Utpal Dutta

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Utpal Dutta

Born: 29 March 1929

Died: 19 August 1993

  • He was an Indian actor, director, and writer-playwright.
  • He was primarily an actor in Bengali theatre, where he became a pioneering figure in Modern Indian theatre, when he founded the “Little Theatre Group” in 1949.
  • This group enacted many English, Shakespearean and Brecht plays, in a period now known as the “Epic theatre” period, before it immersed itself completely in highly political and radical theatre.
  • 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 Toloar and Maha-Bidroha.
  • He also acted in over 100 Bengali and Hindi films in a career spanning 40 years, and remains most known for his roles in films such as Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome (1969), Satyajit Ray’s Agantuk (1991), Gautam Ghose’s Padma Nadir Majhi (1993) and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s breezy Hindi comedies such as Gol Maal (1979) and Rang Birangi (1983).
  • He also did a small role of a sculptor in a detective show called Byomkesh Bakshi on Doordarshan in the early 90s, shortly before his death. The episode was called ‘Seemant Heera’.
  • He received National Film Award for Best Actor in 1970 and three Filmfare Best Comedian Awards.
  • In 1990, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance and Theatre, awarded him its highest award, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to theatre.

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