Utpal Dutt is a Veteran in Indian cinema who was a popular theatre actor. He had acted in many Hindi movies too. He has acted over 100 movies in a career spanning over four decades. His most critically acclaimed and box-office successful films include ‘Bhuvan Shome’, Agantuk, Golmaal, Shaukheen, Amanush, Barsaat Ki Ek Raat, The Great Gambler. Although he acted in many Bengali plays, he took a keen interest in English theaters.
He was associated with Prithvi Theatres and even acted in many Shakespearean plays. He has been instrumental in securing a place for serious theater among urban Indian audiences since the mid-1950s. He had always stated audiences should be our first concern and matter of form and content can come second. He is undoubtedly a revolutionary genius who had a combined sense of effective stagecraft and accurate analysis of the diverse shades of characters that he played in plays by Ibsen, Tagore, Shaw, Gorky and Konstantin Simonov.
Modern theater gained a dimension in his hands after he began to work on the stage. Utpal Dutt even formed his theater named Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) in Kolkata. The actor was a professor of English at South Point School in Kolkata. Despite his busy shooting schedules, he always kept himself busy with theater activities and became an icon. He spearheaded theater acting and gave a facelift to both modern Indian cinema and theater.
To Hindi audiences, the actor is best known through films like Golmaal and Kotwal Saab (
Hrishikesh Mukherjee), Shaukheen, Priyatama and Hamari Bahu Alka (
Basu Chatterjee) and Amanush & Anand Ashram (
Shakti Samanta). He received the Best Filmfare Comedian Actor award for acting in three Hindi films like Golmaal,
Naram Garam and
Rang Birangi. In 1970, he won the best actor in national film awards category for film Bhuvan Shome. He is also the recipient of 'Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship' for lifetime contribution to theatre.
He has also directed many Bengali films such as Ghoom Bhangar Gaan (1965), Jhar (Storm) (1979), Maa (1983) and Inquilab Ke Baad (1984), etc. As a mark of respect to this legendary actor,
Rituparno Ghosh made an English film ‘
The Last Lear’ based on Utpal Dutt’s play Aajker Shahjahan, which was acted by
Amitabh Bachchan. The actor was born in East Bengal on 29 March 1929. He was married to film actress
Shobha Sen, and the couple has an only daughter, Dr. Bishnupriya Dutt. She is a lecturer in Jawaharlal Nehru University in
New Delhi. Utpal Dutt had passed away on 19 August 1999 in Kolkata. His death left a vacuum in Bengal film and stage.