I Lost My Mother Again: Kuna Tripathy

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“I have become motherless once again.” This was what actor Kuna Tripathy had to say while recalling his association with Odisha’s first ever actor turned director-producer Parbati Ghosh who breathed her last on Sunday.

Not many know that Kuna Tripathy was introduced to the world of cinema by Ghosh. “She has been my guru throughout. I have been in her company for nine long years as her assistant, screenplay and dialogue writer. She had always been amongst the few people who I could count on for every little thing,” said a teary-eyed Tripathy, while talking to My City Links.

Reminiscing about his unforgettable moments with ‘Chapala Nayak’ (as she was known before her marriage to producer-director Gauraprasad Ghosh), he said, “During the post-production work of a film in Kolkata, we were struggling financially. But she never lost her spirit. I remember I used to be very fond of ‘dosa’ and she used to order one dosa for my breakfast everyday. When I used to ask her why she is not ordering one for her, she used to convince me that she was not feeling well and was not in a mood to eat a complete dosa. At times, she used to take a few bites from me. Many years later, on recollecting that memory, she had said, “How can a mother eat when her children are hungry?” That is how she was.”

On a similar note, Satyaki Mishra, the lead actor of ‘Salabega’ (1955), the last film of Parbati Ghosh, told MCL how as a director, Ghosh used to treat all her actors as one family and inspire them to deliver their best. “Once shooting on the high seas at Chandrabhaga, the scene where Salabega tearfully sang the song ‘Mora Mana…’ after he lost his mother, Parvati aunty got so involved with the scene that she got swept away by the tides. Though I did not know how to swim, I immediately jumped into the waters and caught her. With the blessings of Lord Jagannath, we made it back to the shore. Notwithstanding the accident, she told me that actors need to have a pain inside them to bring it out in their performances, the reason why she had got so involved in the scene. Her words alone were enough to motivate an artist to take that extra mile.”

Known for her unparalleled work, Parbati Ghosh was the first from the Odia film industry to don multiple caps of an actor, a director and a producer. Bagging National Awards in the category of ‘Best Regional Film’ for three consecutive years in a row for the movies Laxmi (1962), Kaa (1965) and Stree (1968), she had pioneered a new wave in the art of direction in the Odia film industry.

Born on March 28, 1933, Ghosh made her debut in films at the age of 16 as a child artist in the movie Sri Jagannath in 1950. She entered mainstream films in 1953 with the film ‘Amari Gaan Jhia’, playing lead opposite Gouraprasad Ghosh, who she married later). Later, she acted in movies like ‘Bhai Bhai’ (1956), ‘Maa’ (1959), and ‘Sansara’ (1971). Her first directed movie was ‘Chha Maana Aatha Guntha’which depicted the classic 19th century novel by Fakir Mohan Senapati with the same name.

As news of her death spread, a pall of gloom descended on the Odia film industry. The actor was given a state funeral on Monday. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik along with numerous artists and technicians ofthe Odia cine industry besides the actor’s family and relatives had gathered for her ‘Sesha Darshan’ at KIIMS Hospital.