Patna, March 17 (IANS) 'Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadaebo', the first Bhojpuri film released almost 50 years ago, will be screened here as a part of the 99th Bihar Divas celeberation staring March 22.
Released in 1962, the film was made after character actor Nazir Hussain met the then president Rajendra Prasad at a film awards function in Mumbai and the latter asked him to make a movie in Bhojpuri.
'Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadaebo', produced by Vishwanath Shahabadi, is one of the seven Bhojpuri films to be screened during the three-day Bhojpuri Film Festival beginning March 23 here.
The information and public relation department (IPRD) of Bihar is holding the Bhojpuri Film Festival and it will also screen Bhojpuri documentaries.
IPRD secretary Rajesh Bhushan told IANS that the film festival is meant to showcase Bihar's rich cultural tradition as well as to provide people an opportunity to watch rare films free of cost.
Bhojpuri is a dialect spoken mainly in north Bihar and the Bhojpur district. It is also spoken in parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Last month Vishwanath Shahabadi's son Rajkumar Shahabadi, who has the copyright of the first Bhojpuri film, stopped the screening of the film at a three-day Swarnim Bhojpuri Film and Cultural festival here, on the ground that no permission was taken from him for the screening.
After that, the state government had sought permission to screen the Kumkum and Ashim Kumar starrer.
'Written permission was given for screening the film,' an official of IPRD said.
However, a film critic, who is close to Rajkumar Shahabadi, says the print of the film is in poor condition and requires restoration in a high-tech lab.
Apart from screening Bhojpuri films, a theatre festival and street plays are among the programmes planned during the Bihar Divas celeberations.
Reflecting Bihar's changing image, the much-publicised Bihar Divas will be celebrated on a grand scale not only in the state but also in New Delhi and seven foreign countries - US, Britain, Australia, Canada, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE.
Preparations are in full swing here to observe the event, with the state administration busy to make it a memorable one, an official said Tuesday.
The British carved Bihar out of the Bengal presidency March 22, 1912.
A brainchild of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Bihar Divas was first celebrated in 2010.
March 22 has been declared a public holiday in the state.
Nitish Kumar will kick-start the celebrations by floating 99 lamps to mark the 99th anniversary of Bihar. Kumar has declared that the state will mark its centenary in 2012 with programmes throughout the year.
In Patna, thousands of people are expected to gather at the historic Gandhi Maidan for the celebrations from march 22-24, an official from the department of art, culture and youth affairs said.
A mega set to display Bihar's heritage is being designed by well-known Mumbai-based designer Umesh Kumar Sharma, the official said.
The chief minister has said the celebration was planned to help advertise Bihar.