Manoj Mitra in December 2013, Kolkata
Born 22 December 1938 in Dhulihar village of Satkhira, Khulna, Bangladesh. Initially used to study at home because his father Ashok Kumar Mitra had a transferable job. He was attracted to the jatras and plays that used to be held in their courtyard during the Durga Pujas but was forbidden by senior family members to participate in anyway. His school life began after the Partition at a school near Basirhaat. Later he joined the Scottish Church College with honours in philosophy and graduated in 1958. He used to write short stories and many of them appeared in various magazines. It was at Scottish Church that he got initiated to theatre. There were regular shows at the college where the likes of Badal Sarkar, Rudraprasad Sengupta and others were students. He did his MA in Philosophy from the University of Calcutta and began research for a doctorate. But by then he and friends like theatre and film director Partha Pratim Chowdhury had begun the group Sundaram. He began by teaching philosophy in the Ranigunj College and later joined the drama department at the Rabindra Bharati University, where he became the head of department and retired as Sisirkumar Bhaduri professor of RBU. But by then he was a leading playwright of Bengal. He was writing, directing and acting in plays. His first play Mrityur Chokhe Jal won him first prize at the state wide competition. He has till date written over a hundred plays like Mrityur Chokhe Jal, Sajano Bagaan, Parabas, Alokanandar Putra Kanya, Narak Guljar, Aswathama, Chakbhanga Madhu, Mesh O Rakhash, Noisho Bhoj, Chhayar Prashad,Galpo Hekim Saheb,Rajdarshan, Debi Swarpamasta, Munni O Saat Chowkidar,Rangerhaat, Ja Nei Bharatey.While most of these plays were produced by Sundaram, major theatre groups have produced his works like Theatre Workshop, Bohurupee etc. His works have been translated into many languages and produced by directors like Ratan Thiyam, Rajendar Nath and others. His latest play Aschourjo Funtosee is now being produced by Sundaram in Kolkata, India. He has written several books on film and theatre.
At present he is the President of the Paschim Banga Natya Akademi and president of Sundaram.
Awards and honours
- Sangeet Natak Akademy Award for Best Playwright (1985)
- Calcutta University Award for Best Playwright (1986)
- West Bengal State Government Award for Best Playwright (1983 & 1989)
- Asiatic Society’s Gold Medal (2005)
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor (1980)
- Munir Chowdhury Award from Bangladesh Theatre Society (2011)
- Dinabandhu Puraskar (25 May 2012)
- Kalakar Awards
Career in cinema
He is best known for the lead role in Tapan Sinha’s film Banchharamer Bagaan, which was based on Mitra's play Sajano Bagaan (The Arranged Garden). and his roles in Satyajit Ray's Ghare Baire and Ganashatru.
- At play with a pack of cards
- Some Alumni of Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008, p. 589
- Interview with Manoj Mitra in Scottish Church College Magazine, 2001, volume 89. page 42
- "Kalakar award winners". Kalakar website. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- The Films of Tapan Sinha
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