(Last Updated on : 14/03/2014)
Bira Bikram Dev was a popular Oriya
playwright, actor, director, producer, and composer whose intimate association with theatre built up a receptive audience in western Odisha
. He was born in the year of 1875. As the ruling chief of the princely state of Khariar
in Nuapada district
, Bikram Dev inherited an interest in literature. His father, Brajaraj Singh, was a poet of repute, so from early childhood Bikram was reared in a literary atmosphere.
Contributions of Bira Bikram Dev in Oriya Theatre
In 1895, Bira Bikram Dev had established a permanent stage at Khariar, named it Bikram Theatre, and started producing both Hindi and Oriya plays. As a border princedom, Khariar had inhabitants who welcomed Hindi drama. Bikram Dev wrote his first play, Suhasini, in 1903. This was a farce appreciated by his audience. In the last seven years of his life he composed as many as eleven works covering history, legend, and social problems. He adapted Bharatendu Harishchandra
's Hindi classic, 'Bharat durdasha', as Utkal durdasha which depicted Odisha's bad condition in 1904. This was the first allegorical play in Oriya. For the historical Ambika Devi in 1904 and Bhratru sneha i.e. 'Brotherly Affection' in 1909, he collected material from Tod's Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan
. The main spirit of his drama constituted patriotism and reform. According to the need and practice of those days, his plays Balya bibaha or 'Child Wedding', Briddha bibaha or 'Old Man's Wedding', and Byabhichar dosha pradarshan or 'Presenting the Wrongs of Adultery' had the principal objective of social reform.
Dramatic Style of Bira Bikram Dev
, one of the pioneering Oriya dramatists was the mentor Bira Bikram Dev. Bikram Dev followed his dramatic ideology and technique faithfully, but developed his own style of contemporary characters, well-knit plot, and simple, straight dialogues. Like other playwrights of his time, he used ample music and songs in all his works. He authored dramaturgy as well. Natak rachanapranali i.e. 'Methods of Composing Drama' in 1903 and Abhinay prakasika i.e. 'Principles of Acting' in 1911 were the first books of their kind in Oriya. His untimely death at the age of 36 proved a great loss for Oriya theatre.