Shri Dharani Barman was born in 1925 at Chamata village in Nalbari district of Assam, where he still resides retired. His first foray in theatre was with the amateur Dharmapur Shilpi Sangha in his native village, a group he formed with his friends. It was however with the launching of the first mobile theatre in Assam, Nataraj Theatre, by Achyut Lashkar in 1961 that Shri Barman found his feet on the stage, and went on to take the role of a pioneer in this popular movement.
The lead actor and director in the Nataraj Theatre, Shri Dharani Barman established his own professional company in 1963, the Suradevi Natya Sangha. This modernized Jatra company shortly mutated into the modern Suradevi Theatre, supported by major figures in Assamese theatre such as Bishnuprasad Rabha and Brojen Barua. The Suradevi Theatre proved to be a grand success and ran for thirty-one years, with Shri Barman playing many of the leading roles. In all, he has acted in more than three hundred plays, including resounding successes such as Chambalar Abhisap, Piali Phookan, Haidar Ali, Samrat Ashok, and Hitler. Subsequently, his sons have started their own mobile companies emulating their father’s success, named Bishnujyoti Theatre and Ranghar Theatre. His wife has established the only women’s theatre in Assam, the Moon Theatre. A leading figure in Assam’s cultural life, Shri Dharani Barman has been honoured by various organizations such as the Assam Sahitya Sabha and the Assam Natya Sanmilan.
Shri Dharani Barman receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Indian theatre as an actor.