Satish Alekar

Satish Alekar is a Marathi dramatist, actor, and director. Born in Delhi, in a politically and socially liberal family in 1949, Alekar grew up in a conservative old quarter of Pune, the stronghold of Marathi culture. A biochemist by profession, he gained his first stage experience as a replacement actor in a college production. The director, Bhalba Kelkar, who ran the Progressive Dramatic Association set up to offer meaningful theatre in Pune, was sufficiently impressed by his performance to invite Alekar, who became part of a young theatre-study circle that Jabbar Patel had started within the organization. This group split with the parent body in 1973 over Vijay Tendulkar`s Ghashiram Kotwal. The senior members reacted against its premiere in 1972 while Patel`s band decided to continue it and set up their own unit, the Theatre Academy, which has produced Alekar`s major plays ever since.  Alekar had cut his directorial and playwriting teeth on a one-act college show, Jhultapul in 1969. After that he assisted Patel in directing Ghashiram Kotwal.

Alekar`s best known work, Mahanirvan ran intermittently from 1973 to 1987. His most complex play, Begum Barve in 1979, considered a classic of contemporary Marathi theatre, deals with the eponymous female impersonator`s memories and fantasies. Alekar`s other plays include Shanivar-Ravivar (1982) and Dusra Samna (1987). Extremist (1990) marked his return to his earlier mode of irony, wit, and tangential take-offs from absurd premises. He has also written a few screenplays, and was appointed director of the Lalit Kala Kendra, Pune University, in 1996. Satish Alekar conceived and implemented programmes like Playwrights Development Scheme and Regional Theatre Group Development. These were supported by the Ford Foundation for Theatre Academy, Pune since 1985 to 1994. Satish Alekar is the recipient of several National and State awards since 1973 for his contribution to the field of Theatre and Literature. Many of his plays have been translated, produced and published in several languages like Hindi, Tamil, Dogri, Kannada, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Punjabi, and Konkani. His plays have been included in the National Anthologies published by the National School of Drama and Sahitya Akademi. Satish Alekar has also collaborated in several international translation projects. Satish Alekar recentlky retired as Professor and Head of the Centre for Performing Arts in Lalit Kala Kendra at the University of Pune.

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