Published: 03rd August 2020
This young theatre artist from Kotapad bagged the Asim Basu Award 2020. This is his incredible story
Himanshu Ranjan Mohanty was introduced to theatre by his father and has been acting since the age of seven. Today, he also directs plays, serials and is a dubbing artist among many other things
From hazy memories, Himanshu Ranjan Mohanty recalls the moment when he met the late Asim Basu, the pioneering Odia theatre artiste. The when, how and why are unclear, but what Himanshu does remember is the state Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee telling him to keep working hard. And today, here he is, winning the third Asim Basu Award 2020. The 27-year-old says, "I worship him and getting an award instituted in his name is a huge honour, to say the least." The Kotapad-born youngster takes us through the events leading up to this prestigious award, right from being a child actor to being awarded Best Actor for a negative role.
Himanshu during a play | (Pic: Himanshu Ranjan Mohanty)
Himanshu's father Prakash Mohanty was a theatre artist and acted in movies and serials as well. He won an international award too so clearly, theatre is in Himanshu's genes. "When I was a kid, I used to tag along with my father to drama rehearsals. The next morning, I wouldn't get up for school. My father's tactic to wake me up was discussing the previous day rehearsals, the story and the characters," recalls the youngster. Himanshu, who started acting at the age of seven, won awards for the same in 2009 and then again in 2010 from the then Governor of Odisha, Muralidhar Chandra Mohanty. The award-winning streak hasn't really stopped since then.
The award was instituted by Nandanik, Koraput and the Asim Basu Foundation, Bhubaneswar. He wwas set to receive it on August 1 from Bhaswati Basu
With Shree Cultural Association, Sambalpur and Natyarashmi, Tulandi, Barpali, he has participated in state and national-level festivals, which have taken him to Hyderabad, Guwahati, Gangtok and other cities. He even performed street plays with Damayantee Kala Parishad, Kotpad and Kotpad Kala Bikash Kendra, Kotpad in as many as 500 rural areas on topics like superstition, transgender and other social issues.
Himanshu during a street play (Pic: Himanshu Ranjan Mohanty)
Ask Himanshu what his most challenging role ever was and pat comes the reply, "Rakhyasha." The play was in Koraputia and as a director, he worked with novices. Upon that, he had to play a negative character that had seven shades within. "It was around then that the infamous Koraput rape had happened. So, we designed the play around the issue. I played the police, reporter and many other roles. The negative character was a lot of work," says the artist who has pursued Drama from Sambalpur University. He aced it to such an extent that he actually won the second Best Actor award in a negative role. Then, there was that smashing negative character he played in Seeta Thab. "Playing negative characters is very tough, but if there is no negative, the positive isn't valued as much," he says.
He has performed in over 25 plus dramas and hopes to pursue his MPhil one day
Himanshu plans on continuing to act, direct and stage dramas because he's truly found his passion. "Whatever I learn, I learn from observing people and all of that goes into my art," he says and concludes.
Himanshu on stage | (Pic: Himanshu Ranjan Mohanty)
There is more to Himanshu -
- Has acted in the Odia serial Tejaswini
- Has dubbed for Bengali and Hindi movies in Odia
- Is a Drama Artist for All India Radio, Jeypore and Yuvavani of Akashvani
- Currently, he is the Assistant Director for a serial
For more on him, check out facebook.com/himanshu.ranjan.733