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Badal Sircar

Badal Sircar
Towards a Theatre of Conscience

First Edition
  • Anjum Katyal - Consultant (Publications), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKAIAS), Kolkata and Co-Director, Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival
Critical Acclaim

October 2015 | 316 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd

The first full-length study of Badal Sircar, who brought theatre to the streets and to the masses in India!

Badal Sircar (1925-2011) is one of the most important and influential figures in the history of post-independence Indian theatre. As a playwright, he contributed seminal texts which have inspired the country’s leading directors and continue to be produced by younger groups. In terms of form, he was responsible for Third (later called Free) Theatre, an urban theatre which was alternative, non-proscenium, mobile and very physical. As a theorist and philosopher of Indian theatre, he opened up the discourse to include concerns with democratic human interaction and a search for a more just and equitable society. As a teacher and mentor, he traveled widely across the country holding workshops which had a deep impact on hundreds of theatre workers, including some major directors.

This book is a full-length, detailed study of Badal Sircar’s life and work, with its three distinct phases: the playwriting for the proscenium stage, with path-breaking texts like Evam Indrajit, Pagla Ghoda and Baki Itihas; the departure to non-proscenium physical theatre focused on the actor, with its social critique and commitment to conscientisation; and the dissemination phase of extensive workshops and mentoring.


Foreword by Amol Palekar
Bitten by the Bug
The Early Years
Ebong Indrajit : The Game Changer
A Creative Year
Nigerian Interlude
An Established Playwright
Proscenium Farewell
Indoors and Outdoors
The Third Theatre
Devised Theatre
The Workshop Way
The Woman Question
Talking Politics
The Final Years
Appendix: List of Plays
Select Bibliography

‘Anjum Katyal’s book is a valuable chronicle of the evolution of Badal Sircar’s theatre….  A valuable record for all theatre lovers.’

Sanjna Kapoor,
Theatre Personality

An engrossing new biography of Kolkata’s theatre legend…. Lucidly written study on a man who displayed the kind of mettle, passion and morality rarely available in individuals.

Mint, 28 November 2015

A critical look at Badal Sircar’s oeuvre fills an important gap in the history of Indian theatre…. Katyal’s book, which explores new ground by devoting entire chapters to gender and technique in Sircar’s theatre, is perhaps the most comprehensive critical work on him. It will appeal to theatre scholars and practitioners alike-not only for its rigorous scholarship but also because of the fascinating stories it narrates.

Business Standard, 28 November 2015

A theatre lover needs to read this book. Those studying this art, it will complement and supplement their learning. But for ardent admirer’s of Badal Sircar’s craft, it is a must.

The Hindu, 27 November 2015

[The book] throws light on a generous and unusual man and his unwavering commitment to his work… Sircar’s life and work not only inspires those involved in the theatre and the other arts but lay readers as well.

FrontLine, 12 January 2016

[The book] is a full-length, detailed study of Badal Sircar’s life and work… Badal da’s journey of exploration and documentation began and ended as a theatre by, of and for the middle class — his own class.

Free Press Journal, 24 January 2016

“Katyal’s book, which explores new ground by devoting entire chapters to gender and technique in Sircar’s theatre, is perhaps the most comprehensive critical work on him”

Business Standard

This book is a very welcome read indeed…it is crucially importance for young  theatre artists to know how much of what appears to be new even today, has already been done by Sircar in his prime.

Himal South Asian,
Volume 29 (Issue 1)

Anjum Katyal’s book is useful- it helps introduce a whole new generation of theatre makers to one of the commanding figures of Indian Theatres.

The Book Review, May 2016

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