Binodini Dasi (1862–1941), also known as Notee Binodini, was a Calcutta-based, Bengali-speaking renowned actress and thespian. She started acting at the age of 12 and ended by the time she was 23, as she later recounted in her noted autobiography, Amar Katha (The Story of My Life) published in 1913.
Born to prostitution, she started her career as a courtesan and at age twelve she played her first serious drama role in Calcutta's National Theatre in 1874, under the mentorship of its founder, Girish Chandra Ghosh. Her career coincided with the growth of the proscenium-inspired form of European theatre among the Bengali theatre going audience. During a career spanning twelve years she enacted over eighty roles, which included those of Pramila, Sita, Draupadi, Radha, Ayesha, Kaikeyi, Motibibi, and Kapalkundala, among others. She was one of the first South Asian actresses of the theatre to write her own autobiography. Her sudden retirement from the stage is insufficiently explained. Her autobiography has a consistent thread of betrayal. She violates every cannon of the feminine smritikatha and wrote down what amounted to her indictment of respectable society. Ramakrishna, the great saint of 19th century Bengal, came to see her play in 1884. She was a pioneering entrepreneur of the Bengali stage and introduced modern techniques of stage make-up through blending European and indigenous styles.
In popular culture
- Nati Binodini, a 1994 Bengali film starring Prasenjit Chatterjee and Debashree Roy.
- Nati Binodini, a play based on her autobiography, "Aamar Kathaa" was first presented by National School of Drama Repertory Company in 1995 with the lead role played by actor, Seema Biswas, then in 2006, noted theatre director Amal Allana directed a play by the same name which premiered in Delhi.