Badal Sircar was the famous Bengali dramatist and one of the famous Theatre Personalities of Modern Age. Better known as the innovator of contemporary Indian theatre, he was a popular name in Bengali theatre and is popular for his anti establishment plays during the Naxal Movement in Kolkata. He is the proud recipient of Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Padma Bhushan, among others. Badal Sircar's part in theatre was not confined to playwriting. He grew more interested in production, and formed his group Satabdi in 1967. It soon became inactive. The experience set him thinking about the failure of Bengali theatre i.e. commercial theatre, group theatre, and Jatra. He wanted to achieve its true purpose. This led him to conceptualize what he called anganmancha or Third Theatre. In 1969 he reorganized Satabdi. At first he directed his earlier plays on proscenium stages. But some changes happened after Sagina Mahato in 1970 that he dramatized from Gaurkishor Ghosh's novel and Abu Hosain in 197, which was adapted from Girish Ghosh's play. He brought changes in style and new technique germinating his new ideas. He finally abandoned the proscenium and produced the revolutionary Spartacus in 1972 in an almost bare room with spectators sitting all around.
Girish Raghunath Karnad is a modern theatre Artist who has almost created havoc in the theatre scenario with plays like Nagamandali etc. Although initially he had ambitions of becoming a poet in English, he later discovered his real aptitude for drama. In his younger days, Karnad saw that Indian cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata welcomed British troupes offering performances of Western plays. He also discovered that Parsi theatre, with its gorgeous scenes, heavy doses of music, drop curtains, and proscenium stage, had a great influence on the regional professional form called Company Nataka but was rather antique in its mode of presentation. Karnad, therefore, thought of presenting truly Indian themes in a modernist style, by borrowing relevant aspects from Western theatre as well as Sanskrit theatre and folk theatre in Karnataka. When Indian amateur drama was at its lowest ebb, especially in Karnataka, he gave a new fillip to Kannada theatre, as well as to national theatre through translations of his plays in Indian languages including English.
Dolly Thakore is a former Hindi theatre actress and casting director. She is the wife of eminent stage actor and producer Alyque Padamsee and her son is Quasar Thakore Padamsee also an actor turned theatre producer in Mumbai. Most of Dolly Thakore's career is based in Delhi and Mumbai. Although, majority of her performances are seen on the stage but she appeared in the 2005, Madhur Bhandarkar's film Page 3. Dolly Thakore was the casting director for the Academy Award winning film Gandhi back in 1982 and there she was also responsible for recruiting the Indian actors in the film and for some of the PR work shown in the film. In 1997, Dolly Thakore was the casting assistant for the film Sixth Happiness. In 2006, Dolly Thakore was also seen in the TV series Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka, one of the most popular Indian Television Serials.
Ajitesh Bandopadhyay formed his group Nandikar in 1960 and severed links with IPTA in 1962. Significantly, it debuted with an adaptation of Ibsen's Ghosts, an indication of the way he led Nandikar to develop. It cannot be said that it did not produce original plays. On the contrary it did so many including a few by Bandopadhyay himselfAmong the sometimes-bewildering array of dramatists that Nandikar presented, Bandopadhyay himself regularly adapted Chekhov and Brecht. Ajitesh Bandopadhyay directed nearly all the early productions. Most of them were praiseworthy. A few of them were truly memorable. Natyakarer sandhane chhati charitra i.e. 'Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author' in 1961, Manjari amer manjari i.e. 'Mango Blossoms', from Chekhov's Cherry Orchard in 1964, Sher Afghan or Pirandellos Henry IV in 1966, Tin paysar pala or 'Three-paisa Pala', Brecht's Threepenny Opera in 1969, Bhalo manush i.e. Brecht's Good Person of Setzuan in 1974. Although they featured star performers like Keya Chakrabarti and Rudraprasad Sengupta, but it can always be said that behind Nandikar's success there primarily lay Bandopadhyay's personality and talent.
Rudraprasad Sengupta is one of the leading faces and figures of Bengali modern theatre in fact Indian modern theatre, somebody who has his pockets full of imaginative dimensions when it comes to the genre of modern Indian theatre. Nandikar in the year 1961 and leaded the dual life of actor and adaptor of plays. His adaptation of Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author i.e. 'Natyakarer Sandhane Chhati Charitra' was the first major hit that Nandikar and Ajitesh Bandopadhyay as director achieved. Others, spanning Euripides, Brecht, Arthur Miller, and Arnold Wesker, made him the most consistent as well as prominent director in Bengali theatre working on foreign drama. He also developed as a fine actor. The father in Six Characters was his earliest success, but he did best of all in anti-heroic or somewhat malevolent roles, maturing into Miller's older paternal characters in the 1990s. He married Nandikar's talented leading lady, Keya Chakrabarti, who died prematurely of an accident in 1977.
Koushik Sen, one of the pillars of Bengali Theatre had his knack rooted in theatres; and as an obvious result he founded a Bengali theatre group by the name of Swapnasandhani. The main purpose behind the formation of this group was to act out plays by various authors, writers and playwrights. This theatre group was founded in the year 1992, and from then on, this particular theatre group has staged more than 35 plays. Swapnasandhani, under the astute leadership of Koushik Sen, have reached far, and ever since its inception, the group has staged more than 35 plays. The group performs regularly in Sujata Sadan. Koushik has acted alongside many stalwarts in Bengali theatre, and one among them has been Soumitra Chatterjee in the play Tiktiki.
Sombhu Mitra had been one of the wings of Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) in 1943. He joined this while acting in the productions of its Bengal unit and jointly directing Bijon Bhattacharya's Nabanna or 'New Harvest' in 1944. The play heralded the beginning of the political-realistic 'new drama movement' that, before long, became the dominant voice and pathfinder of modern Bengali theatre. Although the stint with IPTA sharpened his social awareness, Mitra severed his connection within a few years of Nabannas success. Meanwhile, in 1945, he married fellow thespian Tripti Mitra, and entered films with the IPTA-produced Hindi classic Dharti ke lal or 'Children of the Earth' in 1946. This was partly based on Nabanna. In 1948, with Manoranjan Bhattacharya as guide and philosopher, he formed the group Bohurupee, though they named and formally started it later. Shortly, Bohurupee came to occupy the leading position in the new drama and group theatre movements. Sombhu Mitra was primarily responsible for its pre-eminence. His assets, built with discipline and labour, included a fine physique, a resonant and mellifluous voice honed for interpretative delivery of lines, mastery over acting, wide reading of dramatic literature, a poetic sensibility, and understanding of and ability to execute a director's conception of a play in its totality. All of these contributed to make him the foremost actor and director of modern Bengali theatre. A good part of his deserved reputation rests on his magnificent productions of many of Tagore's major plays, considered till then unstageable because of their symbolism, new dramatic language, and rejection of established norms of Bengali playwriting and theatre. After directing Char adhyay or "Four Chapters" in 1951, that was dramatized from Tagore's novel he produced Raktakarabi or Red Oleander in 1954. This remains a high-water mark in Bengali stage history, inspiring theatre workers across India. He also acted as the failed author in the film of Tulsi Lahiri's play, Pathik or 'Wayfarer' in 1953 and scripted and directed the award-winning expressionistic Hindi movie Jagte raho or Stay Awake in 1956.
Safdar Hashmi was one under whom Street theatre in independent India became the form of expression of the common people. Theatre after independence gradually broke the barriers of galleries, pits, lights and stage and suddenly reached the common people in the most unexpected places like behind the vegetable market, at the taxi stand or right at the doorstep of the industrial areas. The objective was mainly to bring out the ailments of the society whilst making people aware. Safdar Hashmi, one of the most celebrated names amongst the personalities in Indian theatre after independence was chiefly associated with Street theatre in India. He was the founder member of "Jana Natya Mancha" ("Janam" in short). His two plays like "Enemies adapted on Maxim Gorky's play and the other Moteram ka Satyagraha became the symbolization of the ethnic resistance against authoritarianism in India.
Modern theatre in the hands of Utpal Dutta gained that exceptional dimension during and after the independence of India. Dutta was the one to write and direct the "epic theatre", the term which he borrowed from Brecht while discussing the change in the political scenario of Bangladesh. His famous plays like "Tiner Talowar", "Manusher Odhikare" are the classical representation of his views on human rights and democracy. One of the eminent director, playwright and actor Utpal Dutta and one of the great personalities in Indian theatre after independence did streamline his theatre career into two distinct parts namely the "little theatre group" and the "peoples little theatre". "Fariry Fauj", "Titas Ekti Nodir Naam", "Kollol", "Din Bodoler Pala", Leniner Daak" are some of his creations which clearly illustrated his Marxist views and his creative ideas for "Free-speech". Utpal Dutta is a story teller of his own rank. The common people and their sufferings, the struggle of humanity, the fight for existence therefore ideally finds an articulate diction in his philosophy and ideology which were again so much a part of his dramas and plays. The other luminaries of Modern Indian Theatre are Bijon Bhattacharya, Jogesh Dutta etc.
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