Basu, Amrita Lal

Basu, Amrita Lal (1853-1929) dramatist and actor, born in Kolkata. He was one of the pioneers of the nineteenth-century public theatre in Bengal. After passing the Entrance examination from Calcutta General Assembly Institution, he was admitted to Medical College, but, after two years of study, dropped out to study homeopathy. For a short time he practised homeopathy in Kolkata, but soon turned to acting and writing plays.

Amrita Lal Basu

In 1872, in co-operation with ardhendu shekhar mustafi, Amrita Lal staged Nil Durpan, the first show to be staged at the Great National Theatre. He also acted in the play, as Sairindhri. Amrita Lal was appointed manager of the Great National Theatre in 1875. His acting in Gajadanagada O Yuvaraj, a play written on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales to Kolkata, satirising flatterers, incurred the wrath of the authorities. He was arrested along with the playwright-cum-director, Upendra Nath, who had also acted in the play.

After the collapse of the Great National Theatre in 1888, Amrita Lal joined Star Theatre and, for about 25 years, was associated with this theatre as actor and director. He also wrote several plays: Tiltarpan (1881), Bibaha Bibhrat (1884), Taru-Bala (1891), Kalapani (1892), Bimata (1893), Adarsha Bandhu (1900), Avatar (1902), Babu (1893), Chorer Upar Batpari. In his plays he satirised the follies of both urban and rural society. Amrita Lal also wrote poems, stories and novels. [Wahida Mallik]