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Veteran Actor Atal No More

Sambalpur: Veteran Actor, Atal Bihari Panda, a renowned playwright and lyricist, died due to old age-related ailments at VIMSAR, Burla in Sambalpur district on Saturday, family sources said. He was 92.

Mr.Panda had lost his wife a few days ago, they said. Born in Binika village in Subarnapur district, Mr.Panda started acting in theatre in 1944. He had acted in over 100 dramas and also written 65 stage and radio plays, many of which were in the Sambalpuri language.

Mr.Panda was considered one of the pioneer playwrights of Sambalpuri theatre. ‘Phata Kapal’ written by him was the first printed Sambalpuri play. His second drama in the language, ‘Bhains Aage Nagdhuni’ was also much talked about.

After seeing one of his plays, former Chief Minister Dr Harekrushna Mahtab had suggested that he writes opera scripts.

Mr.Panda, who was in government service, went on to write six opera scripts during his posting at Cuttack.

‘Baagha Matichi’, an opera written by him, had created a high-voltage sensation. ‘Mani Sangraha’ and ‘Klanta Aparanha’ are among his popular Odia plays.

His Sambalpuri play ‘Sadgati’ had secured many awards in different competitions.

Mr.Panda was also a renowned lyricist who penned many famous Sambalpuri songs. Most of the popular songs sung by Late Fakir Patnaik were written by him.

He left people stunned by venturing into the world of cinema at the age of 83, debuting as an actor in the 2013 Sambalpuri movie ‘Sala Budha’. Panda continued to mesmerize the audience with his two subsequent movies ‘Adim Vichar’ and ‘Sala Budhar Badla’ directed by Sabyasachi Mahapatra.         

Mr.Panda has received two back-to-back Odisha State Film Awards for best actor. He has also given D Litt by Sambalpur University on its 30th convocation in 2019