Biography of Achyut Lahkar

Achyut Lahkar, who is the father of a Bhrymyman Mobile theatre in Assam, is a producer, a powerful playwright, a strong actor, a skilled director, a magical light artist (photographer) as well as involved in literature. Achyut Lahkar became the voters of Assam with his talent and pursuit. Assam and Assamese got the form of Assam’s most popular theatre culture from him.

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Biography of Achyut Lahkar

Biograph of Achyut Lahkar

Table of Contents

NameAchyut Lahkar[1]
Dare of Birth9th July, 1931
Place of BirthPathsala (Bagna Village), Assam, 
ParentsGaurikanta Lahkar (Father), Kantipriya Lahkar (Mother).
EducationPrimary Education – Pathsala Majaliya Vidyalaya(School)
High School Education – Bajali Higher Secondary School
College – St. Paul’s College (Calcutta).
Awards1/ Sahityacharya Atul Chandra Hazarika Award.
2/ Kamal Kumari National Honor (1997).
3/ Brajanath Sharma Award.
DeathJune 12, 2016 (at the age of 84)

Achievements

2nd October was the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our Nation. And on that special day, on October 2,1963, the first Mobile theatre of Assam, ‘Nataraj Theatre’, was born under the patronage of Achyut Lahakar. From 1963 till today, Assam has a distinct existence, with a distinct pride in the Bhrymyman or Mobile theatre of Assam. And this mobile theatre has given Assam a distinct place in the court of world, and in India. This is why Achyut Lahkar is called the father/creator of mobile theatre. He is also known as Mancha Prabhakar(stage light maker).

Achuth Lahkar gave birth to the Nataraj Theatre in 1963 by renovating the Nataraj Opera in 1963, taking the “Nataraj Opera” journey formed by Sadananda Lahkar as a primitive one. Achyut Lahkardev has expressed his comments in his written autobiography that he did not like some of the genres of opera and a new show born on his way to change them. The things he did not like were the performance of women’s characters by men, mispronunciation of language, dialogues in tone and the power of translated plays, where Assam’s background was not used. He wanted modern prose to be the words of drama in the custom of literature and the plays should be original as well as created in the background of Assam.

He focused on the sound machine and dazzling art from the lighting to show the mobile apart from the travel opera. Using a kind of modern art technique, he was able to give a unique dimension to the mobile world. He took more precedence over the originality of the play even though he felt the need for modernity.

Achyut Lahkar Dev also attached great importance to the financial aspect of the artists associated with mobile theatre. He also arranged for temporary and carry-on platforms (Stage), auditorium, audience’s seat, etc., making the mobile theatre a grand and unique event. On October 2nd,1963, mobile dramas were staged for the first time in a temporary auditorium decorated in Harimandir premises of Pathsala. The play was Fani Sharma’s “Bhogjara”.  At that time it was not named as mobile theatre, of course. Lion man Radhagovinda Baruah invited Nataraj Theatre with the help of town club in Guwahati that same year. And while the play was staged, Baruah enjoyed the technique of performing plays as well as was overwhelmed by the drama and considered this form of performance to be unprecedented and termed it as a ‘mobile theatre’. On the second day of watching the play, he shared a news item in his newspaper- Who has his own vocabulary, has electrical technique sympathy, has his own platform, has his own auditorium, even has a kerahi(Cauldron), bucket from a pit-digging pit, so such a single and unique theatre is not elsewhere in the world that named as the world’s first mobile theatre. 

Even the familiar announcement system before the last scene of the play in the mobile theatre was the discovery of Achyut Lahkar. At the end of staging the play on day one due to technical glitch, this system is still in vogue today because of the announcement made. 

The first year of the Mobile Theatre started by Achyut Lahkar had only a stage and wooden folding chairs were arranged. Even the theatres of Nataraj Theatre did not have any gallery in the first year.

The plays staged on the stage of Nataraj Theatre in the first year are Uttam Baruah’s ‘Jerengar Sati’, Fani Sharma’s ‘Bhogjara’, Atul Chandra Hazarika’s ‘Tikendrajit’ and translated play ‘Haider Ali‘. Importantly, the light management was Achyut Lahkar’s own.

Lahkar introduced gallery at Nataraj Theatre from the third theatrical year. From the idea of Haren Das’s gallery of ‘Diamond Circus’, he started planning galleries in mobile theatres. 

Initially Nataraj Theatre had a theatre set but later focused on maintaining the continuity of the pandals by preparing two sets each. 

Nataraj Theatre producer Achyut Lahkar on stage at the theatre during the staging of the landmark play ‘Sati Beula’. Including screening of movie scenes on stage at theatres during the staging, to test the moving platform, and to examine the Arena Theatre and give an all India look to the mobile theatre of Assam, the Hindi speaking actor and actress was brought from Hindi ring and staged a drama on the soil of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh. Nataraj Theatre on the other hand started the Nataraj Cinema Theatre system in 1968-69.

‘Beula’ of Nataraj Theatre, which staged plays in different parts of Assam for a long time from 1963 to 2003, ‘Angar’, ‘Jerengar Sati’, ‘Nandadulal’, ‘Anarkali’, ‘Bandita’, ‘Khana’, ‘Sati-Sabitri’, Biplab(Revolution 1857), ‘Cherub Rustam’, ‘Vikramaditya’, ‘Ajoy Vietnam'(Invincible Vietnam), ‘Bharat Milan’ etc. are important and acclaimed plays. But the sad thing is that Nataraj’s object, memorabilia, is not preserved. No object could be saved due to the speed of time and some natural events. On the other hand at that time their was no thought of museum.

Also Read: Biography of Kanaklata Barua

Achyut Lahkar as Storywriter/Poet & others

Achyut Lahkar while he was in Kolkata also worked on writing stories and poems in parallel with his involvement in magazine. He was also involved in translation of literature. He also translated some books of the American government into Assamese while he was in Kolkata. Abraham Lincoln, Ana Karenina, etc. are books translated by Lahkar.

Not only this but he also composed a number of plays. The plays written by him are ‘Arena’, ‘Ajoy Vietnam'(Invincible Vietnam),Americar Putola (American Toys), Usha, Blackmoney, Doctor Babu, Adarshawati Nari(Ideal Woman), Aami Henu Manuh Nohoi(We are not human beings), Hamida, Akhon Prithivi(A world), Shankardev, Bandhu Hatyakari Bandhu(friend killer friend), Duliajan, Allah Ishwar.

While in Kolkata, Achyut Lahkar edited and published the monthly magazine ‘Deepawali’. The first issue of the magazine was published in Laxmi Vilas Press in Kolkata in 1952. 

According to Achyut Lahkar drama is also a part of literature. According to him one of the objectives of the play is to reform society through entertainment. Mobile theatre dramas have also enriched Assamese drama and literature.

Achyut Lahkar also had a hold on acting as well as in music. He also wrote a song for film ‘Blackmoney’. However many parts of the film which he produced and directed were shot but did not release.

On June 12, 2016 due to his old age he died, his name will remain a strong one in time’s chest due to his exceptional thinking. Many artists from Assam are currently able to get a job in mobile theatre through Nataraj Theatre created by Achyut Lahkar. More than a hundreds of mobile theatres have been created and transformed into a cultural industry by the path of Lahkar starring all over Assam in the interest of protecting the financial aspect of the artist as well as entertaining drama by creating a revolution in the drama world of Assam. It may be recalled that Achyut Lahkar also received the ‘Assam National School’ Award from Assam National School.

Conclusion

Today, various efforts have been made to keep the memory of Achyut lahkar in harmony. Every year a memorial award for Achyut Lahkar is given to an actor or actress who plays on the stage of a mobile theatre. Actor Paresh Goswami was recently conferred with the memorial award of late Achyut Lahkar in 2019-20. Earlier, many strong actor actresses including Pranjana Dutta, Barsharani Adhikari etc. have won the award.

Achuth Lahkar who ushered in a new revolution in the cultural and acting sector of Assam is the ideal of all. Mobile has overshadowed many artists because of the Achyut Lahkar who gave birth to mobiles.

On June 12, 2016 even if the creator of Mobile theatre Achyut Lahkar died, but he will always be remembered and he is always alive in the hearts of every Assamese. It was because of him that cultural initiatives was born in Assam. Mobile theatre is a proud affair for the people of Assam.

FAQ

1. Who was Achyut Lahkar?

Ans: Achyut Lahkar was a father of the Bhryamyman or Mobile theatre.

2. When and where was Achyut Lahkar born?

Ans: He was born in 9th July, 1931 at Pathsala (Bagna Village), Assam, India.

3. When and where did Achyut Lahkar founded the popular Natraj Theatre?

Ans: He founded the popular Natraj Theatre at Pathsala in 1963.

4. When he was awarded with Kamal Kumari National Award?

Ans: He was awarded with Kamal Kumari National Award in 1997.

5. When did the Natraj theatre started the Natraj Cinema Theatre System?

Ans: Nataraj Theatre on the other hand started the Nataraj Cinema Theatre system in 1968-69.

6. Name some of the plays composed by Achyut Lahkar?

Ans: Some of the plays composed by him are – ‘Ajoy Vietnam'(Invincible Vietnam), Usha, Doctor Babu, Adarshawati Nari(Ideal Woman), Aami Henu Manuh Nohoi(We are not human beings), Hamida, Akhon Prithivi(A world), Shankardev, Bandhu Hatyakari Bandhu(friend killer friend), Duliajan, Allah Ishwar etc.

7. When and in what age did Achyut Lahkar died?

Ans: He died in June 12, 2016 at the age of 84.

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