Bhubaneswar: Eminent theatre personality Anant Mahapatra and Odissi exponent Kumkum Mohanty have been awarded the prestigious Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja Samman, the highest award of the Odisha Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, for the year 2019 and 2020 respectively for their lifetime contribution to the art forms, at a function held at Rabindra Mandap here today.
State Culture Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi and MSME Minister Captain Dibya Shankar Mishra, who graced the function as chief guest and guest of honour respectively, presented awards to the winners.
Mahapatra has written, directed and acted in over 100 plays. He is credited to have written the screenplay and directed ‘Mamu’, the first feature length film on Doordarshan in India, in both Hindi and Odia languages. He also set up the Utkal Rangamanch Trust to give a fillip to theatre in the State after a majority of theatre companies closed down in the 70s.
Mohanty, who is widely recognised for her flawless ‘abhinaya’, is a recipient of Central Sangeet Natak Akademi award, State Sangeet Natak Akademi award and the prestigious civilian award Padma Shri.
The newly introduced Sunanda Samman, instituted in memory of Padma Shri Sunanda Patnaik for Hindustani Classical Music, was given to Dr Raghunath Sahu and Bandita Ray for the year 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Binod Kumar Pashayat was given Sharada Geeti Kavita Samman for the year 20219 while Dr Alekh Chandra Padhiary got the award for 2020.
The Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja Samman winners got cash awards of Rs 5 lakh each, besides citation and shawl; while the winners of Sunanda Samman and Sharada Geeti Kavita Samman were given Rs 2.5 lakh each besides shawl and citation.
The Akademi also presented awards in 16 categories each including acting, playright, theatre art, direction for the year 2019 and 2020.
While Nabakihsore Acharya and Mamata Mohanty received the award for acting for 2019, Sushila Nayar and Bijay Kumar Pattnaik got it for the year 2020.
For direction, Harihar Mishra and Subodh Patnaik received the Akademi awards for 2019 and 2020 respectively.