In 2011 a tall, lanky monk, head shaven, pillion-rides a scooter with me in Sambalpur, a city in Odisha. As we move across the streets, people give him not much notice. Before 1992, he could have been mobbed by fans of their favourite hero.
We stop at a roadside tea stall. Pouring tea into paper cups, the owner looks in our direction thrice as if to recollect something. As the tea is served, he says to the monk with a smile, “You resemble the famous Sriram Panda, the Big B of Oriya film industry.” The monk gives him a smile. He looks at me and smiles. I smile back and we move on to a temple.As we climb the steps of the temple, a woman in queue looks at him for long. She finally recognizes the Swami and approaches us. “You are the famous Sriram Panda…are you not?”Swamiji smiles again, but this time he gives a stoic reply, “Maybe for you… I am.” His reply can be interpreted in many ways. But for the monk, who left his stardom and wealth behind in 1992, it means just one thing... for everyone, more importantly for himself, he is just Swami Nitya Chaitanya, who teaches yoga at the famous Bihar School of Yoga, Munger founded by HH Sw Satyananda Saraswati.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ODISHA THIS DEBONAIR MAN WAS RULING THE ODISHA FILM INDUSTRY........He was known as the Big B of the Oriya film Industry.
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