Remembering Utpal Dutt on his 89th birth anniversary.

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Utpal Dutt (29 March 1929–19 August 1993) was an 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 1949. This group enacted many English, Shakespearean and Brecht plays, in a period now known as the “Epic theater” 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 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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