Life in Theatre for Amarendra Nath Dutta
The Bengali theatre personality, Amarendra Nath Dutta dared to compete with Girish Ghosh in the title role of Sitaram with his own dramatization of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's novel in 1900. But he also rendered great service to Bengali theatre by assuring higher pay packages and bonus benefits to technicians, actors, and actresses. He revolutionized handbills, posters, and placards in content and design. In 1905, Classic Theatre was ejected and a receiver was appointed. Giving up his rights, Dutta hired Curzon Theatre and renamed it as the Grand, but within a couple of months returned to the Classic as manager. But in this process he failed to regain popularity. In 1907, dejected, he made an effort to revitalize the Star Theatre as its assistant manager but soon joined the Minerva as manager, serving the Star as a paid artist till 1911. After a brief stint at re-establishing the Great National Theatre, this Bengali theatre personality, Amarendra Nath Dutta rejoined the Star as a lessee in 1911-15.
As a playwright, Amarendra Nath Dutta catered to audience tastes. He began with musical drama, Usha in 1893 and Manakimja i.e. "Coy Grove" in 1894. Hariraj in 1897, authorship controversial, adapted from Shakespeare's Hamlet, was perhaps the greatest success of his career. The farces Kajer khatam i.e. 'Job Finished' in 1898, Maja i.e. 'Fun' and Theatre in 1900, Chabuk i.e. 'Whip' in 1901, the musical plays Nirmala in 1898, Dutipran i.e. 'Two Lives' in 1900, Shibratri i.e. 'Sivaratri' in 1905, Keya majadar i.e. 'What Fun' in 1908, Jibane marane i.e. 'In Life and Death' after Tagore's story. The dramatizations of Chatterjee's Indira in 1898, Bhramar in 1899, and Sitaram kept spectators enthralled by his adoption of theatrical devices and stunts. Abhinetrir rup i.e. "An Actress's Beauty" in 1914 was his most original drama. As an actor, Amarendra Nath Dutta could inspire the other people. Whether in Puranic, historical, social, or satirical dress, he left his imprint on presentation of characters. But the plays he chose, barring a few like Hariraj, Kshirod Prasad Vidyavinod's Alibaba, or Bhupendranath Banerjee's 'The Sign of the Cross', hardly lent him the scope to give full vent to his acting potential. However, he stands unique as a promoter of Bengali theatre journalism.
This eminent Bengali theatre personality, Amarendra Nath Dutta also sponsored Saurabh i.e. "Fragrance" in 1895 under Girish Ghosh's editorship, Rangalay i.e. "Auditorium" in 1901 along with Panchkari Bandyopadhyay, and Natyamandir i.e. 'Theatre Temple' in 1910 under his own editorship. This was serving an important role in extending the frontiers of theatre appreciation in West Bengal as well. This legendary Bengali theatre personality died in the year of 1916.
|More Articles in Hindi Theatre Personalities (12)|