(Last Updated on : 28-01-2009)
Tulsi Lahiri was born in 1897. He was the most famous of the dramatists who shifted their work-base from the old commercial Bengali theatre
to the 'new theatre' initiated by the Indian People's Theatre Association in the mid-1940s. He was a lawyer in Rangpur, east Bengal. He grew up with many interests and accomplishments such as a musician, vocalist and instrumentalist, then a lyricist, actor, playwright, film scriptwriter, composer, theatre and cinema director, in all of which he achieved considerable success.
As a dramatist he covered a wide area, from the rural poor to tribal life and exploitation in the coal mines, without forgetting his middle-class moorings. Durgadas Banerjee did his play Mayer dabi i.e. 'Mother's Claim' in 1941 on the commercial stage, followed by Sisir Kumar Bhaduri with Duhkhir iman i.e. 'Honour of the Hapless' in 1946. Bohurupee produced Pathik i.e. 'Wayfarer' in 1949 and Chhenra tar i.e. 'Snapped String' in 1950 under Sombhu Mitra's direction. Sabitabrata Dutta staged Banglar mati i.e. 'Soil of Bengal' in 1956 and Natyakar i.e. 'Dramatist' in 1957 for Rupakar.
Tulsi Lahiri acted frequently in theatre, in about fifty films, and directed eleven. He wrote, scored, and performed in Thikadar i.e. 'Contractor' in 1940, and scripted the cinematizations of Pathik in 1953. As an actor he could move with surprising ease from the comic to the serious or from the innocent to the villainous. He had a perfect command over dialects was his forte. Once an orchestra conductor in the Art Theatre, he also scored music for record companies like His Master's Voice and Megaphone. He served All India Radio for a while. This multi talented died in the year of 1959.