Saoli Mitra

Born in 1948 in Calcutta, Shrimati Saoli Mitra grew into the theatre by the example of her famous parents — her father Shri Sombhu Mitra, the founder of Bohurupee, and her mother Shrimati Tripti Mitra. She was coached by both parents and by Shri Gangapada Basu of Bohurupee. She also received formal education in drama at Rabindra Bharati University, where she obtained a Master’s degree. Shrimati Mitra has learnt Rabindrasangeet under Shri Debabrata Biswas and Shrimati Suchitra Mitra, Hindustani music under Shri Dhiren Das, and has trained in both Odissi dance and modern Indian dance. Shrimati Mitra founded her own company Pancham Vaidik in 1983, and attracted nationwide attention with its production Nathabati Anatha- bat, in which she played the sole role to high acclaim. Utilizing traditional Bengali narration and song, this play dealt with Draupadi’s plight in the Mahabharata, in a searching probe into the predicament of all womankind. In her four other plays produced by Pancham Vaidik subsequently, including Katha Amrita Saman and Didriksha, Shrimati Mitra has shown further evidence of her spirit of innovation, and remains focused on her time and place. She has reflected and written regularly on contemporary issues, publishing books such as Trasta Samay Dhwasta Sanskriti and Chinta. She has also written about her father’s work as a director of Tagore’s drama in her book Rabindra- natak Raja o Shombhu Mitra’s Manchayan. Most of her plays have been published, and two audio-cassettes of her recitations of Tagore’s poems have been issued under the titles Shesh Kheya and Keno e Ke Jane. Shrimati Mitra has participated in theatre seminars and workshops both in India and abroad, and has been a member of various government boards and juries. She has received, among other honours, the Prafulla Kumar Smriti Ananda Puraskar in 1991 for Nathabati Anathabat. Shrimati Saoli Mitra receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Indian theatre as an actress.