Theatre personality Ramaprasad Banik dead

Eminent thespian, Ramaprasad Banik, a protégé of the legendary Sambhu Mitra, died after a brief illness here on Monday. He was 56.

Banik is survived by his mother, wife and two daughters.

Well known theatre-personalities, admirers and theatre lovers flocked to his residence on Tuesday, which also happens to be his birthday.

Actor, director and playwright, Ramaprasad Banik virtually spent his entire lifetime in theatre, having started off at a very early age as a child artist in Putul Khela, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, directed by Sambhu Mitra.

Under the tutelage of Sambhu Mitra, he starred in many plays; but it was in his adolescent years that he decided to seriously pursue theatre, said Utpal Naik, who served as Banik's art director through a career spanning four decades.

Through the 1970s he acted, directed and wrote several plays for ‘Bahurupee' — the theatre group that was founded by Sambhu Mitra — but later moved on to form Chena Mukh, a separate group with like-minded theatre artists.

“The name Chena Mukh [familiar faces] had been suggested by Tripti Mitra [revered stage actress and wife of Sambhu Mitra] herself,” Mr. Naik added.

In his years with Chena Mukh, Banik scripted, directed and acted in several plays including Pakhi, Ranee Kahini and Icchekari, said Subrata Majumdar, who is among those who knew him from his ‘Bahurupee' days and co-founded the ‘Chena Mukh.'

“Ramaprasad once heard that there had been a cancellation at the Academy of Fine Arts. On the spur of the moment he decided to produce a full-length play for the venue and managed to do so in three days. Not only did he put up a fantastic play, he even groomed a novice actress in that short a time,” Mr. Majumdar said.

While he was completely committed to professional theatre, he also experimented with commercial theatre for a brief spell when he put up plays to houseful audiences for nearly a hundred shows, Mr. Naik said.

He later moved on from ‘Chena Mukh' as well, setting up another group, ‘Theatre Passion.' Over the last few years, he became increasingly involved in bringing children into theatre through a programme at the Nehru Children's Museum.

“Although he was so completely involved with his own theatre group, the community as a whole could always count on him. On several occasions, other groups would ask him to write or direct a play for them and he would willingly oblige,” Mr. Majumdar said.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 6:59:51 AM |

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