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|Born||30 September 1933|
|Died||13 October 1983(aged 50)|
|Occupation||actor, playwright, activist|
Ajitesh Bandopadhyay (Bengali: অজিতেশ বন্দোপাধ্যায়; born: 30 September 1933 - 13 October 1983) was an actor, playwright, activist and director. He along with Shambhu Mitra and Utpal Dutt are considered to be the doyens of Bengali theatre of the post - Independence era.
He was born Ajit, at Ropogram, in the Asansol region of Bardhaman district, bordering Purulia. He was the eldest son of coal miner Bhubhanmohan and Lakshmirani.
Having graduated from Manindra Chandra College, Kolkata, he taught for few years in the same college and in South Point School before plunging himself in the world of theatre by joining the Nandikar group in 1960.
Prior to joining Nandikar, he had been in close touch with the IPTA (Indian Peoples' Theatre Association) and was both directing and performing a number of its stage productions. While with Nandikar, Ajitesh along with Rudraprasad Sengupta, Asit Bandopadhyaya and Keya Chakrabarty, staged and performed many successful plays - mostly adaptations of Chekhov, Sophocles and such stalwarts; of these, few like Antigone, Teen Poysar Pala (adapted from Three Penny Opera), Manjari Aamer Manjari (adapted from Cherry Orchard) not only drew large audiences but created milestones of success even at the national level. Plays like Bhalomanusher Pala and Sher Afgan met with same success. As a recognition of his directorial ventures and contribution to theatre, he was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 1976 at the age of 42, one of the youngest recipients of this nationally prestigious award. In the early 1970s, he was described by none other than Sambhu Mitra as the "most powerful performer of the Bengal theatre in current times". In 1977, he left Nandikar and formed his own theatrical group Nandimukh through which he continued his stage productions and performances with equal aplomb.
At the same time, his performance on the silver screen, particularly as a character-actor, in films like Haate Bajare, Chhuti, Atithi, Kuheli followed by Ganadevata, Aaj Kaal Porshur Galpo, Thagini, Nidhiram Sardar, Hire Manik, Kapalkundala, Samjhauta (in Hindi) established him as a powerful thespian of the stage and screen.
He was actively involved with radio-plays and Jatra also.
An instance of his integrity and devotion is found when he left his teaching career on being cast for the role of the antagonist in Haate Bajare Directed by Tapan Sinha stating that his acting might negatively impact the young minds.
His untimely demise (at the age of 50) left a void, especially in Bengal theatre, which is, perhaps, still felt by one and many.
- Mitra, Prithvijit (12 August 2013). "53 years on, an actor remembers his journey". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 August 2018.