Bhubaneswar: He is a person with humble beginnings, who overcame all odds to chase his dreams, worked hard to carve a niche in not only his own profession but in a totally diverse field.of creativity.
Niranjan Reddy, a sports editor in a regional TV channel bagged a State Award for best screenplay for Odia movie ‘Ole Ole Dil Bole’ this year. Earlier he had been awarded for the best sports reporter.
Talking to OMMCOM NEWS, he bared his heart out while describing his journey from humble villager, trying to eke out his school and college fees by doing odd jobs to a top-notch sports editor and screenplay writer in Odia cine world.
Hailing from Belapada village under Rambha PS in Ganjam district, he was the 5th among 7 brothers and a sister. His father was an RPF employee with a meagre income.
“I did my schooling in Government High School run by erstwhile Harijan and Tribal Welfare Dept (now renamed as ST & SC Devt Dept). Throughout my student days, I struggled to eke out my school and college fees as my father’s income was not sufficient. From Class 4th, I had started working as a helper in vegetable market to the vendors and when I reached Class 9-10, I had started to work as a labourer in construction sites and earn Rs 20 per day,” said Niranjan.
With a quavering voice, he reminisced, “When I passed my matriculation, I wanted an admission in Ganjam College but the fees was Rs 14,000. So my mother had totally denied continuing my studies. But I was determined. So, during the holidays, I joined a small-time chilly businessman and started selling chillies from village to village. I still remember carrying bags of dry chilly weighing 20-30 kgs and moving around village to village (Kuhudi, Gangadharpur, Nilakarpur, Gosandpur) on hot summer days.
With the money collected, he got into admission to a college in his village, Gopal Krushna Bigyan Mahavidyalaya. And to arrange for the fees, books and clothes, he continued to work in the local haat (market). Likewise, he graduated from Government Science College, Chhatrapur without any monetary help from his home.
He wanted to pursue his post-graduation in Berhampur University. “My mother again rebuked me, as we had no money. Without a second thought, I again jumped into the chilly business and moved around in the rural pockets between Nirakarpur to Puri to sell it and was able to get an admission to the PG course.”
But destiny has different plans for him. Bhubaneswar was calling. He discontinued his PG course in 2004 to pursue journalism in the capital city in a private institute (AMIT). He had no idea how will he survive there, but nonetheless, he came to the city of his dreams.
“I somehow scraped through the initial days. After the first semester, I got to know about internship in OTV. I was ready to even sell newspapers to eke out my living. But I approached my elder brother (who was into a job by then) to shell out Rs 1000 for four months so that I could pursue my dream. Though he helped me out, it was very difficult to sustain in this city with such a meagre amount. It was a very difficult phase for me. I remember sleeping on railway platforms, eating a single meal per day, travelling ticketless to save money. I worked hard during my internship period to develop my journalistic skill and in 2005, I got a job.”
He did city reporting, cultural reporting and even got transferred to his home place Berhampur during his stint as a reporter. And finally, he started sports reporting in 2006-2007. Barely two years later, in 2009, he bagged the best sports reporter award.
Talking about his interest in story writing, he revealed, “I always wanted single byline, as mostly I shared it with my co-reporters during reporting days. So in my quest to carve out a name for myself, I started story writing and scriptwriting for theatre. My play ‘Banchibaku Hele’ was about the hardships of life of the protagonist. It became so popular, that it was made into a film and here I am, with a State award for best screenplay,” he laughs out loud.
Niranjan Reddy’s inspirational story is all about grit and determination to achieve something in life. He braved all odds to dream and achieve big.