Utpal Dutt was born on 29 March 1929 in Barisal, East Bengal, British India & died on 19 August 1993 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, 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 Theater Group’ in 1947, which enacted many English, Shakespearean and Brecht plays, in a period now known as the ‘Epic theater’ period, before emerging itself completely in highly political and radical theatre.
His plays became apt vehicle of the expression for his Marxist ideologies, visible in socio-political plays like, Kallol (1965), Manusher Adhikar, Louha Manob (1964), Tiner Toloar and Maha-Bidroha. He also acted over 100 Bengali and Hindi films in his career spanning 40 years, and remains most known for his roles in films like, Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome (1969), Satyajit Ray’s Agantuk (1991) and Gautam Ghose’s Padma Nadir Majhi (1993) and in breezy Hindi comedies like Gol Maal (1980) and Rang Birangi (1983).
His father was Girijaranjan Dutt. Dutt was born on 29 March 1929 in Shillong in Hindu family, and he studied initially at St. Edmunds Schoolthere, and later completed his Matriculation in 1945 from St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, Kolkata. In 1949, he graduated with English LiteratureHonours from the St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta, University of Calcutta.
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.
Forty years after the staging of classic play Kallol which entails the story as the mutiny of Indian sailors against the British on the Arabian Sea, for which he was even imprisoned, was revived in 2005, as Gangabokshe Kallol, part of the state-funded ‘Utpal Dutt Natyotsav’ (Utpal Dutt Theatre Festival) on an off-shore stage, by the Hooghly River in Kolkata .
The Last Lear, the 2007 English film based on his play Aajker Shahjahan on an eccentric Shakespearean actor, and directed for the screen by Rituparno Ghosh, later won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English.
In 1960, Dutt married theatre and film actress Shobha Sen. Their only daughter, Bishnupriya Dutt, is a Professor of Theatre history in theSchool of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.