Rath Yatra, the grand chariot festival in Odisha, also used to find a special place in earlier Odia movies such as ” Bhakta Salabega”, “Jay Jagannath”, ” Bahudibe Mo Jaga Balia”, Samaya Kheluchi Chaka Bhaunri” and ” To Pain Nebi Mu Sahe Janama”. Though the interest in this festival has only increased over the years, its presence on celluloid has faded considerably. The reason — directors say it’s a Herculean task to shoot Rath Yatra in Puri.
“It’s very difficult to take the entire unit and shoot amidst the swelling crowd in Puri. Getting permission from the administration for the shoot is also tough. Recreating the Rath Yatra scene on the sets is difficult since it involves designing three chariots and getting thousands of people to pull it,” Director Barada Prasanna Tripathy says.
Actress Rachna Banerjee, who has shot over 50 Odia films, admits that not a single film of hers has a scene of the Rath Yatra. Director Jyoti Das believes that it is a risky affair to take shots on Puri’s Grand Road during Rath Yatra.
“For “Jay Jagannath”, I had taken some shots of the Rath Yatra in 1987. I had hired four cameras and had placed them at strategic locations to capture the festivities live. Later, I used these shots in ” Jay Jagannath,” says Sabyasachi Mohapatra, adding, “However, for “Bhakta Salabega” where I assisted director Radha Panda, we had recreated the whole scene on our own.”