(Last Updated on : 15-03-2012)
Kshirod Prasad Vidyavinod was a Bengali playwright. Born in 1863 he was a student of chemistry. He taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the General Assembly's Institution, Kolkata during 1892-1903. While teaching in college, he developed a strong attraction to theatre. His first play, Phulshajya or 'Nuptial Bed' in 1894 was immediately produced at Emerald Theatre.
Vidyavinod wrote nearly fifty dramatic works of various types, among which Alibaba in 1897, Banger Pratapaditya i.e. 'Bengal's Pratapaditya' in 1903, Raghubir in 1903, Pakshir prayashchitta i.e. 'Penance for Plassey' in 1907, Chandbibi in 1907 were worth mentionable. Some of the other can be mentioned as Nandakumar in 1908, Bhishma in 1913, Ramanuj in 1916, Kinnari in 1918, Alamgir in 1921, and Naranarayan i.e. 'Man and His Maker' in 1926. All of these were most frequently performed. Amarendra Dutta
's production of Alibaba at Classic Theatre became a runaway success for many decades. Rumour had it that its popularity cost the author his job. Bhishma, Alamgir, and Raghubir helped in creating new stage history under Sisir Bhaduri
. The musical "Bhuter beggar" i.e. 'Labours Lost' in 1908, Basanti in 1908, and Kinnari contained indigenized improvisations. The plays with the Middle East as locale namely Julia in 1899, Bedaura in 1902, Aladin in 1907, and Daulat-e-duniya i.e. 'Wealth of the World' in 1908, revision of Saptam pratima in 1902. All of these opened another world to Bengali theatre
. The British government proscribed the politically sensitive Palashirprayashchitta and Nandakumar.
Kshirod Prasad Vidyavinod was equally skilful in verse and prose. He had a sharply conflict-oriented understanding of dramatic action. He contributed to Bengali drama the invention of a psychological dimension to the conflict. His diction ranged from the sublime to the mundane. He proficiently made sophisticated, high-level vocabulary coexist with down-to-earth slang. But the elegance of his dialogue has remained mostly emulate. Ironically, except for Alibaba and Naranarayan, almost all his plays went into oblivion with the rise of modern Bengali theatre
, though most kept assiduously close to Western canons. Kshirod Prasad Vidyavinod died in the year of 1927.
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