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aka The Dead Moon 1965 164’ b&w Oriya d/sc Nitai Palit pc Raja Saheb of Ali st Upendra Kishore Dash’s novel dial Govind Senapati, Bhim Singh lyr Kabisurya Baladev Rath c Dinen Gupta m Akshay Mohanty lp Jharana Das, Manimala, Geeta, Akshay Kumar, Sarat Poojary, Pira, Bhima, Purna Singh

Epic melodrama often presented as Oriya cinema’s coming of age. The sensitive Sati (Das) is forced to marry an old man but refuses to consummate the marriage. She is thrown out of the house when she takes shelter with Nath (Kumar) after a storm. Her parents die in a cholera epidemic and Nath takes her to the city where they live together, fighting unemployment and poverty. On their return to the village they are shunned and, unable to bear further humiliations, Sati drowns herself (in an understated dawn sequence simply showing her footsteps leading to the river). A long, slow-moving film renowned for Bengali cinematographer (later director) Gupta’s sensitive camerawork, for the famous Kabisurya Baladev Rath’s pastoral lyrics and for being probably the first Oriya film to pay attention to its soundtrack (notwithstanding the overuse of flute and sitar). However, the main plaudits go to Jharana Das’s remarkable performance which showed the oppression of women in traditional Oriya society without glorifying suffering womanhood.