IN 2004, a Marathi play named ‘Ek Jhunjh Waryashi’ was organised by Ashay Sanskrutik and Maharashtra Cultural Centre at Tilak Smarak Mandir. Among other actors, the play featured late actor Ashwini Ekbote, who passed away on October 22 after she suffered a cardiac arrest while giving a dance performance at Bharat Natya Mandir. In the entire two-and-a-half hour long play, Ekbote did not have a single dialogue, and only portrayed her emotions through her eyes, body language and facial expressions. Yet, when the play ended, there was no one in the audience who was left unmoved by her performance.
Around 15 years ago, Ekbote became associated with Pulotsav when she gave a performance. Thereafter, her association only grew with the festival. Ekbote rarely missed the festival. Hence, to mark her contribution to the field of art, Pulotsav will be honouring her posthumously with the Pulotsav Special Award as a tribute to her work and talent.
Some of the Marathi films Ekbote worked in include Mahaguru, Aarambh, Bavre Prem He and High Command, among others. She also featured in TV serials like Duheri, Durava, Kashala Udyachi Baat and so on. The award will be received by Ekbote’s family.
“Given her long association with Pulotsav, we decided to present this award to her family as a mark of respect towards her years-long contribution in the creative field,” said Virendra Chitrav, one of the organisers.
“Ashwini’s death came as a shock to everyone who knew her. It was too unfortunate and expected. Her death also made us realise how competitive the world is especially for the young artistes, who lead hectic lives which are full of struggle. In their busy schedules, they often ignore their health,” says Chitrav.
Chitrav says apart from Pulotsav, Ekbote was also closely associated with Aashay Film Club since its inception in 1985. “She was very fond of watching world cinema and would rarely miss film screenings, though that reduced later on when she started spending more time in Mumbai due to her professional assignments,” remembered Chitrav.