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Watch: Reel Life Patnagarh Parcel Bomb Blast

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19 July 2018

Bikash Das

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Bhubaneswar: The Patnagarh bomb blast of February is a testament to the saying ‘Truth is stranger than fiction’. And when placed in the hands of the right cast and crew, the truth can be made even more compelling in fictional format. This is why the parcel bomb tragedy that changed the lives of a newly-wed couple is being adapted into an Ollywood film ‘Patnagarh’ by producer Sridhara Martha.

Directed by national award winning film maker Rajesh Touchriver, the infamous blast scene was shot today in capital city’s Laxmisagar area. In his media interaction, Rajesh said, “Real life is always an inspiration. I had never thought that something like this could happen. The way police have investigated this makes it an absolute crime thriller.”

Telugu cinema’s Tanikella Bharni and popular Hindi-film actor Atul Kulkarni are also involved in this project. “People from Odia, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi film industries are part of this movie. So this is not simply an Odia film. All regional film industries have come together to make an Indian film in the Odia language,” he added.

Expressing happiness over the fact that the film will also be made in Telugu, Odia actor Manoj Mishra said, “I’ve always wanted Odia films to reach people outside Odisha. This was an extremely unfortunate incident for the affected family but somehow it has become a fortunate incident for the film industry.”

Mishra who plays the role of Punjilal Meher, the mastermind behind the crime added, “I am not getting into the character a lot as he is a negative man. I am just seeing this as a role. Right now, I am very involved in making this movie a hit nationally. Because, cinema is not made with money, it is made with brains.”

The film will be shot in Bhubaneswar, Khandapada and several other locations. The crew expects the production to end by August 15.

Producer Sridhara Martha said, “I just want to make a paisa-vasool film. Audience should not come out of the theatres unhappy and complain for having paid Rs 100 for the ticket. That is my aim. And as the story is very filmy, I am sure my aim can be achieved.”

Notably on an unfortunate afternoon of February 23, Soumya Sekhar Sahu, a 26-year-old newly-wed software engineer and his 85-year-old grandmother Jemamani Sahu were killed when he was opening a wedding gift that arrived at their home in Patnagarh town of Bolangir district. Sahu’s 22-year-old wife Reema was also injured in the incident. The episode occurred five days after Soumya and Reema’s wedding.

After two months of investigation, Odisha Crime Branch on April 26 arrested one Punjilal Meher, who was the mastermind behind the hate-crime. Meher, who taught English at Jyoti Vikas College in Bhainsa area of Patnagarh was jealous about the fact that the software engineer’s mother Sanjukta Sahu got the principal post in the school in May last year. Before Sahu took over, Meher was the principal and reportedly swore revenge when unseated.

After interrogation, police officials revealed that Meher had been planning the incident for 7-8 months. The police described him as an intelligent mind who apparently watched Hindi thriller movies to hide his footprints.

On April 27, Sridhara Martha announced the movie on this incident under the title ‘Bullet Raja’ which was later changed to ‘Patnagarh’. The movie’s poster was launched on May 9 and the shoot began from July onwards.

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Rajesh Touchriver, Director

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Sridhar Martha, Producer

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Manoj Mishra, Actor