(Last Updated on : 02/04/2012)
Ramesh Panigrahi is a popular name of "new" Oriya theatre. He was born in 1943. His first play, Mukti mandap or "Stage to Salvation" appeared in 1963. In his works he bypassed conventional themes, plot construction, and characterization. Well-made plays never interested him. He discarded interior domestic scenes and instead brought his drama to the street corner, selecting common places like a roadside tea stall or a lonely platform to develop plots.
His philosophy of life is quite negative. According to him life is diffuse, complex, diseased, and hence immobile. There is no hope and no brightness. Common man is destined to suffer. Panigrahi dramatically suggests there is no way of saving people from these sufferings. They must carry them till the last, helpless, bleeding profusely, and crying bitterly. That is fate. He depicts this state of affairs in Mun, ambhe o ambhemane or "I, We and All of Us" in 1969. Dhritarashtrara akhi or "Dhritarashtra's Eyes" in 1972 presents a balanced conflict between tradition and modernity. In this connection Panigrahi feels that the decadence of old values in present-day society is a hard reality that must be accepted. The old order must bow before the new.
Panigrahi is a prolific writer. Among all of his work some important can be mentioned as Mahanatak or "Great Drama" in 1973, Kamalpur dakghar or "Kamalpur Post Office" in 1974, Atmalipi or "Autobiography" in 1976, and Gunda or 'Hooligan' in 1978. He experimented amply in various scripts. For the first time, he mixed folk with modern forms in Mahanatak, a style followed by other dramatists. He collects stories and characters from contemporary life. However, his dialogue is poetic, ornamental, interspersed sometimes with colloquial words. But they should be always refined and artistic. Lately he has switched allegiance to popular commercial 'opera parties' which perform in the open.
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