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Legendary Bengali playwright Badal Sircar dies

News18test sharma |

Updated: May 14, 2011, 12:16 PM IST
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Legendary Bengali playwright Badal Sircar dies
Badal Sircar gave Indian theatre a new dimension with plays like 'Pagla Ghoda' and 'Ebang Indrajit.'

Kolkata: Legendary Bengali playwright Badal Sircar, who gave Indian theatre a new dimension with plays like 'Pagla Ghoda' and 'Ebang Indrajit', died at his north Kolkata residence on Friday evening. He was 86.

Sircar, who was awarded a Padma Shri in 1972 and offered a Padma Bhushan in 2010, which he declined, had been suffering from prostate cancer and chronic lung disease, The Telegraph newspaper reported. His body has been donated for medical research.

Sircar was noted for taking theatre out of the proscenium and spending nearly 40 years perfecting the art of third theatre and absurd theatre and writing pathbreaking existential plays.

The legendary playwright and director lived surrounded by books, plays and new visions at his home in Manicktala, at the heart of the metropolis.

The playwright was recently honoured with the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award for lifetime achievement in the capital for 40 years of creative contribution to the country's contemporary theatre movement.

Sircar, who had cut down his pace of work since a crippling accident nearly a decade ago, read his plays instead of directing them.

Sircar, a civil engineer by training and a town planner by profession, was known for his play 'Ebang Indrajit', drawn from a Western work and written while working in Nigeria. It captures the existential angst of the urban youth in post-independence India. The play brought Sircar to the mainstream of Indian theatre. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1972.

He was also known for plays like 'Basi Khabar', 'Baaki Itihaas', 'Tringsha Shatabdi', 'Pagla Ghoda', 'Spartacus', 'Juloos', 'Bhoma' and 'Solution X'.

Sircar carried contemporary plays to unexplored terrain. The street, public spaces and parks were his stage, away from the closed performance space. He broke down the walls that existed in theatre to bring actors and people to a common platform.

The playwright, who worked in London and later in Nigeria, was influenced by theatre stalwarts like Joan Littlewood, Anthony Serchio, Richard Schechner of the Performance Group and Polish director Jerzy Grotoswki in the 1960s.

In 1976, he founded his own company, Shatabdi, a new wave troupe that took Sircar's plays to Kolkata's Surendranath Park to involve the audience.

Sircar's brush with the theatre began in 1951. Sircar's earliest encounters with theatre was adapting Cinderella into a play from his sister's text book and staging it at home. The fetish for adaptation remained at the core of his literature - both plays and prose. He was influenced by classical Bengali fiction. (With additional information from IANS)

First Published: May 14, 2011, 12:16 PM IST
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