Arun Mukherjee

Born in Shibpur in West Bengal in 1937, Shri Arun Mukherjee studied modern history for his Masters degree at the University of Calcutta. He started out as an actor and director in the Bengali theatre during the mid- 1950s, and with his dramatiza- tion of Rabindranath Tagore’s story Nashtaneer in 1963, he also began to be noticed as a playwright. Today, Shri Arun Mukherjee is acknowledged equally as a director playwright, and actor in the Bengali theatre. In the late 1960s, Shri Mukherjee adapted for the stage Maxim Gorky’s novel Mother, Howard Fast’s novel Spartacus, and Manik Bandyo- padhyay’s story Haraner Natjarnai, which were produced under his direction in Jatra form. In 1972, he established his own theatre group Chetana, which has produced his well-known plays Mareech Samvad and Jagannath to acclaim. Since then, Chetana has produced several Bengali adaptations of world drama by Shri Mukherjee, including Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person of Setzuan and Dale Wasserman’s Man of La Mancha. He has also adapted and produced Bhisham Sahni’s play Kabeera Khada Bazar Mein in Bengali. Shri Mukherjee has made several appearances in the Bengali cinema, as in Ritwik Ghatak’s classic Komal Gan- dhar, Mrinal Sen’s Parashuram and Goutam Ghosh’s Padma Nadir Majhi. He was awarded the Silver Lotus as best actor for his role in Parashurarn in 1978. He has directed a film version of Mareech Samvad with finan- cial assistance from the Govern- ment of West Bengal. Shri Mukherjee has participated in workshops and seminars on theatre and cinema, and has delivered lectures at the Universities of Toronto, New York, and Bordeaux. Many of his plays and adaptations have been published in the original Bengali. Mareech Samvad and Jagannath have also been published in English. Shri Arun Mukherjee receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Indian theatre as a director.