Dilip Chakrabarty: The most powerful actor of his generation | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 22, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 22, 2012

In Memoriam

Dilip Chakrabarty: The most powerful actor of his generation

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The most shocking SMS I have ever received in my life was the one sent by “Common Gender” director Noman Robin on September 17 night. It read:
“Actor Dilip Chakrabarty died this evening at his home.” It is most shocking to me because Dilip was my friend and certainly not of the age when death should snatch him away.
Because of my non-communicative nature, Dilip-da and I did not meet for many years. Recently, I took Dilip-da's phone number from Robin bhai, but it is shameful that I did not give him a call. I have always felt proud of him and told many about his acting prowess. I had been planning for the past couple of months to give him a call and request him to give me an interview on his acting career and thoughts on the craft. I never considered doing this for anyone else but Dilip-da. My dream was that the interview would carry the following words, “Dilip, the most powerful actor of his generation in Bangladesh…”
An article published on The Daily Star [on June 6 this year] called him, “one of the brightest actors in the current Dhaka theatre scene” [bold choice of words by Jamil Mahmud]. This was written about Dilip's performance as the protagonist in the play “Arakkhita”, produced by Desh Natok. Tamanna Khan, reviewing the movie “Common Gender”, wrote, “…all other acting flaws are compensated by Dilip Chakraborty's balanced and credible portrayal of Bubli's character. It is actually his performance, especially in the second last scene that breaks down all emotional reservation.” [“Silence Beneath the Glitz”, the Star, July 20, 2012.]
During the second half of the 1980s, we spent a lot of time discussing left-wing politics and theatre. We often shared food thanks to the economic crisis during our student life. He was progressive and took to theatre from a social commitment. Our views were so similar that we felt very close to each other. But then our ways parted with new turns in our lives.
About 12 years later I found him in the role of Ekalabya in Masum Reza's play “Nityapuran”. In the review of this play, published in the Dhaka Courier, I mentioned Dilip-da's unparalleled portrayal of Ekalabya, the protagonist. Jamil Mahmud wrote in The Daily Star after his death, “Perhaps the indomitable character, the tragic hero Ekalabya, will remain in people's mind forever but the actor within the character has left the stage for good…Both as Ekalabya and Shukracharya, his diction, body language and spontaneity will be considered as fine examples of skilled acting.”
I wrote in a review of “Common Gender”, “The extraordinary way Dilip acted in this scene made the audience stunned, their eyes welling up; a pin-drop silence fell in the hall. The audience came out with the resonance of Dilip's heartrending cry in their hearts, 'Tell me mother, once again, come in son, I've cooked rice for you. Have your meal, my son…'
“Director Noman Robin told me that even during the shooting of this scene many who were watching this from the surrounding rooftops and buildings were in tears.” [Dhaka Courier, July 14 and 28, 2012.]

The writer is Deputy Director, Research and Development Collective (RDC).

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