Shree Balakrushna Mohanty

Born :- 05-Mar-1900
Died :- 19th Century
Place of Birth :- Palaashola, Jagatsinghpur

Balakrushna Mohanty was a bright star in the field of Odia drama. He was born in the village Palashol in the then undivided Cuttack district (now Jagatsinghpur). His father's name was Divakar Mohanty and mother's name was Labanya Devi. He had his education up to the ninth grade. Howeve,  he opened a grocery shop in the village and took care of his family. It is here that his unforgettable journey of literary creation began.

Balakrushna tried his hand at writing plays. His first play was ‘Chatanya Leela’ followed by ‘Amar Bilas’. Both the plays were to be staged by his own troupe Jayadurga Jatra Dal he had set up under the direct supervision of Nilamani Mohanty. But, unfortunately, it was not possible due to the death of his eldest son. Despite this incident he was not discouraged, and devoted himself to his literary pursuit again.

Over time, Balakrishna shifted his troupe to Calcutta. There he performed for three years and became very popular. The theme of the plays, the acting and direction of the actors were excellent without question. Performances of the troupe in countless plays such as ‘Harishchandra’, ‘Mathura Vijay’, ‘Lalita-Vidyapati’, ‘Guptamantra’, ‘Mantramugdha’ and ‘Shakuntala’ gave him a unique identity.

Balakrushna brought many interesting changes to the stage. With the help of magic lanterns names of the plays, names of actors and those on the music band were written on the white screen on stage. He introduced a variety of innovations including painting of the actors and their attires. Introduction of proscenium stage was his greatest innovative contribution to the Odisha Yatra world. Later, following disturbances in the troupe and his falling a victim to the wrath of the Maharaja of Kalahandi made him frustrated and miserable. He spent his last days in penury and pain.


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