Bijon Bhattacharya is an Indian film and theatre personality. He was born on 17th July, in 1915 in the town of Faridpur, which is now in Bangladesh. Hailing from a Brahmin family, he witnessed the penury and destitution of peasants. Later he joined IPTA, Indian People’s Theatre Association, an association that aimed at reflecting the agony of the poor through their work. The association believed that this could bring about a social impact for the development of this section of the society.
Nabanna (meaning: Harvest) is Bijon Bhattacharya’s popular play depicting Bengal’s famine of 1943. It was undertaken by IPTA and was inspired from the movie, ‘Dharti Ke Lal’. Bijon also wrote stories for different films with another IPTA member,
Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. In the year 1978, on January 19th, Bijon breathed his last. He was married to Mahashwetha Devi, a Jnanpeeth Awardee, and they have a son, Nabarun Bhattacharya, who is also an accomplished writer.
Some of Bijon’s famous works are ‘Agun’, ‘Nabanna’ in the year 1944, ‘Jabanbandi’ which means ‘confession’, ‘Mara Chand’ in the year 1951, which means dead moon, ‘Garbhabati Janani’ which was famous in the year 1969, and had the meaning, Pregnant Mother. He has also appeared in films like ‘Tathapi’ and ‘Chinnamul’, both of which came out in the year 1950, ‘Komal Gandhar’ which came out in the year 1961, and in 1964, in ‘Kashtipathar’, and in ‘Subarnarekha’ in the year 1965 etc.
He appeared in the famous movie, ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ in the year 1960, which was made by
Ritwik Ghatak. The play ‘Nabanna’ was completely different from the usual type of Bengali theatre. The play deeply depicts the problems of refugees and people of rural Bengal.
Almost all plays of Bijon had protagonists belonging to the lowest stratas of the society, such as the tribal and poor. In the play ‘Nabanna’, Pradhan Samaddar was the main character. He was a peasant from Bengal. The drama portrayed the crisis faced by Pradhan Samaddar and his family during the Bengal Famine.