized by the Mohapatra family with support Ministry of Tourism and Culture Odisha and National School of Drama had a photographic exhibition on Mr Mohapatra ,his life and work, a small play based on dramatized version of the story “Madhusajja” from his short story collection ‘Ranga Nuhe Rasa’ and a short film was also shown on Mr Mohapatra’s life.
A booklet on his life was also printed and distributed..

Some prominent people who attended the function included former Directors of NSD Ms Kirti Jain, D.R.Ankur and Mohan Maharishi , former UP Minister and theatre artist Shankar Suhail,renowned dancer Sharon Lowen, former Ambassador H.H.S.Vishwanathan,well known actor M.K.Raina, National Heart Institute CEO Dr O.P.Yadav, , among many others.