Friday 3 May 2019

Delving into Partition's realpolitik - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Trust Utpal Dutt (1929-1993) – the redoubtable Indian actor, director and writer who was a radical figure in Bengali theatre and all-India cinema for more than 40 years – to have written controversial Bengali political plays. He was perhaps best known for such political drama, which he often produced on open-air stages in rural Bengal, as well as for his commitment to a strong leftist ideology. His plays became an apt vehicle for the expression of his Marxist ideologies, visible in socio-political plays such as Kallol (1965),  Manusher Adhikar,  Louha Manob (1964), Tiner Talwar and Maha-Bidroha (1989).  He was arrested in 1965 and detained for several months because the ruling political party feared that the enormously successful play Kallol was provoking anti-government protests in West Bengal. His stay in jail unleashed a new period of rebellious and politically charged plays and he continued to direct and stage his plays even when he was in prison. During the 1970s, as many as three of his plays were continually staged and drew capacity crowds, despite being officially banned!

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