Born in 1950 in Allahabad, Shrimati Swatilekha Sengupta is among the best-known actresses of the Bengali stage today.
She started out in theatre in Allahabad in the early 1970s, acting in productions under the direction of Shri A.C. Banerjee. Subsequently, she has received guidance from Shri B.V. Karanth, Tapas Sen, and Khaled Chowdhury. Moving to Calcutta, she joined the theatre group Nandikar in 1978, where she has been working under the direction of Shri Rudra Prasad Sengupta. It is here that she has made her career in theatre, playing lead roles in all the major plays of the group. She has presented outstanding per- formances in Khorir Gondi — the Bengali adaptation of the Caucasian Chalk Circle; Antigone; Mananiya Bicharak Mandali, based on Rashomon; Byatikram, adapted from The Exception and The Rule; Football, based on Zigger Zagger; Sankhapurer Sukanya, the Bengali version of The Good Person of Szechwan; Chokh Gyalo; and Ajnatobas. She has also been associate director of many Nandikar productions, and has composed and played music in most major productions. She holds a Diploma in Western music from the Trinity College of Music, London, and a Master’s degree in English.
Shrimati Swatilekha Sengupta has translated and adapted a number of plays for Nandikar, including Twelve Angry Men, Madhabi, Bare Bhai Sahab, and Dulia. She has trained several talented theatre artists of Bengal including Goutam Halder, Debsankar Halder, Shubhasis Ganguly, and Sohini Sengupta. She has a keen interest in children's theatre, and has directed a number of plays as part of Nandikar’s Theatre-in- Education Project. Her books on the subject include Theatre Games for Children and Natyatroyee — a collection of three plays for children and youth. On the screen, she has played the female lead in Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Baire, and she has also acted in many television and radio plays. She has received honours for her work from the West Bengal Theatre Jounalists’ Association and the Paschim Banga Natya Akademi. Shrimati Swatilekha Sengupta receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Indian theatre as an actor.