Relatives, colleagues and friends of veteran theatre director Dilip Kolhatkar, who died in Pune on Friday, paid their last respects on Saturday as the mortal remains of the director were consigned to flames at the Vaikunth Crematorium. Kolhatkar, 71, was unwell for several years and also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He was being treated at Dinanath Mangeshkar Memorial Hospital in Erandwane when he died. Born into a famous theatrical family, Kolhatkar was a pivotal figure in the Marathi theatre renaissance of the late 1970s and early 80s with plays like Aai Retire Hotey. He is known for his plays such as Rajacha Khel, Moruchi Mawshi and Kavadi Chumbak. His play Kavadi Chumbak was an adaptation of Moliere’s classic, The Miser. He has also directed musicals like Tumche Amche Gaane and some of his best work are plays penned by Marathi writer Prahalad Keshav Atre.
In February, Kolhatkar’s wife Dipali Kolhatkar,65, was found murdered at their residence. Following investigation, police nabbed the help for allegedly assaulting and throttling her in a fit of rage. Kolhatkar’s son, based in the USA, travelled to Pune late on Friday night.
His colleagues from the world of theatre, including Amol Palekar and Mohan Joshi, also attended his cremation. Palekar said, “We were very close friends. During our days of struggle in parallel theatre movement, we worked with each other very closely. We used to have practise sessions… if he missed the train back home, he used to sleep at my house in Gaondevi. I also remember that during an inter-bank theatre competition, my team was given just two days to prepare and present a play. Although Dilip was a competitor, he stepped forward and helped me,” said Palekar.