Birendra Krishna Bhadra
File:Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991).jpg
Born August 4, 1905(1905-08-04)
Ahiritola, Kolkata
Died November 3, 1991 (aged 86)
Occupation broadcaster, playwright, actor, theatre director
Known for Mahishashura Mardini (1931)

Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905 - 1991) was an Indian broadcaster, playwright, actor and theatre director from Kolkata, and a contemporary of Pankaj Mallick and Nazrul Hasan. He worked for the All India Radio, India's National Radio broadcaster for several years during its early, starting 1930s, and during this period he produced and adapted several plays.[1][2].

Today, he is most known for his soaring Sanskrit recitation through a two hour audio program, Mahishashura Mardini (Annihilation of Mahisasura) (1931), a collection of shlokas and songs broadcast by All India Radio Calcutta (now Kolkata) at 4 am, in the dawn of Mahalaya.[3][4]. He also acted and directed several plays in Bengali theatre and even wrote screenplay for film, Nishiddha Phal (1955) [5].

Early life and education

Birendra Krishna Bhadra was born on August 4, 1905, to Roy Bahadur Kalikrishna and Sarala Bala Devi at a rented house in Ahiritola his maternal home, in north Kolkata. Later the family shifted to 7, Ramdhan Mitra Lane, the house bought by his grandmother Yogo Maya Devi. His father, Kali Krishna Bhadra was a linguist, fluent in 14 languages, and employed as an interpreter in a lower court and later became a known figure in the Bengali literary circles of the time. Kali Krishna married Sarala Bala Devi the second child of the then famous Police Court lawyer Kalicharan Ghosh, and in 1927 was awarded the title of Roy Bahadur. Roy Bahadur Kali Krishna had two sons, Bhupendra Krishna and Birendra Krishna.

In 1926, he passed Intermediate, and in 1928 graduated from Scottish Church College, Kolkata.


He adapted and restructures several classics to produce notable radio plays. In the 1930s All India Radio, Kolkata started broadcasting a two hour program called Mahishashura Mardini which describes the epic battle of goddess Durga with the demon king Mahishashura.[6] The script of this program was written by Bani Kumar and music directed by Pankaj Kumar Mallik.[6] Birendra Krishna Bhadra recited. In 2007 Durga Puja opens with the same recital by Birendra Krishna Bhadra.

Bhadra wrote some plays including Mess No. 49.[7], and directed a theatre production Sahib Bibi Gulam, a stage adaptation of the celebrated novel of famous author, the Bimal Mitra [8], in In 1952, he dramatized Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's Subarna Golak [9]


His rendition, Mahisasura Mardini, is still played by All India Radio, every Mahalaya, marking the beginning of Durga Puja festivities. So popular was his version of the recitation that when in 1976, the voice of noted Bengali actor, Uttam Kumar was employed for the programme, it didn't get favorable response from the audience and it was shifted back to the original version of Biren Bhadra [10].

On the Mahalaya day in 2006, Sujata Bhadra, daughter of the late Birendra Krishna Bhadra, got a cheque for Rs 50917 from music company, Saregama India Ltd as a royalty for her father's famous work.[11]


  • Hitopadesa, Publisher: Hanthawaddy publication, 1948.
  • Bisvarūpa-darśana. Publisher: Kathakali, 1963.
  • Rana-berana, Publisher: Bihar Sahitya Bhavan, 1965.
  • Bratakathā samagra, Publisher: Mandala end Sansa, 1985.
  • Śrīmadbhagabata: sampurna dvādaśa skandha, with Upendracandra Śāstri. Publisher: Mandala eyāṇḍa Sansa, 1990.



  1. Luthra, H. R. (1986). Indian broadcasting. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India). p. 35. 
  2. Das, Sisir Kumar (2006). History of Indian Literature: 1911-1956. Sahitya Akademi. p. 173. ISBN 8172017987. 
  3. Mahalaya ushers in the Puja spirit The Times of India, TNN 19 September 2009.
  4. Hindustan year-book and who's who, Volume 60. Publisher: M. C. Sarkar., 1992. pp 227, Death date ref.
  5. Birendra Krishna Bhadra at the Internet Movie Database
  6. 6.0 6.1 Pragya Paramita (September 15, 2006). "Heralding The Goddess". (Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd). Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  7. "Timeout: Drama". (The Telegraph). December 22, 2005. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  8. Staging a comeback Screen (magazine) , September 19, 2009.
  9. The story of the Calcutta theatres, 1753-1980, by Sushil Kumar Mukherjee. Publisher: K.P. Bagchi, 1982. pp 291.
  10. Timeless Tunes Indian Express, Sep 29, 2008.
  11. Sujata Bhadra Indian Express, Sep 26, 2006.
  12. Bangla Academy journal, Volumes 21-22, by Bāngla Akademi (Bangladesh). Publisher:Bangla Academy., 1995, pp 113
  13. Natya Shodh Sansthan, 1981-91: catalogue, 1991, by Natya Shodh Sansthan (Calcutta, India), Publisher: The Sansthan. pp 76.


  • Pragya Paramita. "Heralding The Goddess",, Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd, 15 September 2006. Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • Indranil Chakraborty. "Saregama gets going on Bhadra royalty,, Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Ltd, September 26, 2006. Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • "Mahalaya in Bengal", Mahalaya - Its Relation with the Durga Puja, Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • "Mahalaya", Retrieved on 6 May 2007.
  • Scottish Church College Magazine(Year - 1999,2000 and 2001.Volume - 87,88 and 89).

External links

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