Birendra Krishna Bhadra: Birendra Krishna Bhadra was a famous radio broadcaster, playwright, actor, narrator and theatre director from Kolkata, India. He is best known for his recitation of Mahishasura Mardini, a musical program that is broadcast every year on Mahalaya, the first day of Durga Puja. His voice and delivery of the Sanskrit shlokas have become iconic and have captivated generations of Bengalis across the world.
Bhadra was born on 4 August 1905 in Ahiritola, Kolkata. His father, Kali Krishna Bhadra, was a linguist and a Roy Bahadur. Bhadra graduated from Scottish Church College in 1928 and joined All India Radio in the 1930s. He adapted and restructured several classics to produce notable radio plays. He also wrote, acted and directed several plays in Bengali theatre and wrote the screenplay for the film Nishiddha Phal (1955).
Bhadra’s most famous work, Mahishasura Mardini, was first broadcast in 1931. It was scripted by Bani Kumar and composed by Pankaj Kumar Mallik. Mahishasura Mardini is a combination of devotional songs, classical music, acoustic melodrama, traditional instrumentals and Sanskrit shlokas. It describes the epic battle of goddess Durga with the demon king Mahishasura. The program is considered to be a masterpiece of Indian radio and has been broadcast every year since then, except in 1976.
Bhadra passed away on 3 November 1991, but his voice lives on as a symbol of the spirit and culture of Durga Puja in Kolkata. He has been honoured with several awards and recognitions for his contribution to Bengali literature and radio. A short film on his life was released in 2019 by Haalum Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd