Dr. Iti Samanta, an eminent writer, editor, publisher and national award winning film producer of meaningful films occupies the cultural centre stage of Odisha. Writing is her first love. In fact, from early childhood, she started cuddling up emotions and scribbled down her feelings on a regular basis. That in later stage culminated into stories, novels, poems, dramas, features, articles of social relevance, women empowerment & gender related issues. She has been continuously writing her editorials on women, women related issues, and on women empowerment since a decade. She rediscovered various facets of characters portrait in the great epics like Ramayan and Mahabharat. She flourished as a writer, braving many distractions that came in her life. Her first book ‘Tathaapi’ is a collection of short stories came out in the year 2001. And then, she never looked back. Her books have received rave reviews and have been appreciated by readers as well. In a literary carrier of more than twenty five years she has written/edited/compiled many books.
Dr. Iti Samanta was born on 1970 in a non-descript village Kalarabanka in Cuttack District of Odisha. She is the youngest of seven siblings of Nilimarani Samanta and Anadi Charan Samanta. She lost her father when she was just two months old and was brought up by her mother amidst abject poverty and sticky social challenges. Soon after finishing school she joined Electronics &Telecommunication Engineering course to financially support her family. But she had a strong desire since her School days to become a writer, so her literary calling gained over her and after completion of engineering degree again she changed her academic pursuit to literature which brought her a meritorious Post Graduate Degree in Odia Literature and a lambent Masters Degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. Later, she did her Ph.D in literature from Viswa-Bharati Central University, Shantiniketan and is awarded Junior and Senior Fellow-Scholar by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Above all she is a self-made women who has dedicated her whole life for literature, art and social work.
While she climbed the scholarly career in literature and communication studies, the inner calling of the creative aspect she dedicate herself to literary entrepreneurship and promote community’s rich art and cultural heritage. The result of this alchemy of creative spirit led to the establishment of Kadambini Media Pvt. Ltd. with the sole objective of promoting art, culture, literature and cinema in Odisha and India as well.
Through her brain child Kadambini Media Private Limited, Dr. Iti Samanta turned out to be an organizer par excellence. The various activities, The Kadambini Media is carrying out at present include:
- Publication of ‘The Kadambini’, a frontline family magazine in Odia, launched in 2000, which has been unfailingly hitting the book-stands and bookstores of Odisha every month. Edited by Dr. Iti Samanta. It is the most popular Odia family magazine with highest readership today.
- Publication of ‘The Kunikatha’, a premier monthly magazine for the children which has gained unparalleled acceptance among the young readers. Dr. Iti Samanta edits the magazine.
- Holding of ‘PatrikaaHaata’, an annual unique event showcasing and on-the-spot marketing of magazines and other literary publications from all over the State.
- Instituting prestigious ‘Neelimarani Saraswat Sammana’, ‘Kadambini Sammana’ and ‘Kadambini Saraswata Sammana’.
- Organising National Writer’s Meet.
As a Writer
- Tathaapi (Short Story Collection): It is a Collection of short stories written by the authoress at different times. Very brilliantly told, the stories in the book deal with the torture and trauma of women and their struggle to find their self esteem.
- Iti Tora Lipsa (Short Story Collection): This book also contains short stories. The central characters of all these stories are women. With pain, pleasure, suffering, love, hate, treachery, conflicts and erosion of values in the back ground and glued to the tradition and culture, these stories tell us about the struggle of women for self-liberation.
- Jhada Parara Surya O Krantidhara (Short Story & Film Script): ‘Jhada Parara Surya’, a story by Dr. Iti Samanta, on woman liberation is well appreciated by readers and critics. It’s strong story line and poetic narratives compel the readers to go through it. Later on, a film namely, Krantidhara has been made on the story. Directed by Himanshu Sekhar Khatua a national award winning director. The film has got many awards and accolades. Both the story and the screenplay of Krantidhara have been compiled in this book.
- Niraba Aalaapa (Novel): It is the story of a blind girl, who, in spite of her sufferings throughout, never compromises with the values of life. Her lover deceives her. Still she remains calm and compassionate and struggles hard to keep her self esteem high.
- Itibruti (Part-I, Editorial Collection): This is a compilation of the editorial pieces of the most popular Odia Monthly, The Kadambini. Penned by Dr. Samanta as is editor. Spanning for a period from July 2000 to June 2005 these articles authoritatively comment on various social and cultural aspects.
- Itibruti (Part-II, Editorial Collection): This is a book of editorials of the largest circulated monthly of Odisha ‘The Kadambini’ from July 2005 to June 2010. Widely accepted and very well appreciated by the readers, these articles speak on various social, cultural and contemporary topics.
- Kathaare Kathaare Upanyaasa re Naaricharitra (Part-I, A collection of research oriented interviews): This is a research based interview book by the authoress. In the book, the interviewer, Dr. Samanta has tried to capture the mood and psyche of twenty two novelists and has put before the readers their views and writings on women. A unique book in itself, this gives a lot of information about the authors, their characters in the book, their views and opinions on women, men, society, and life etc.
- Kathaare Kathaare Upanyaasa re Naaricharitra (Part-II, A collection of research oriented interviews): This is the second part of Kathare Kathare Upanyasa re NariCharitra Containing interviews of twenty two authors. They include celebrated novelists like Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu, Shantanu Kumar Acharya, Srinibas Udgata, Kanakalata Mohanty, Padmaja Pal and others. Here, in the book authors have spoken up their mind on women and the society.
- Kathabarta (A collection of interviews) :Leading Monthly of Odisha, The Kadambini, Consistently associates itself with people from all walks of life. Be they writers, intellectuals, politicians, bureaucrats or common people. It shares their opinion and views on various aspects of life, society, literature, culture, environment etc. Through interviews to its readers in the magazine. It covers almost all areas of the society and life. This is a compilation of those interviews done by Iti Samanta and is a unique one to be referred by research scholars and many others.
- Prasanga Guchha:- It’s a collection of features on various topics based on current topics and social problems by Dr. Iti Samanta published in Kadambini.
- Sakuntala ra Jhia (Daughter of Sakuntala):- The novel depicts the life & struggle of a single parent (mother) for upbringing and educating her daughter. Sakuntala a strong willed woman boldly denies in putting her daughter’s father’s name in the school admission register. In her opinion, her child should not be recognised by the name of the person who doesn’t want her to come to the world and do not have any contribution towards her upbringing.
- Kunakuni nku Chithhi: The book is a collection of letter written by Dr. Iti Samanta to the young youths published in the ‘The Kunikatha’, a monthly magazine for children & youth in which each letter give a informatic message for the growing youth. The book is published in four parts.
- Charchaare Chandrasekhar (A book of critical essays): This is a book of discussion on the great story teller, orator, educationist and intellectual of Odisha, Chandra sekhar Rath. Established writers and intellectuals have contributed their scholarly pieces of writing for this book discussing various aspects of his writing and persona. They include, Mahapatra Nilamani Sahu, Asit Kabi, Dasarathi Das, Sanghamitra Mishra, Rabi Patnayak, Jibanananda Pani and may others. Dr. Samanta has edited the book.
- Kadambini Aama Rosei (Part-1, 2 & 3) : A very popular section in the most popular monthly of Odisha. ‘The Kadambini’ is its recipe section. In past seventeen years the magazine has published many recipes in its pages. The range is vast. From Khichdi to Biriyani, cake to piza and from Idli to chowmin, it has published almost all the dishes that are seen in India homes. All these recipes are edited and compiled by Dr. Samanta in three volumes; Kadambini Ama Rosei 1st, Kadambinini Ama Rosei 2nd and Kadambini Ama Rosei 3rd.
Awards and Achievements
- Oupanasika Kaliprasad Das Upanyasa Samman-2019 (for novel ‘Shakuntalara Jhia’)
- Kabi Chakrabarti Brajanath Badajena Saraswata Samman-2018
- Bhanja bharati Jayadev Sarangi Memorial Award- 2017
- Ama Bhubaneswar Sammana- 2017
- Padmavati Award- 2016
- Utkalamani Prativa Sammana – 2016
- Odia Sahitya Sammana- 2016
- Akshaya Mohanty Sahitya Sammana- 2013
- Rajadhani Pustak Mela Puraskar- 2013 (for short story collection ‘Iti Tora Lipsa’)
- Dhanaphula Sahitya Sammana – 2013
- Chinta & Chetana Rastriya Award- 2002
- Asimaloka Sammana-2019
- Amari Bhasa Pathe Sammana (The Intellects, New Delhi)
- Utkal Prativa Sammana – 2016
- Duradarshi Sammana – 2016
- Prativa Sammana – 2016
- Roopnagar Mayanagaree Award – 2016 (Best Family Magazine of Odisha)
- Best Editor Sammana- 2016, Nimapada Sahitya Sansad
- Manthan Juba Sampadika Sammana – 2010
- Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhabana Award – 2008 (as Best Woman Editor)
- Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhabana Award – 2007 (Best Editor)
- Prananatha Sammana- 2006 (Best Editor)
- Special Felicitation for Editing – 2006 (Lions Club, Bhubaneswar Lotus)
- Best Editor Award – 2004 (State Social Welfare Advisory Board, Bhubaneswar)
- Kathaa Journal Award – 2004 (New Delhi)
- Rajiv Gandhi Award – 2002 (Best Woman Editor)
- Smrutilipi Best Editor Sammana – 2002
- Avinandanika Award – 2001 (Magazine Editing)
- Aashraya Award – 2001 (Best Editor)
- Badadanda Best Editor Sammana – 2001
- Best Editor Award – 2001, Lions Club, Bhubaneswar
- Manana Sammana- 2016, Manana Natya Santha
For Overall Performances:
- Balighara Saraswata Prativa Samman-2019
- Agami Odisha Sambardhita Prativa-2019
- Support Samman-2018
- Nilachakra Sammana- 2016
- Odisha Youth Inspiration Award – 2015
- SCART Nabaratna Award – 2015
- Punyaprabha Geeti Gourab Sammana – 2015
- Sakala Sammana – 2014
- Iti Samanta has been chosen as Best Women Entrepreneur- 2014 by 92.7 BIG FM
- Shrestha Odiani Sammana – 2009
- Tundabaida Sammana – 2008
- Manjubala Smruti Sammana – 2006
- Professional Excellency Award – 2004, (All India Small and Medium Newspaper Editors, Odisha Branch)
- Rajib Sena Award – 2004
- Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhawana Award – 2003 (Best Family Feature Magazine ‘The Kadambini’)
- Dhwani Pratidhwani Sammana – 2003
- Best Women Sammana – 2003
As a Publisher
She has published 52 nos. of books through her media house Kadambini Media Pvt. Ltd.
Simultaneous with her literary pursuit, Dr. Iti Samanta ventured into visual medium to promote good Cinema and artistes of caliber. Now Dr. Iti Samanta is a name to reckon with in that field. Her activities in this area include;
- Production of ‘Kathaantara’, National Award winning and thought provoking film based on the story of Super-Cyclone affected refugees in Odisha. The film took part in several National and International Film Festivals and is highly acclaimed by Critics, Juries and all. The film won 8 State Awards and got National Award for best regional film of the year in 2008.
- Production of Feature Film ‘Krantidhara’ based on her own story depicting struggle of women in grassroots politics which has been highly acclaimed by critics and audiences in various National and International film festivals like Bangalore International Film Festival, Chennai International Film Festival, Hyderabad International Film Festival, Kanyakumari International Film Festival, Indian Film Festival of Los Angels, Melbourne International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Cine port International Film Festival, MMIFF. The film won 3 State Awards of the year in 2015.
- Her short film ‘Kahani Nuhen’ received the Best Tele Film Award from the Culture Department, Govt of Odisha. The film is based on her own story. And another tele film ‘Taapoi’ which was directed by her received a state award in acting category and appreciated by audience and critics.
- She has also produced and directed two educational films titled ‘Chithhi’ & ‘Kanyaaratna’.
- She has produced many television series.
- Also produced several documentary promotional films for Govt. of Odisha, and many audio and video music CDs.
Awards and Achievements
- National Award for Best Film production (Rajat Kamal) in 2005 for Odia feature Film ‘Kathantara’
- Mohan Sundar Deb Goswami Award – 2007, Odisha State Film Award for Best Film ‘Kathantara’
- Mohan Sundar Deb Goswami Award – 2015, Odisha State Film Award for Best Feature Film ‘Krantidhara’ (Coup de Grace)
- Odisha State Film Award for Best Story Writer – 2015 (for ‘Krantidhara’ Film)
- Best Story Writer Award for ‘Krantidhara’ – 2016, ChalachitraJagat
- Best Story Writer Award for ‘Krantidhara’ – 2016, Cinema Sansar
- Best Story Writer Award for ‘Krantidhara’ – 2016, Odia Film fair Award
- Best Creative Title Award for ‘Krantidhara’ – 2016, Odia Film fair Award
- National Cine Ratna Award – 2016 & 2017
- Chalachitra Jagat Pratibha Sammaana– 2007 for award-winning films ‘Kathaantara’
- Chinta O Chetana Award – 2007 for Best Film Production
- Roopnagar Mayanagaree Award – 2016 (Best Film of Year 2015)
- Chitrapuri Award – 2006
- Big Screen Big Star Entertainment Award – 2016 (Krantidhara)
- For producing award-winning Odia Movies she has been felicitated in many places such as at Bangalore, Chennai etc..etc.
Along with her great social responsibility, she is continuously working for the growth, promotion and enhancement of the transgender community. She also worked for encouraging them and to change the mind set of society towards the community of transgender. In this respect she published an exceptional coverage regarding all aspects of transgender in her Kadambini magazine containing 150 pages. Subsequently to bring the actual story and struggle behind a transgender life, she also launched a special programme ‘Bhinna Manisha Bhinna Katha’ through her media house Kadambini Media Pvt Ltd. Acharya Mahamandaleswar Mx. Laxmi Narayan Tripathy Said, ‘Bhinna Manisha Bhinna Katha’ programme is not only in India but in whole world this is one kind of a series. It is history in making.”
Dr. Samanta also work regarding Women related issues and down-trodden people who are really needy.
Apart from this, she is actively involved in reforming her native village Kalarabank by managing two Schools, Nilimarani Memorial Charitable Trust (The trust founded by Dr Achyuta Samanta, Hon’ble MP Rajya Sabha in the memory of our loving mother), Temple complex, Library, Mahila Samiti and working as a promoter of women self-help groups. She has been nominated as honorary member to many committees.
Successfully discharged duties as
- Member, CBFC, Ministry of I & B, Govt. of India
- Jury member in Odisha State Film Award Committee – 2007
- Jury member in Tarang Cine Award Committee – 2010, 2012
- She has participated in many television shows, broadcast programmes as an expert and presenter on Literature, gender related issues.
Dr. Iti Samanta has been holding many important and responsible positions in the government, public and private bodies such as:
- Member, General Council, Odisha Sahitya Academy, Bhubaneswar, 2011-2013
- Member, Post Forum, Postal Dept., Odisha.