Shyamanand Jalan (1934 – 2010)

Shyamanand Jalan was a pioneer in Hindi Theatre in Calcutta. He was one of the first few Hindi Actor-Directors who commanded admiration and respect throughout the country. Though a lawyer by profession he had been tireless in his services to theatre. The founder secretary of Anamika (1955), he had the unique distinction of presenting all the three plays of Mohan Rakesh – Aashadh Ka Ek Din (1960 – Anamika), Lahron Ke Rajhans (1966, Anamika) and Adhey Adhurey (1970, Anamika). It was through his production of Evam Indrajit (1968, Anamika) that Badal Sircar was introduced to Hindi theatre audiences in the country. Shuturmurg (1967, Anamika), Abhijnana Shakuntalam (1980, Padatik) and Adhey Adhurey (1983,Padatik) were landmark productions.

A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction in the year 1972, he served as a member of the Governing Body of Indian Council for Cultural Relations. and was elected Vice-chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from 1999 – 2004.

Amongst the other plays that he had directed were Chapte Chapte, Gidhade,  Sakharam Binder, Hazar Chaurasi Ki Maa, Good Woman of Setzuan, Kanyadaan, Ramkatha Ramkahani, Khamosh Adalat Jaari Hai and Madhavi.

An accomplished actor Shyamanand acted in many films such as Tasveer Apni Apni for Mrinal Sen, Arohan directed by Shyam Benegal, Kahan Kahan Se Guzar Gaya by M.S. Sathyu, Ashray by Biplab Roychowdhury, Andhi Gali by Buddhadev Dasgupta, Chokh and Deb Shishu by Utpalendu Chakraborty, City of Joy by Roland Joffee, 2 Stories by Satyajit Ray, Raj Se Swaraj by Amal Allana, Kissa Kathmandu Main by Satyajit Ray and Bargad an ITV serial.

For his role in Chokh, directed by Utpalendu Chakraborty, he received the best supporting actor’s award from the Bengal Film Journalists’ Association in 1982.

He had also directed the films Mukhabhinaya, Pagla Ghora, Aleek Babu, Seemana Chariye, Dheu, Krishnakant Ka Vasiyatnama, Theatre Directors at Work.

His last play – a revisualization of Lahron Ke Rajhansa (2007) met with unanimous acclaim from both audiences and critics.

His vision of a pluralistic theatre environment which offers creative and intellectual freedom will always remain the inspiration behind Padatik Theatre.


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