Playwright & scholar,leaves a void

Deshpande was part of the team of scriptwriters who worked for Hindi TV serial Bharat Ek Khoj.

Written by Express News Service | Pune | Published: October 18, 2013 1:20 am

Marathi playwright and noted political and economic analyst G P Deshpande died here on Wednesday. He was 75. Deshpande was hospitalised a few weeks ago following brain hemorrhage. After remaining in coma,he was recently shifted to his home where he breathed his last,family members said.

Popularly known as GoPu or GPD,Deshpande was known for his plays that were fresh in ideas. Udhwastha Dharamshala,Andharyatra and Satyashodhak are among his critically acclaimed plays. He was the first to experiment with ‘discussion plays’ through his works. Most of the plays were penned in Marathi and later translated to English and other languages.

Deshpande was part of the team of scriptwriters who worked for Hindi TV serial Bharat Ek Khoj. He also wrote scripts for others serials based on Arya Chanakya,Chhattrapati Shivaji and social reformer Mahatma Phule. He had also written dialogues for movies like Drohkal and Dev,and played cameo in a few Marathi films,including Pune 52.

As a critic,Deshpande was closely associated with theatre. Together as a playwright and critic,he had created a distinct and formidable identity in the field of theatre and drama. He was also an acclaimed political science faculty and taught at the Centre for East Asian Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi for many years.

He had deep knowledge of the Chinese language and the history and culture of China,which reflected through his columns published in noted periodicals. The US Library of Congress has acquired 12 of his books, according to his close aides.

Besides being a recipient of the 1977 Maharashtra State Award for his collective works,Deshpande was also honoured with Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1996.

Playwright Satish Alekar said Deshpande’s demise has created a big void in the field of art. “His understanding of social movements across the world was exceptional. He had deep knowledge of several languages,including German and Sanskrit. He was a fan of Hindustanti classical music. His sense of humour was awesome. Together these qualities made him a great person,” he said.

Social activist and CPM leader Kiran Moghe described Deshpande as an eminent scholar who did not carry any ego of his gifted intellect. “He was wonderful both as a person and as artiste.”

Veteran playwright Datta Bhagat lauded Deshpande’s work as a critic besides hailing his other abilities. “His perspective towards drama was different. His critique of dramas,especially political ones,was exceptional,” he said.

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