Saoli Mitra, Indian actress and prominent theatre personality, dies at 73

The eminent theatre personality and the daughter of legendary actors Sombhu Mitra and Tripti Mitra died at her residence in South Kolkata at 3:40 pm on Sunday due to heart ailments.

Mitra, a gifted actor, director, and playwright, was cremated at Siriti Crematorium later without much fanfare, her close friend and theatre personality Arpita Ghosh said.

She had been suffering from heart-related ailments but had refused to be hospitalised, and her condition worsened on Sunday, Ghosh said.

Mitra, who was the recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2003, the Padma Shri in 2009, and the Banga Bibhusan in 2012, will be remembered by her fans and critics alike for her solo performances as Draupadi in “Naathvati Anaathbat” (which she also wrote and directed), and as Sita in “Sitakatha” or Bitata Bitangso.

She acted as “Bangabala” in Ritwik Ghatak’s film “Jukti Takko Aar Gappo”.

After spending years in “Bahurupi,” a famous theatre group founded by Sambhu Mitra and Tripti Mitra, where she immortalised the character of Amal in Tagore’s “Dakghar,” Saoli founded “Pancham Baidik,” which established a trailblazing repertoire by introducing widely acclaimed plays on women’s emancipation.

Theatre personality Bibhas Chakraborty recalled his long association with Saoli since her younger days in Bohurupee.

“She was ill for many years but we never knew she would leave us so early.” Chakraborty said.

Theatre personality Rudraprasad Sengupta said Saoli had been away from public scrutiny due to ailments for some time, but she had mesmerised audiences with her stellar performances over the years.

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