Bijaya Jena

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Bijaya Jena
Indian actress Bijaya Jena.jpg
Bijaya Jena (Dolly Jena)
Born 16 August
Cuttack, Orissa, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Director, Producer

Bijaya Jena (also known as Dolly Jena or Bijoya Jena; Odia: ଡଲି େଜନା), born 16 August in Cuttack, Orissa, is an Indian actor, National award winning film director and producer. She served on the Governing Council of FTII from 1992 to 1995.

Bijoya Jena is an actor from Cuttack, Odisha. She played Laila in Raizia Sultan and then later proceeded to act in some Odia films. After acting in several films, she went on to direct and write several scripts of her own.[1]

Early Years[edit]

Jena is the youngest of three children, born into a family of academicians and aristocrats. Her mother came from a feudal Zamindar (aristocrats) background and her father, the late B.C.Jena was a Civil Engineer by profession and after his retirement learned Homoeopathy and became a practising Homoeopath. He also became the President of the Nigamanand Ashram, Cuttack.

In her early teens, Jena expressed her intention to join a course in Film Acting which was the only course she could opt for at that time as other technical courses needed graduate students. In spite of stiff opposition, she was firm in her decision.Her father had to seek advice from a child psychiatrist whether to allow her to pursue her to study film acting. Once the counsellor gave approval, she enrolled in the Film and Television Institute of India for a Diploma Course in Film Acting.

Jena has always been attracted to spiritualism and the mystical. She participated in a Science and Religion Conference – the International Transpersonal Association Conference whose focus was on the amalgamation between science and spiritualism. Here, she interacted with well-known personalities in the field of science and religion. She also did a course in EST by Warner Erhard.

Acting career[edit]

Jena became an actress in the Oriya film industry and soon won the State Award for Best Actress for her performance in Jaga Balia. She went on to work in a number of Hindi and Oriya feature films, television serials and plays, of which Hakim Babu (Oriya Film) received the National Award for the Best Oriya Film. She has also acted in Ismail Merchant's British film, The Deceivers, directed by Nicholas Meyer.[2][3]

Writing, Directing, and Production Career[edit]

Jena had entered the Indian film industry in the 1980s, when the industry was going through a transition and the New Wave Cinema or Serious Cinema (or Art Cinema) which had flourished through the 50s and 60s (under the aegis of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen and Shyam Benegal) was floundering and dying in the 1980s. So, she decided to make her own films.


In 1992, Jena co-scripted, directed and produced Tara. The film was in the Oriya language and marked her directorial debut. Tara was based on a short story by Bimal Dutt (also the main script-writer of the film), a highly respected and prolific writer of the country. It was her directorial debut and she played the title role in the film.[4] Tara was completed in a budget of approximately US $20,000, borrowed from family and National and State Government Agencies. The film has received the National Award for the Best Oriya Film 1992 and the President of the jury, a renowned film maker, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, in his speech, singled out Jena's name as one of the promising future directors of the country and Jena also received critical acclaim for her performance in the title character. The film Tara has competed in the Festival International du Cinema Au Feminin, Marseilles 1992 and participated in the Cairo International Film Festival 1992.


This is Bijaya's second feature film (in the Hindi language). She scripted, directed and produced it and played an important role too. The film was made in 1996 with a modest budget of US$60,000. Abhaas had the honour of having the Hungarian maestro, István Gaál as the Script Advisor. The film participated in the following festivals:

  • Festival International du Film de la Rochelle, France, 1997,
  • Penang Film Festival, Malaysia (Competition Section), 1997.
  • Cairo International Film Festival (Competition Section), 1997.

It was also invited to the Montreal World Film Festival in Cinema of the World Category, 1997 and the International Film Festival in Sochi, Russia (the film could not participate in both Montreal and Sochi due to technical reasons). ABHAAS was telecast in Channel4, BBC in 2013 as 100yrs of Indian cinema Celebration. It will be premiered on Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation in October 2014.

Other Projects[edit]

In 1997, Jena gave birth to a girl, Lopamudra, and took a break from film-making to raise her child. In this period, she developed a few scripts.

Danapani (English: The Survivor) is her script based on an award-winning Oriya novella. The script was approved by the National Film Development Corporation. An award-winning French producer will be coproducing the film in 2016.[6]

Goan Sonata is another script based on a tale of unrequited love between a British writer and a Goan woman during the difficult times of liberation movement. The language of the film is English. The project is under pre-production with Oscar-winning actors, an ensemble cast of internationally well-known actors and technical crew members from Europe.Currently negotiating with UK and American companies to co-produce the film.

Acting credits[edit]

Bijaya Jena
  • Abhaas (Prologue) (1997) (Hindi film)
  • Tara (1992) (Oriya Film)
  • The Deceivers (1988) (English Film)
  • Jantar Mantar (1988) (TV Episodes)
  • Param Veer Chakra (1988) (TV Episode)
  • Vikram Vetaal (1987) (TV Episode)
  • Uparaant (1987) (Hindi Film)
  • Heera Neela (1985) (Oriya Film)
  • Hakim Babu (1984) (Oriya Film)
  • Holi (1984) (Hindi film)
  • Jaga Balia (1983) (Oriya Film)
  • Amma (1983) (Hindi film)
  • Ashar Akash (1983) (Oriya Film)
  • Razia Sultan (1982) (Hindi film)
  • Naxalites (1981) (Hindi film)

Awards and accolades[edit]

  • Odiya State Award (Best Actress) for Jaga Balia
  • Indian National Film Award (Best director) for Tara
  • Lifetime Dedication Award (Odisha, 2012)
  • Pinamar Municipality Award (Argentina, 2014)

Jury member[edit]

External links[edit]