Khaled Choudhury, one of the most innovative artistes, stage directors and set and costume designers of Bengali theatre, died after prolonged illness in Calcutta on Wednesday. He was 95.
Choudhury had been associated with theatre since the heady days of the Bharatiya Gananatya Sangha (Indian People’s Theatre Association), which he joined in 1945. He had worked for several directors of the Bengali and Hindi stage and was closely associated with the likes of Sombhu Mitra, Bijon Bhattacharya, Tripti Mitra, Shekhar Chattopadhyay, Shyamanand Jalan, Manoj Mitra and Soumitra Chattopadhyay. He is still remembered for his contribution to the Bohurupee productions of the 1950s.
He also worked with directors of the younger generation, such as Meghnad Bhattacharya and Gautam Haldar.
Choudhury had worked in countless productions in various capacities but his set design for Bohurupee’s Raktakarabi in 1954 is considered an icon of Indian theatre.
Later he worked as music director, too. He started researching folk music and folk-lore in the 1960s. He was secretary of the Folk Music and Folklore Research Institute, which collected folk music from eastern India, from its inception in 1965. The collection was donated to the state government’s Lokasanskriti o Adivasisanskriti Kendra (Centre for Folk and Adivasi Culture).
He was awarded Padma Bhushan for his contribution to theatre in 2012.