Bhubaneswar: Since the lockdown came into effect, filmmakers are preferring to release their movies on streaming platforms rather than waiting for a big-screen release after things get back to normal. Among several OTT releases was an Odia film Khyanikaa – The Lost Idea.
It got a worldwide release on June 6 and became the only Odia film currently on Amazon Prime India Video. However, without any intimation, the movie was removed on June 8. It left the fans, the movie’s director Amartya Bhattacharya and its producers hugely disappointed.
Notably, Khyanikaa was screened at IFFI 2017 (Indian Panorama) and has represented India at around 30 festivals across 14 countries. It is also a State Award winner and it’s certified U/A by CBFC.
The Quint reported that Amartya and the producers mailed Amazon Prime Video, and finally after 8-9 days they received a reply saying that Amazon Prime India currently supports 9 Indian languages, of which Odia is not one of them, and Khyanikaa will only be considered when they launch an Odia section.
Disappointed Odia movie enthusiasts too contacted Amazon Prime Video customer care but varying misleading information. Amartya said The Quint that it is not only a slap on his face as a filmmaker but also a blow to Odisha cinema at large.
Currently, Amazon Prime Video India has content across Hindi, Kannada, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Malayalam languages. Some viewers even questioned this policy, as Amazon Prime Video has advertised that they are in fact open to all languages.
Amartya asserts that Odia is one of the six classical languages of India and his movie deserves to be on the streaming platform, in an interview to The Quint. He said that he is an Odia by birth and choice. Amartya added that he is proud that beyond making films in his mother tongue, he has made films in Odia. And he will continue making Odia films till the mainstream platforms get tired of pulling them down.
Amartya Bhattacharya is an independent filmmaker and writer who was awarded the Silver Lotus for the Best Cinematography in non-feature film at the 63rd National Film Awards by the president of India for his fantasy documentary Benaras-the Unexplored Attachments.