Sita Bibaha is the first Oriya movie. It was premiered on April 28, 1936 at the Laxmi Talkies of Puri.
Film – Sita Bibaha
Language – Oriya/Odia
Director – Mohan Sundar Deb Goswami
Cast – Mohan Sundar Dev Goswami, Makhanlal Banarjee, Krushnachandra Singh, Ramachandra Lal, Narasingha Nanda, Adweta Mohanty, Prabhabati Devi, Radharani, Laxmipriya, Parbati
Story – Kamapal Mishra
Dialogues – Adweta Mohanty
Sound – Haricharan Mohanty
Producer – Mohan Sundar Deb Goswami
Release date – 28 April 1936
WATCH: Heart-touching Hindi song cover version with Odia lyrics
The film was a commercial success. The total expenditure incurred to make the first commercial movie in the history of Odisha was Rs 29,781 and 10 anna.
Sita Bibaha film was subjected to Bengal Board of Film Certificate and the police commissioner of Lal Bazaar awarded it the censor certificate.
What sets apart this cinema even when it is compared to this date, is the fact that all singers for the movie were from Orissa and Mohan Sundar knew his job well to maintain traditional music of the land in the cinema. The settings of the songs and dances were carefully chosen.
The film was sponsored by the Calcutta-based Kali Film Studio. Mohan Sundar as the producer then had to seek loan to pay all the artistes. According to the vouchers signed by the artists, Makhanlal (Ram) had received Rs 120 on October 30, 1935. Adaita Ballabha Mohanty (Laxman) was paid just Rs 35 as conveyance fee. And incidentally, the actress Miss Prabhabati (Sita) received the highest among the lot, Rs 150.
Sita Bibaha was the first complete Oriya film and an important part of the struggle for a manifestation of Oriya cultural identity in celluloid form.