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IN MEMORY OF THE MOHIT CHATTOPADHYAY

IN MEMORY OF THE POET-PLAYWRIGHT, MOHIT CHATTOPADHYAY | Written By - Subroto Ghosh PhD


Kironmoy Raha while talking about the contemporary playwrights in the chapter on the ‘other theatre’ of his book, ‘Bengali Theatre’ writes, “To a greater extent than any other contemporary playwright, Mohit Chattopadhyaya uses poetic and symbolic devices. His characters have an extra-real dimension and he lets them – and the play – develop tensions by a deft use of imagist language and surreal situations.” Very seldom one finds such thrifty use of words to explicitly and exactly describe a person’s body of works. This was way back in 1978 when Mohit was in his first phase of his creative writing for the Bengali theatre world. Mohit Chattopadhyay passed away at the age of 78, after a protracted suffering on 12 April just a day before the first death anniversary of another theatre giant of our time, Badal Sircar. Both were poets to their core and both wrote plays steeped in poetry of their individual genre. The Bengali stage has been impoverished and the likes of them would never be seen once again. 


Mohit was born in Barishal and migrated with his family to Calcutta just a few months ahead of the partition. An avid lover of literature and a compulsive writer of poems, his college days in Scottish Church saw him amidst a group of budding poets like Sunil Gangopadhyay, Phanibusan Acharya, Shibsambhu Pal, Sakti Chattopadhyay, Sandipan Chattopadhyay and Soumitra Chattopadhyay amongst others. One of the founders of the Krittibas group, Mohit published his first book of verses, Aashare Shrabone in 1956. His contemporaries found in his poetries a class that had a very individualist style and were certain that this young companion would be their co-traveller in their journey to discover a poetic idiom in the post-Tagore (and post-Jibanananda?) era. But a chance reading of Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author opened up for Mohit a hither to overlooked world of theatre and he found a very different language to communicate his thoughts which he thought was much stronger and more passionate a vehicle than poetry. According to him, he felt bogged down in his poetic pursuits and was not finding the ecstasy and the delight in writing the verses that he used to enjoy in the initial days of writing poems. He said that he was looking for a space where he could express his feelings more openly, and he found theatre the ideal spot. He wro

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