Early Life of Tapas Sen
Tapas Sen was interested in theatre from his school and college days in Delhi; he began his career as a founder member of the Indian People's Theatre Association, for Delhi unit. At that time he did tentative experiments in shadow plays through lights and cut-outs. One of them, in 1945, dealt with the calamitous Bengal famine of 1943. They did not draw crowds but showed where his true metier lay.
Career in Theatre for Tapas Sen
Later, in Kolkata, he associated with Bohurupee and made his mark as a creative artist of stage lighting in their landmark production of Rabindranath Tagore's Raktakarabi i.e. "Red Oleander" in 1954. He also became closely attached to Utpal Dutt's Little Theatre Group. For Bohurupee his lighting was somewhat subdued in tune with their approach and style. But his designs were spectacular and sometimes even gimmicky for the Little Theatre Group.
Tapas Sen revolutionized the concept of lighting. He used light as an aid to visibility or a tool to intensify a situation or create a mood as well as dramatic material woven into the texture and interpretation of a play. He did this with a set of rudimentary implements, and boundless imagination and inventiveness. He could do just about anything on the stage or outside. At the end of the LTG's Angar i.e. "Coal" in 1959, he depicted the catastrophic flooding of an entire mine. At the same time, in plays that so demanded, his scenography was unnoticeable and almost imperceptible in subtlety and restraint.
During the 1960s, Sen's reputation spread far and wide. He helped many commercial productions in Kolkata. As for instance Biswaroopa's Setu or "Bridge" in 1959 can be named. He associated with and lent his services to nearly all the well-known and many unknown Bengali theatregroups. Not only in theatre but also in every performing art such as dance, mime, film, puppetry, and also in other fields, such as architecture, son et lumiere, and art exhibitions, his talents have been extensively utilized throughout India.
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