Utpal Dutt

  Hindi Film     Main Lead, Supporting Actor, Story Writer    29 Mar 1929

Utpal Dutt – The versatile actor who became a celebrated comedian in Bollywood  Whenever people will talk about comedy in Indian cinema; one name that would unquestionably sprung up is Utpal Dutt, who is better recognized as the man of principal and one who adores moustache, Bhavani Shaker in Hrishikesh Mukherjee hilarious comedy film Gol Maal. After Gol Maal, Utpal Dutt did many more similar comedy characters and ended up winning three Filmfare Best Comedian awards for Gol Maal (1980) ; Naram Garam (1982) and Rang Birangi  (1987). Utpal Dutt came from serious school of Shakespearean Drama and did solemn characters in the New Wave Cinema in Bengal film with Internationally acclaimed New Wave Cinema legends like Satyajit Ray’s Agantuk’(1991), Joi Baba Felunath (1979), Hirak Rajar Deshe;  Gautam Ghosh’s Paar, Padma Nadir Majhi(1993), Ritwik Ghatak’s Jukti Takko Aar Gappo and Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome in which Utpal Dutt won a National Film Award for Best Actor for his powerhouse. However in Bollywood he became famous for comedy but he also did many different kinds of roles like his emotion role as the caring father Badri Prasad Sharma in Saaheeb won him a Filmfare nomination as supporting actor. His other memorable roles are Amanush, Barsat Ki Ek Raat, Anand Ashram, Priyatama, Hamari Bahu Alka, Apne Paraye, The Great Gambler, Inquilaab, Ram Balram, Kartavya etc.
Born on   29 March 1929
Screen Name/ Original Name    Utpal Dutt Utpal Dutta
Parents   Girijaranjan Dutta NA  
Siblings   NA  
Spouse   Shobha Sen
Children   Bishnupriya Dutta
Early Life     Utpal Dutt was attracted to Shakespearean drama from his school days   Utpal Dutt hailed from an affluent family in Kolkata. He attended Kolkata’s prestigious St. Xavier’s Collegiate School and later he acquired degree in English literature from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.   Since his school days young Utpal was interested in English and his love for the language increased when he started enacting Shakespearean drama in his school. Being fluent in English he would usually play the protagonist.   During college his passion for drama became intense and he joined Shakespearean Theatre Company founded by British origin Geoffrey Kendal and Laura Kendal (parents of the actress Jennifer Kendal, who married actor Shashi Kapoor).   In his debut play Utpal Dutt played Richard III so impressively that he became a permanent actor in the company and toured with the Kendals across the subcontinent for a couple of years.   However when the Kendals left India, Utpal Dutt rechristened the theater company as Little Theatre Group. Utpal Dutt was also associated with many more theatre groups like IPTA (the Indian People’s Theatre Association) and Gananatya Sangha.  
Personal Life   Utpal Dutt had a love marriage   Utpal Dutt fell in love with his co-actress Shobha Sen who worked in theatre. The two came in contact when Shobha Sen joined Gananatya Sangstha and acted in the lead female role of Nabanna.   The association continued and the two together founded Little Theatre Group in 1953-54 which later became Peoples’ Theatre Group.   The two married in the year 1960. They have a daughter Dr. Bishnupriya Dutt, who works as a professor of theatre history in the School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.    
Career   Utpal Dutt began his career in films from Bengal cinema   Bengal Cinema’s celebrated filmmaker Madhu Bose once happened to watch Utpal Dutt’s Shakespearean play Othello and was bowled by his dynamic performance.    He immediately signed him to play the lead role Michael Madhusudan (1950), a biopic on the life of the revolutionary Indian poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt.     After this he became a top actor in Bengali cinema and worked with great filmmakers like Satyajit Roy, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Gautam Ghose and Basu Chatterjee.   He appeared in many of Satyajit Ray’s films like Agantuk’(1991), Joi Baba Felunath (1979), Hirak Rajar Deshe;  Gautam Ghosh’s Paar, Padma Nadir Majhi(1993), Ritwik Ghatak’s Jukti Takko Aar Gappo,   In Mrinal Sen’s 1969 film Bhuvan Shome, regarded as a milestone in Indian New Wave Cinema, Utpal Dutt won a National Film Award for Best Actor for his powerhouse performance. His other film Mirnal Sen were Ek Adhuri Kahani(1972), Chorus, Agantuk, Jana Aranya.   He even did few English films of James Ivory like The Guru, and Shakespeare Wallah.     Utpal Dutt was a versatile actor who became famous as comedian in Bollywood   Utpal Dutt was discovered by K.A. Abbas in his film Saat Hindustani, which also introduced Amitabh Bachchan. Later Utpal did Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi that incidentally introduced Mrs. Jaya Bachchan.   Despite these two films Utpal Dutt did not get recognition until he did Gol Maal with Amol Palkar. The hilarious comedy of errors became super hit and Utpal Dutt became a famous comedian in Bollywood.   His other hit films are Gol Maal, Naram Garam, Rang Birangi, Kissi Se Na Kehna, Shaukeen. He received Filmfare Best Comedian Award for Golmaal, Naram Garam and Rang Birangi.   Besides comedy Utpal Dutt did a variety of roles like villain in films like Kotwal Saab, Amanush, Barsat Ki Ek Raat, The Great Gambler, Inquilaab, Ram Balram, Kartavya etc.   Utpal Dutt was also fantastic in emotion his role as the caring father Badri Prasad Sharma in Saaheeb won him a Filmfare nomination as supporting actor. His other sober roles were in films like Anand Ashram, Priyatama, Hamari Bahu Alka, Apne Paraye etc.      
Awards   Sangeet Natak Academy Fellowship For lifetime contribution to theatre (1990)   National Film Award Best Actor Bhuvan Shome (1970)   Filmfare Best Comedian Award   Gol Maal (1980)  Naram Garam (1982) Rang Birangi  (1987)  
Other works   Utpal Dutt was a staunch Communist and even served jail term  for his instigating plays   Being a theatre passionate Utpal Dutt did many plays related to woes of farmers and this made him vigorous enthusiast of the Communist Party of India.    Through his stage plays and street plays Utpal Dutt propagated the philosophy of the Communist Party. He was also a member of Naxalite Movement of the late 60’s and was jailed by the state government of West Bengal for his dramas instigating Naxalites.  
Milestones     Utpal Dutt gave his career’s milestone performance in Gol Maal   Utpal Dutt in the character of Bhavani Shankar in Hrishikesh Mukherjee hilarious comedy film Gol Maal gave his career’s milestone performance.   As a conservative man who values Indian tradition and regards moustache as the mirror of the human soul and mind, Utpal Dutt portrayed a commendable performance.    What made the performance extraordinary was his sheer timing with his co-actor Amol Palekar, who responded fabulously hence the result was uproarious.   The scene where Utpal Dutt takes the interview of Amol Palker made the audience go bananas. Utpal Dutt deservedly won the Filmfare Award Best comedian award.    Interestingly Utpal Dutt out beat Indian cinema’s top three comedian that year who were in the race of Filmfare Award viz. Mehmood (Nauker); Asrani ( Sargam) and Deven Verma  (Lok Parlok).