Last Updated on February 8, 2022
Utpal Dutt was an Indian actor, director, and writer-playwright. He was firstly an actor in Bengali theatre, where he presented himself as a revolutionary figure in Modern Indian theatre. He founded a theatre group in 1949 which was known as ‘Little Theatre Group’. This group use to perform many English, Shakespearean and Brecht plays, in a period which is now known as the”Epic Theatre” period. Later, the group got completely engaged in highly political and revolutionary theatre. His plays represented his Marxist ideologies, visible in plays such as Kallol (1965), Tini Toloar, Maha Bidroha and many more. Not just this but Utpal Dutt has acted in more than 100 Hindi and Bengali movies in his career span of 40 years.
Utpal Dutt who was born on Friday, 29 March 1929 ( age 64years; at the time of death) was not just a renowned actor but also a director and a writer-playwright. He was especially known as an actor in Bengali theatre. After establishing the ” Little Theatre Group” in 1949 he was considered a revolutionary figure in Modern Indian theatre. This group was popular for performing many English, Shakespearean and Brecht plays, in a time now known as the “Epic Theatre” period before it entirely submerged itself in highly political and revolutionary theatre. His plays were the visualisation for the articulation of his Marxist ideologies which can be seen through his many plays such as Kallol(1965), Manusher Adhikar, Louha Manob(1964), Tiner Toloar and Maha-Bidroha.
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Black
Uttpal Dutt was born in Barisal in Bangladesh. His father was Girijaranjan Dutt.
Wife & Children
In the year 1960, Utpal Dutt got married to a theatre and film actress Shobha Sen. Shobha Sen was born on Sept 23, 1923, in Bangladesh. She died on 13th august 2017 after suffering from heart failure in Kolkata. Their only daughter Bishnupriya Dutt is a professor of ‘Theatre&perfomance studies’ at the ‘school of Arts&Aesthtics’ at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Utpal Dutt lead a victorious career in not just in acting but had equal stability in the profession of director, writer-playwright, and theatre activist who remained a reforming personality in Bengali theatre and Indian cinema for more than 40 years. Although Utpal Dutt was active primarily in Bengali theatre, he started his journey in English theatre. Since his teenage days, he developed his passion and craft in English theatre, which resulted in the establishment of ” The Shakespearens” in 1947. Its first presentation was a powerful production Of Shakespeare’s Richard III, with Utpal Dutt playing the role of king. Geoffrey Kendal and Laura Kendal (parents of actress Jeniffer Kendal) were so impressed with Dutt’s acting that they immediately hired him to work in their ” Shakespearana Theatre Company”. After joining the theatre company Uttpal Dutt did two long tours with them across India and Pakistan performing Shakespeare’s plays, first 1947-1949 and then 1953-1954.
His intense representation of Othello was equally praised. when the owners of Shakespearana Theatre Company left India in 1949, Dutt decided to rename his group as “Little Theatre Group”. This group then continued to enact plays by Ibsen, Shaw, Tagore, Gorky and Konstantin Simonov. The group later established themselves to enact Bengali plays and in time it progressed into a production company that would produce various Bengali movies. Apart from this, Utpal Dutt remained an active member of Ganantya Sangha, which performed through rural areas of West Bengal. He also remained a teacher of English at the South Point School in Kolkata. Utpal Dutt has also published books on Shakespeare and revolutionary theatre.
He was also a founding member of the Indian People Theatre Association( IPTA), a corporation known for its socialist learning, but left it after starting his theatre group. While he was enacting the role of Othello, a famous filmmaker Madhu Bose gave him the lead in his film Michael Madhusudhan which was established on the life of the rebellious Indian poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt. Later, he wrote a play on Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt. He has enacted into many Bengali films and some of the films of Satyajit Ray.
This famous actor has acted in more than 100 Hindi and Bengali films in his career span of 40 years. His noteworthy roles in many Hindi movies such as Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome(1969), Satyajit Rau’s Agnatuk(1991) and popular comedy movies of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s such as Gol Maal in 1979. Dutt was praised for his extraordinary acting in movies Guddi, Gol Maal, Naram Garam and Rang Birangi. He received the National Film Award for Best Actor in the movie Bhuvan Shome.
He was equally praised for his stability in managing successful parallel careers as an extreme determined theatre playwright and director in Bengali films alongside doing hilariously comic roles in Indian cinema. He is known as the greatest dramatist in the progressive Bengali theatre of the 20th century. Dutt was also a lifelong Marxist and an active follower of the Communist Party of India. His ” Revolutionary Theatre” was a sensation in contemporary Bengali theatre. Due to his revolutionary career, he went to jail after staging a classic play known as Kallol which entails the story of the mutiny of Indian sailors against other British on the Arabian Sea.
I believe any discussion on films in semi-colonial or newly independent countries must start from the illiteracy, poverty and cultural starvation of the masses” wrote Utpal Dutt in an essay in 1979.
He also directed several films such as Megh (1961), A Psychological Thriller, Ghoom Bhangar Gaan(1965) and Inqualib Ke Baad(1984).
Awards and Achievements
- In 1990, the Sangeetak Natak Akademi Fellowship awarded him a lifetime contribution to theatre.
- In 1970 Utpal Dutt was awarded National Film Award for best actor in the movie Bhuvan Shome.
- He was awarded Filmfare best comedian award for movies such as Gol Maal(1980), Naram Garam(1982) and Rang Birangi(1984).
- He was also awarded the Bengali Film Journalist Association award as the best actor for the movie Agantuk.
- Utpal Dutt was nominated for the Filmfare best-supporting actor award in movies like Amanush, Gol Maal and Saaheb.
On 19 August 1993, Utpal Dutt died due to a heart attack right after he returned home from the S.S.K.M hospital Calcutta, West Bengal where he had undergone dialysis.
- Aamir Khan‘s mother in ‘Lagan’ once played the female lead actor opposite Utpal Dutt.
- Utpal Dutt started his career in English theatre when he was studying at St, Xavier’s College, Kolkata
- Utpal Dutt first Hindi film was ‘Saat Hindustani’ directed by K.A.Abbas and not ‘Guddi’, Reportedly this movie was also the very first movie of Amitabh Bachchan.