(Last Updated on : 15/03/2012)
Tarun and Krishna Roy were the husband-wife duo that created an alternative, intimate space for Bengali theatre
in the 1950s. Tarun Roy was a classmate of Utpal Dutt
in Kolkata. Born in 1928 he was trained at the British Drama League, London during 1951-52. He produced Rabindranath Tagore
's "Sacrifice" and "The Post Office" at the Irving Theatre. Returning to India, he devoted himself full-time to writing and working for theatre, located in a small auditorium named Theatre Centre, which he built in 1954 inside his south Kolkata
home. He started a group, Mukhosh, in 1961. Krishna or Dipanwita was a skilled singer and dancer of Bharatanatyam
, and Manipuri
in college. She was born in the year 1929. Krishna had planned to become a dental surgeon. In 1958, she took classes at Leichner Studio, London, in voice and stagecraft. Her first big role was in Roy's Rajanigandha i.e. "Tuberose" in 1959. Their marriage in 1962 brought her fully into theatre.
Besides writing novels, Tarun Roy acted in and directed his own plays. He has written under the pen name Dhananjay Bairagi. His scripts dealt with diverse subjects. These were often dramatizing crime or ghost stories. They include Ek mutho akash or "A Handful of Sky" and Ekpeyala coffee i.e. "A Cup of Coffee". Both hits on the Rungmahal public stage in 1959, Pureo ja pore na i.e. "It Burns but Does Not Get Burnt" in 1965. This was based on a fire that damaged Theatre Centre. Some others can be mentioned as Bidehi or "Bodiless" in 1966, Agantuk
or "Stranger" in 1967, at Biswaroopa Theatre, Kencho khurte sap i.e. 'Snake from an Earthworm's Hole' in 1969, Parajita Nayak i.e. "Defeated Hero" in 1970. The last one was taken to France and England in 1975, and Athacha Sanjukta i.e. 'Yet Sanjukta' in 1972. He was a professor at the Department of Drama, Rabindra Bharati University
. Roy initiated the short-lived Rabindra Bharati Theatre with Tagore's story Kshudhita pashan or 'Hungry Stone
', dramatized by him. However, the generally left-oriented theatre groups in Calcutta kept some distance from him because he did not subscribe to their ideology.
A natural, graceful stage presence and sensitivity distinguished Krishna's acting in both professional and group theatre. Her major appearances were in Tarun's Ek Peyala coffee or "Ar habe na deri" i.e. "There Will Be No More Delay' in I960. She also acted tremendously well in Dilip Roy's Aghatan ajo ghate i.e. "Miracles Still Happen" in 1962, Parajita nayak, Athacha Sanjukta, and Shorashi in 1975. This was based on Sarat Chandra Chatterjee
's novel. In one more play she acted well and that was Bisha-briksha in 1979. This was based on Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
's novel. In Bisha-briksha she played the man's role of Debendra successfully.