A group of Odisha born film technicians who are mostly active in Mumbai have picturized the most famous Odia bhajan “Ahe Neela Saila” of Lord Jagannath written by Salabega, a Muslim devotee of the deity.
The unique aspect of the 4 to 5 minute long video is the use of Odissi and Chhau dance keeping the style and nuances of both the Ahe Nila Saila videoance forms intact.
Biren Jyoti Mohanty, who works in Mumbai as a film editor for films like Luck and Jodi Breakers, has directed this video.
He said at a time when people complain about intolerance and communal differences, we want o remind the world of our history when people of all religions respected each other.
“This famous bhajan was penned by Salabeg in praise of Lord Jagannath. This song has been celebrated as a cherished devotional expression and all of us have heard it and sang it on many occasions in our lives. So I decided to picturise it with two dance forms of the state,” said the director.
The short musical video was shot at Bingharpur on the outskirt of Bhubaneswar. Bollywood singer Krishna Beura well known for his sufi style songs has sung this bhajan for the short film.
He also plays a roleAhe Nila Saila video of a Brahmin who discovers a Jagannath idol lying abandoned while the song continues in the background. Well known Bollywood art director Sukant Panigrahi has worked on the set design.
Odissi dancer Pallavi Das has choreographed the dance sequences.
“I had danced several times to this song in my Odissi career. But for this video, I had to learn Chhau, as it’s quite different from Odissi and it has its own style. Accordingly, we had to perform both dances in the same frame to showcase one feeling in two different ways. It was quite a learning and a new kind of experience for me and hope it will be same for the people who will watch it later,” said the dancer.
Keeping in tact the traditional tune, composer Suraj Purohit has added a contemporary feel to the music. Odia film actor Samaresh Routray is creatively associated with the film while Asutosh Panda directs the photography.