(Last Updated on : 10-03-2012)
Surjya Kumar Dutta was born in the year 1873. He was attached with the jatra
culture from very early years. Surjya Kumar, a part of history of jatra
, was admired for his innovative comic acting. He was born in a village in East Bengal, he had an excellent singing voice and his command of several musical instruments helped him put on solo variety shows as a boy. His histrionic talent revealed itself quite early. He first joined the Sinha Company, a theatre company of West Bengal
, and when he was at the age of 7, he was invited into the fold of the famous Natta Company as a child actor. While in his teens, his acumen for administrative matters was discovered and he contributed a lot in organizing Natta into the foremost Jatra outfit of East Bengal. Gradually he also became its arch comedian, and his role as Ramrup in Trishanku, in various Bengali plays
, made people sit up and recognize his talent. Soon he was promoted to director of the troupe, whose success owed much to his astute handling of its affairs. He directed one production after another nearly about seventy. Dhruba, Prithwiraj, Protishodh i.e. "Revenge", Lohar Jal i.e. "Iron Net", Parashmani i.e. "Philosopher's Stone" became "super hits" running for years. Into his 80s, he remained Natta's highly respected manager.
Surjya Kumar Dutta lent a hand suggesting how to structure scripts, and some innovative prose dialogue. He introduced new choreography and modernized work backstage, including make-up. Although Surya Kumar was a stern disciplinarian, he helped his actors in many ways. Brajendra Kumar De, the prolific Jatra dramatist, commented that spontaneity and naturalness distinguished Dutta as a comedian. He shunned the buffoonery of earlier Jatra. Among around a hundred roles, he memorably created the comic ones of Nilmani Ghatak in Loharjal and Bhaja in Patiter bhagaban, i.e. "God of the Downtrodden". His performances included funny novelties, like throwing a rasagolla sweet 15 m up and catching it in his gaping mouth. He discovered and promoted Jatra stars like Panchu Sen, Sujit Pathak, Arun Dasgupta, Sekhar Ganguli, and Manoj Kumar
, who later went on to become some of the noted theatre personalities of West Bengal
Surjya Kumar Dutta expired in 1977.