Badal Sircar as a Playwright

Badal Sircar was the first-generation Bengali playwright of post-independence India. He was popularly known for his anti- establishment plays. Sircar, initially, started his career with the proscenium theatre but soon rejected it for its typical influence of Britishers. Sircar by profession was as a town planner in India, England and Nigeria. Later he entered Theatre and became an actor. Gradually he started directing dramas and later soon he became the playwright.

Many well-known critics acclaimed his work and compared him with contemporary popular playwrights in India such as Vijay Tendulkar, Mohan Rakesh, Girish Karnad and many other. Badal Sircar elevated egalitarian society. He was influenced by several western writers but he believed that influences will always be there, the question is whether one copies it exactly or assimilates it to make something new out of it to fulfil one’s own needs. Badal Sircar never charged for his plays’ performances. As he intended through his free performances to raise people’s awareness to fight for a better life.

He wanted to project an authentic picture of common masses on stage and hence formed his own concept of theatre as the “Third Theatre”. At the beginning of his career he, was writing in the fashion of proscenium theatre but later left it. Though his path breaking play Evam Indrajit, 1963 from the proscenium phase truly set Sircar as a playwright. The other plays like That Other History, (1965) and There is No End (1970) are the chief plays which Sircar wrote for the proscenium stage. However, he gave the reason of leaving the proscenium theatre. In one of the interviews, he said, the reason of quitting on the proscenium theatre is: “When I came to the proscenium stage, I hadn’t realized the strength of the theatre. I wasn’t aware of what theatre can do. In other words, there was already deep down an awareness of the limitations of this theatre. It was from that awareness itself that there eventually came the question of communication, utilization of space, redefining the spectator performer relationship, and the gradual realization that the distinctive feature of theatre is that it is a live show and it offers scope for direct communication, man to man communication, and therefore the barriers between the two parties to the process, viz. spectators and performers, should be minimized, and if possible, eliminated. With that realization, I left the proscenium theatre. Badal Sircar as a playwright through his ‘Third theatre’ produced the plays in his mother tongue- Bangla only. Later his almost all plays got translated worldwide.

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