Kabichandra Kalicharan Pattnaik

Born :- 23-Dec-1897
Died :- 07-Jan-1970
Place of Birth :- Khamaranga, Banki, Cuttack

Kabichandra Kalicharan Patnaik, who combined in himself the qualities of a creative artist and a scholar, and was a writer, an actor, a dancer and a musician—was born on 23 December, 1898 in the princely state of Badamba under Cuttack district. Though a native of village Khamarang near Banki, Kalicharan’s father Durgacharan Pattnaik was at that time serving as Dewan of the princely state, Badamba. 

Kalicharan received his primary education in Badamba and and ME School education at Banki. Then he was admitted into Khurda High School. After matriculation he started his higher education in Ravenshaw College Cuttack in 1916, but the untimely death of his father in 1919 put a stop to his higher academic career. A few days into this misfortune, he began his service career as a Sub-inspector of Schools at Khandapara, later transferred to Ganjam.

Kalicharan worked as editor of ‘Utkal Dipika‘ for a few months. He was also the Assistant editor of ‘Mukura’. In 1922 he went to Mayurbhanja to work under Maharaja Pratap Chandra Bhanja. Under his guidance a theatre group came up there which staged his plays, earning applause of the people.

Following his marriage, Kalicharan came to Puri and started off as  a musician while also acting as confidential advisor of Puri Raja Ramachandra Dev. There he edited the weekly ‘Puribasi’. He also published ‘Puri Sangita Prabha’ – a first-time monthly musical magazine. During his stay in Puri he started a Rasa group in 1925 to introduce newness in Odissi music and musical plays.

From 1926 to 1939 performance of Rasalila by his group had captivated the people. But he diverted his efforts at social and historical plays. In 1939 he established the ‘Orissa Theatre’ in Cuttack which was the first professional Odia Theatre Company. He was also associated with a large number of cultural and academic institutions for nearly three decades.

Kalicharan has authored many mythological, social, historical and musical plays which have proved to be very popular on stage. He has also written poems and several collections of his verses have been published.

The plays by Kalicharan include: BanaBihara, Kautuka Chintamani, Vidyabati, Kishore Chandrananda Champu, SriGitaGovinda, Priti Sudhakara, Manini, Lakshmi, Dhurba, Mrugaya, Sakuntala, Harischandra, Pratisodha, Girls’ School, Ahuti, Paribarttana, Akhira Dekha, Chumbana, Banamala, Atibadi Jagannatha Dasa, Abhijana, Chakri, Bhaata and many more. His most significant contribution is the editing of several rare manuscripts on music, dance and drama in Odia. Two prominent manuscriptsamong those edited are ‘Ragachitra and ‘Abhinaya Darpana Prakasha’.

Kalicharan’s works on music are Sapta Swari and Suralekha. His Odia translation of Gitagovinda has been highly acclaimed. He also wrote his autobiography titled Kumbhara-chaka. He was associated with Odia movies like Lalita (1949) and SriJagannatha (1950) as singer, music composer and director.

In 1958 he attended the All India Nrutya-Sangita Sammilani in Delhi and there he presented a treatise on the originality of Odissi dance and music with several new theories that articulated theit deep Odisha connection. He visited different conferences to establish that Odissi, as a music, is not just classical but is very different from both Hindustani and Carnataki music. Odissi Sangita Prakash is another lasting contribution of Kalicharan to Odissi music.

Kabichandra Kalicharan Pattnaik has been a pioneer in the revival of the performing arts in Odisha. He has trained many artists in all three fields. In 1944, he received the title of ‘Kabichandra’ from the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri in recognition of his poetic talent. Utkala Sahitya Samaj had also conferred on him the ‘Natyacharya’ title. In 1977, he received the Kendra Sahitya Academy Award for his autobiography Kumbharachaka. 


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