Usha Ganguli has established herself as one of India’s major directors, leading the theatre group Rangakarmee for over thirty-nine years now. Till today, she remains essentially an activist who loves to take on challenging subjects and seeks to grow in the process. Her artistic growth as a director has been rooted in a concern to react and respond to all those forces that inhibit humanity.
Trained as a dancer in Bharatnatyam, she brings choreographic and physical skills to her work in theatre as director and actress, enriched by her scholarly and literary sensibilities and insights. This is evident in works like Mahabhoj (1984), Lok Katha (1987), Holi (1989), Court Martial (1991), Rudali (1992), Himmat Mai (1998), Mukti (1999), Shobhayatra (2000), Kashinama (2003), and her latest trilogy woven around the life and works of Saadat Hasan Manto. Rangakarmee, the theatre group that she set up in 1976, remains the most active and prolific group performing in Hindi in India, travelling extensively through the country, with visits to Germany, USA, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She participated in South Asian Theater Festival, 2007 as a Director of most acclaimed production Rudali in Hindi. Her achievements in and contribution to Indian theatre have been recognized in the form of numerous awards, including the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1998), and several awards from the West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh State Academies. She is at present Member of the Executive Committee of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, the West Bengal State Natya Akademi, the Society of the National School of Drama, and the Rabindra Bharati Court.