(Last Updated on : 19-03-2012)
Surendranath Ghosh, or Dani Babu as he is also popularly known, was born in the year 1868. He had a few years of primary schooling before he drifted into the theatre. Girish Ghosh, his father, apparently did not have much time for his son and he learnt the rudiments of acting from his father's favourite pupil Amritalal Mitra.
He first appeared before the public at Star Theatre
in 1890 in Girish Ghosh
's religious play Chanda. Thus began a long career as actor, manager and partner of different theatres. Excepting Amritalal Basu
, he was, perhaps, the only person belonging to the generation which nursed Bengali theatre
in its adolescence, who outlived not only its growth and decline but its revival in the 1920s as well. Dani Babu was able to achieve the feat almost entirely by his own efforts and his stage personality. There is hardly a lead role in the popular plays of two generations that he did not render with assurance. In nearly all of them he earned laudatory notices in the press. It speaks volumes for his popularity, earned the hard way. An indolent person off stage, Surendranath Ghosh, seemed always to be able to tap unsuspected reserves of energy whenever he entered the stage. Given the norms in which he was schooled, he was at ease in a variety of roles, particularly in roles requiring display of strident emotions.
He had of course lost ground but his agility and resonance of voice were unimpaired till the last years of his life. He appeared for the last time in March, 1932 and died a few months later. He was an artist, a creator.
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