Charandas Chor

and Other Plays

Utpal Dutt


Seagull Books, Kolkata, 2019

Language: English

460 pages

6" x 7.5"

Price INR 599.00
Book Club Price INR 480.00
INR 599.00
In stock

A towering figure in twentieth-century Indian theatre, Habib Tanvir was an actor, director and playwright, working in Hindi and Urdu. He founded the Naya Theater in 1959, through which he created remarkable works drawing on the history and traditions of the indigenous people of Chhattisgarh. This volume brings together four of his best-known plays, anthologized for the first time.

Agra Bazar (1954), set in the early nineteenth century amid the bustle of a colourful street market in the iconic North Indian city, is woven together by the wonderfully human voice of the poet Nazir, and examines some of important cultural and socioeconomic issues of the period, such as the declining influence of the Urdu language and the growing power of English in colonial India. Charandas Chor (1975), Tanvir’s most famous work, is the story of a folk hero who robs the rich much in the style of Robin Hood and evades the law until he comes up against one wall he cannot scale—his own commitment to the truth. In Bahadur the Wine Seller (1978), translated here for the first time, Tanvir reinvents a nearly forgotten Chattisgarh folk tale about a mother–son relationship in which he finds echoes of Oedipus. The Living Tale of Hirma (1985) dramatizes a historical event in which a headstrong ruler of an Indian tribe clashes with people who want to replace the indigenous way of life with newfound ideals of democracy, leading to disastrous results.

Enriched by introductory texts and an intensive interview with Tanvir that covers the milestones of his illustrious career, this volume will be the perfect introduction to Tanvir’s work for English-language theatre enthusiasts and scholars.

Utpal Dutt

Utpal Dutta (29 March 1929 – 19 August 1993) was an Indian actor, director, and writer-playwright. He was primarily an actor in Bengali theatre, where he became a pioneering figure in Modern Indian theatre, when he founded. the 'Little Theater Group' in 1947, which enacted many English, Shakespearean and Brecht plays, in a period now known as the 'Epic theater' period, before immersing itself completely in highly political and radical theatre. His plays became apt vehicle of the expression for his Marxist ideologies, visible in socio-political plays like, Kallol (1965), Manusher Adhikar, Louha Manob (1964), Tiner Toloar and Maha-Bidroha. He also acted over 100 Bengali and Hindi films in his career spanning 40 years, and remains most known for his roles in films like Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome (1969), Satyajit Ray’s Agantuk (1991), Gautam Ghose’s Padma Nadir Majhi (1993) and Hrishikesh Mukherjee's breezy comedies such as Gol Maal (1979) and Rang Birangi (1983). He received National Film Award for Best Actor in 1970 and three Filmfare Best Comedian Awards. In 1990, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance and Theatre, awarded him its highest award the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to theatre.