Birendra Krishna Bhadra

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Birendra Krishna Bhadra
বীরেন্দ্রকৃষ্ণ ভদ্র
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991).jpg
Birendra Krishna Bhadra

(1905-08-04)4 August 1905
Ahiritola, Kolkata, Bengal, British India,

Ancestral Abode: Duttapukur, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal
Died 3 November 1991(1991-11-03) (aged 86)
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation broadcaster, playwright, actor, theatre director
Known for Mahishashura Mardini (1951)
Parent(s) Kali Krishna Bhadra
Saralabala Devi

Birendra Krishna Bhadra (Bengali: বীরেন্দ্রকৃষ্ণ ভদ্র) (1905–1991) was an Indian broadcaster, playwright, actor, reciter and theatre director from Kolkata, and a contemporary of Pankaj Mallick and Kazi Nazrul Islam. He worked for the All India Radio, India's National Radio broadcaster for several years during its early, starting 1930s, and during this period he produced and adapted several plays.[1][2]

Today, he is most known for his soaring Sanskrit recitation through a two-hour audio program, Mahishashura Mardini (Annihilator/Destroyer of Mahisasura) (1951), a collection of shlokas and songs broadcast by All India Radio Calcutta (now Kolkata) at 4:00 am, in the dawn of Mahalaya.[3][4] He also acted and directed several plays in Bengali theatre and even wrote screenplay for film, Nishiddha Phal (1955).[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Birendra Krishna Bhadra was born on 4 August 1905, to Roy Bahadur Kalikrishna and Sarala Bala Devi at a rented house in Ahiritola his maternal home, in north Kolkata. Later the family shifted to 7, Ramdhan Mitra Lane, the house bought by his grandmother Yogo Maya Devi. His father, Kali Krishna Bhadra was a linguist, fluent in 14 languages, and employed as an interpreter in a lower court and later became a known figure in the Bengali literary circles of the time. Kali Krishna married Sarala Bala Devi the second child of the then famous Police Court lawyer Kalicharan Ghosh, and in 1927 was awarded the title of Roy Bahadur. Roy Bahadur Kali Krishna had two sons, Bhupendra Krishna and Birendra Krishna.

In 1926, he passed Intermediate, and in 1928 graduated from Scottish Church College, Kolkata.


He adapted and restructured several classics to produce notable radio plays. In the 1930s All India Radio, Kolkata started broadcasting a two-hour program called Mahishashura Mardini which describes the epic battle of goddess Durga with the demon king Mahishashura.[6] The script of this program was written by Bani Kumar and the music was directed by Pankaj Kumar Mallik.[6]

Bhadra wrote some plays including Mess No. 49,[7] and directed a theatre production Sahib Bibi Gulam, a stage adaptation of the celebrated novel of famous author, the Bimal Mitra.[8] In 1952, he dramatised Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel Subarna Golak which was filmed in the same name in 1981[9]


His rendition, Mahisasura Mardini, is still played by All India Radio, every Mahalaya, marking the beginning of Durga Puja festivities. So popular was his version of the recitation that when in 1976, the voice of noted Bengali actor, Uttam Kumar was employed for the programme, it didn't get favourable response from the audience and it was shifted back to the original version of Biren Bhadra.[10]

On the Mahalaya day in 2006, Sujata Bhadra, daughter of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra, got a cheque for Rs 50917 from music company, Saregama India Ltd as a royalty for her father's famous work.[11]


  • Hitopadesa, Publisher: Hanthawaddy publication, 1948.
  • Bisvarūpa-darśana. Publisher: Kathakali, 1963.
  • Rana-berana, Publisher: Bihar Sahitya Bhavan, 1965.
  • Bratakathā samagra, Publisher: Mandala end Sansa, 1985.
  • Śrīmadbhagabata: sampurna dvādaśa skandha, with Upendracandra Śāstri. Publisher: Mandala eyāṇḍa Sansa, 1990.



  1. ^ Luthra, H. R. (1986). Indian broadcasting. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India). p. 35. 
  2. ^ Das, Sisir Kumar (2006). History of Indian Literature: 1911–1956. Sahitya Akademi. p. 173. ISBN 81-7201-798-7. 
  3. ^ Mahalaya ushers in the Puja spirit The Times of India, TNN 19 September 2009.
  4. ^ Hindustan year-book and who's who, Volume 60. Publisher: M. C. Sarkar., 1992. pp 227, Death date ref.
  5. ^ Birendra Krishna Bhadra on IMDb
  6. ^ a b Pragya Paramita (15 September 2006). "Heralding The Goddess". Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd. Retrieved 6 May 2007. 
  7. ^ "Timeout: Drama". The Telegraph. 22 December 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2007. 
  8. ^ Staging a comeback Screen, 19 September 2009.
  9. ^ The story of the Calcutta theatres, 1753–1980, by Sushil Kumar Mukherjee. Publisher: K.P. Bagchi, 1982. pp 291
  10. ^ Timeless Tunes Indian Express, 29 September 2008.
  11. ^ Sujata Bhadra Indian Express, 26 September 2006.
  12. ^ Bangla Academy journal, Volumes 21–22, by Bāngla Akademi (Bangladesh). Publisher:Bangla Academy., 1995, pp 113
  13. ^ Natya Shodh Sansthan, 1981–91: catalogue, 1991, by Natya Shodh Sansthan (Calcutta, India), Publisher: The Sansthan. pp 76.



  • Pragya Paramita. "Heralding The Goddess",, Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd, 15 September 2006. Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • Indranil Chakraborty. "Saregama gets going on Bhadra royalty,, Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd, 26 September 2006. Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • "Mahalaya in Bengal", Mahalaya – Its Relation with the Durga Puja, Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • "Mahalaya", Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • "Collection of select Mahalaya videos", Retrieved on 22 September 2014.
  • Scottish Church College Magazine(Year – 1999,2000 and 2001.Volume – 87,88 and 89).

External links[edit]