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Human Interest

Theatre personality Shaoli Mitra passes away

IANS | January 17, 2022 12:23 PM

KOLKATA: Shaoli Mitra, famous theatre personality and daughter of 'legendary' Sambhu Mitra and Tripti Mitra, passed away at her Kolkata residence on Sunday evening. She was 74 and was suffering from age related ailments for long.

The gifted actor, director, and playwright, as per her last wish, like her father, was cremated at Siriti crematorium without much fanfare. She had been suffering from heart-related ailments but had refused to be hospitalised. Subsequently, her condition worsened on Sunday.

Shaoli, who was the recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2003, Padma Shri in 2009, and Banga Bibhusan in 2012, will be remembered by her fans and critics alike for her solo performances as Draupadi in "Naathvati Anaathbat" (which she also wrote and directed), and as Sita in "Sitakatha" or Bitata Bitangso.

She acted as "Bangabala" in Ritwik Ghatak's avant-garde film "Jukti Takko Aar Gappo" (Reason, Debate, and a Story).

After spending years in "Bahurupi," a famous theatre group founded by Sambhu Mitra and Tripti Mitra, where she had immortalised the character of Amal in Tagore's "Dakghar", Shaoli founded "Pancham Baidik," which established a trailblazer repertoire by introducing widely acclaimed plays on women's emancipation.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had a very close association with Shaoli said, "I am deeply saddened by the demise of Shaoli Mitra, a prominent personality of Bengali drama and eminent theatre personality".

"Shaoli Mitra was my long-time colleague. She was with me in the Singur-Nandigram movement. He worked closely with me when I was the railway minister. Later, when we formed the government, she became the President of Bangla Academy and did valuable work with responsibility. The Government of Bengal awarded him Bangabibhushan in 2012 and Deenbandhu in 2014," she said.

Banerjee who also got the information of her death after her cremation, as per her last wish, said, "I remember her as a close person and as our long-time colleague and friend, she will always remain in in my heart. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and countless admirers of Shaolidia."

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