The Star Theater is one of the most eminent theatres and heritage buildings of Kolkata. It stands as an iconic structure, reminiscent of Bengal’s rich cultural history. Initially it was built on Beadon Street but was later moved to Cornwallis Street, which is now known as Bidhan Sarani. In the pre-independence period, when Star Theatre was born, bengali dramas played a pivotal role in manifesting aversion of the British rule and addressing social issues. Thus, StarTheatre is a playhouse of several historical events.
Although, other bengali theatre halls like the Great National Theatre and Bina Theatre were already present, yet the inception of Star Theater marked the beginning of a distinct era in bengali theatre. In addition, It brought a new wave of cultural revolution which gave a new meaning and dimension to bengali theatre. Basically what happened was that, with the setting up of the Star Theatre, bengali theatre gained a great deal of contemporary flavor. Above all, the Star Theatre and the Minerva Theatre, both were renowned for being the birthplaces of evolutionary bengali dramas. Several famous plays directed by eminent theatre personalities were staged here during the early years of the theatre and it became the favourite hub for the art lovers of Kolkata. Therefore, StarTheatre is a playhouse of several historical events.
HISTORY OF STAR THEATRE
The StarTheatre is indeed a playhouse of several historical events, was established in 1883 and was financed by a scholarly and affluent connoisseur of Bengali art, Mr Gurmukh Roy.
Information on Father of Bengali Theatre
When Girish Chandra Ghosh, the father of bengali theatre, left National Theatre to form his own theatrical group called ” Calcutta Star Company “, his muse Noti Binodini (most popular actress of 19th century Bengal), stood by him. The new theatre required a humungous sum of money. Although it was impossible to achieve the feat without a wealthy patron. Gurmukh Roy agreed to finance the entire project
Sacrifice by Noti Binodini
Though Gurmukh Roy agreed to finance the entire project but in return Binodini had to give consent to become his mistress. Thus she had to make a great personal sacrifice because she had to leave her old patron whom she truly loved. Moreover, her co-stars had openly protested the idea of naming a playhouse after a ” fallen woman”. Besides, all the hurt and humiliation, Binodini performed in the inaugural show of the playhouse, in the drama named “Dakshayagna”, directed by Binodini’s mentor Shri Girish Chandra Ghosh. The latter however himself enacted the character of Daksha. Thus began the remarkable journey of Star Theatre, which has given fame and recognition to a number of exceptional talents.
SOME MORE HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT STAR THEATRE :
A destructive fire damaged the historical building in 1991. Though the heritage facade of the building remains intact, its interiors are contemporary. Presently, the theatre operates mainly as a cinema hall. Henceforth, It is to be noted that the first motion picture made by Heera Lal was screened in Star Theatre
Actors who performed in this Theatre:
In addition, it has excellent acoustics and after renovation by the Government of West Bengal, it hosts many bengali plays. In the year 1898, Swami Vivekananda hosted a public meeting at this theatre. The purpose was to introduce Margaret Nobel, who later became well-known as Sister Nivedita. Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Rabindranath Tagore and Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar attended this meeting after that. Thus it has great historical importance and no wonder it is one of the heritage buildings of city of joy.