After a life replete with remarkable performances on stage, theatre personality Saoli Mitra passed on, away from the public eye. Much like her father, the legendary Sambhu Mitra, had done.
Saoli Mitra was 73. She died on Sunday at 3.40pm and was cremated at Siriti crematorium in southwest Kolkata, in presence of a handful of those close to her, in accordance with her written testament.
In her condolence message, even chief minister Mamata Banerjee, with whom Mitra was associated since the Singur-Nandigram agitation and then as chairperson of Bangla Akademi, a post she quit in 2018, mentioned that she was given the news after the cremation.
Mitra was homebound since the outbreak of the pandemic after suffering from pneumonia the year before. She breathed her last at her south Kolkata home of heart-related ailments.
She had acted in Ritwik Ghatak’s avant garde film Jukti Takko aar Gappo in 1974. After spending years in Bohurupee, the theatre group founded by her illustrious parents Sambhu and Tripti Mitra, Saoli founded Pancham Baidik.
A recipient of Ananda Purashkar in 1991, Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2003, the Ibsen Centennial Commemoration Award from the government of Norway in 2006, Padma Shri in 2009, and Banga Bibhusan in 2012, Mitra would be remembered for her solo performances as Draupadi in Naathvati Anaathbat, Pancham Baidik’s first production which she wrote and directed, as Sita in Sitakatha and Katha Amritasaman, her theatrical adaptation of the Mahabharata. She could hold the audience in thrall just through her hypnotic play readings without budging from a seat and without costume.
She wrote several books, including a biography of her father.