Updated: January 23, 2022 8:06:27 am
Veteran Marathi theatre artist Kirti Shiledar passed away at Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune on Saturday. She was 70.
“I first performed on stage when I was in my mother’s womb,” Shiledar had once told The Indian Express. Her parents, Jayaram and Jayamala Shiledar, had been an illustrious couple in Marathi musical theatre who had founded the Marathi Rangbhumi Natak Company. It was on a tour of a village that her mother, then pregnant, had regaled a crowd from the stage, which Kirti would refer to as her debut show.
Kirti herself remained an indefatigable performer for more than 55 years. “She was very dedicated to her art. Few people have done more to preserve Marathi Sangeet Natak in the last 50 years than she has,” said Rajiv Paranjape, who had accompanied her on the organ for more than 35 years.
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Kirti acted in a various traditional Marathi musicals, such as Sangeet Saubhadra, Yayati and Devyani. The play that she was most known for was Swarsamradhini, which was based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and her role of Naina was based on Eliza Doolittle.
“The play revolved around a girl who performs Lavani and then is made to transform into a classical singer. The writer, Vidyadhar Gokhale, had sketched the character of Naina based on me. It is one of the best roles that I have enacted, as it is still difficult for me to specify where the character ended and the real me began,” Kirti had recalled.
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