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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Stage widens for Marathi heavyweights Elkunchwar and Alekar

In the rare tribe called Indian playwrights,Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar can be called chieftains.

Written by Alaka Sahani | Mumbai | Published: March 28, 2009 12:29:25 am

English translation of collections of plays to be released on Sunday

In the rare tribe called Indian playwrights,Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar can be called chieftains. Together with Vijay Tendulkar,they once formed the trio that wrote some of the landmark plays of modern Indian theatre-notwithstanding the Marathi language barrier.

On Sunday,this language hurdle will be eased. Oxford University Press will release two collections of plays by Elkunchwar and Alekar translated into English,at a special programme in Prithvi Theatre at 11 pm. Both the books contain six plays each,with plenty of notes on the playwrights,their plays and theatre,apart from a comprehensive critical introduction by Shamik Bandopadhyay. For much-translated Elkunchwar—whose plays have been translated into English,French,German and other Indian languages— this collection is special as it has two plays each from his early,mid and current career.

“They represent my body of work of 40 years. This collection will make my work more accessible to non-Marathi scholars and theatre persons,” he said. Alekar too affirmed that the translated plays will help in forming a stronger link between his plays and the theatre tradition of India.

The collection of Elkunchwar’s plays has Garbo,Vasansi Jirnani,Wada Chirebandi,Pratibimba,Sonata and Eka Natacha Mrutyu. The other has Alekar’s Mahanirwan,Mahapoor,Atirekee,Pidhijaat,Begum Barve and Mickey and Memsaheb. A special section in the books contains rare photographs of the productions of these plays. While Elkunchwar worked “hand in glove” with his translators,Alekar chose to keep his distance. “I have nothing to do with translations. I belong to the performance tradition,not the literary tradition,” Alekar said.

According to Arun Kenkre of Awishkar,“The greatness of Elkunchwar and Alekar is recognised across India. Since the collections have the best of their works,they will help in widening their reach further.” For Sandesh Kulkarni of Samanvay,Pune,who has directed Elkunchwar’s Sonata and Vasansi Jirnani,“The collections give a complete feel of the playwright’s works.”

A 20-minute performance by the Sonata cast is scheduled for the Sunday event. Mohit Takalkar,who is set to premiere his newest play Garbo at Prithvi on April 2,will also present a 20-minute peek. “After directing five plays,I wanted my next venture to have solid text and plot. I wanted to explore the multi-dimensional and complex characters of Garbo,” says the head of Aasakta. Alekar too holds a strong fascination for this young theatre director with his “unpredictability”. Takalkar’s favourite is Alekar’s Begum Barve,with its multiple possibilities.

The free-for-all programme will also feature 20-minute performances of Begum Barve,directed by Alekar,and Mahapoor. Theatre personalities will read out from the translated works. Interaction of the playwrights will provide further insight into their works and art.

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