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Satish Alekar

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Satish Alekar

Satish Alekar
Satish Alekar at IUCAA in Pune, India
Born (1949-01-30) 30 January 1949
Nationality Indian
Other names Satish Vasant Alekar
Occupation playwright, stage actor, director, Teacher
Years active 1971–present
Known for Marathi playwright, Teaching, Theatre Outreach in Maharashtra

Satish Vasant Alekar (born 30 January 1949[1]) is a Marathi playwright, actor, and theatre director. A founder member of the Theatre Academy of Pune, and most known for his plays Mahanirvan (1974), Mahapoor (1975), Atirekee (1990), Pidhijat (2003), Mickey ani Memsahib (1973), and Begum Barve (1979), all of which he also directed for the Academy. Today, along with Mahesh Elkunchwar and Vijay Tendulkar he is one of the most influential and progressive playwrights not just in modern Marathi theatre, but also larger modern Indian theatre.[2][3][4]

He has also remained the head of Centre for Performing Arts, NSD[5] and previously remained an adjunct professor at Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University as a Fulbright Scholar.[6]

He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Playwriting (Marathi) in 1994, by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama. He received the award "Padamshree" (पद्मश्री) conferred by the President of India in January 2012.[7]

Early life and education

Alekar was born in Delhi, India, but grew up in Pune, a center of Marathi culture in Maharashtra.He studied in Marathi medium school 'New English School', Ramanbag which was established in 1880 by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Further he went to Fergusson College and completed his BSc He received his masters degree in biochemistry from University of Pune in 1972


Alekar gained his first stage experience as an actor in a college play. Impressed by his performance, director Bhalba Kelkar, who had set up the Progressive Dramatic Association, invited him to join it. Alekar wrote and directed his first one-act play Jhulta Pool in 1969. He became a part of a young circle that Jabbar Patel had started within the Progressive Dramatic Association.

This group split with the parent body in 1973 and set up Theater Academy in Pune. The split was over Vijay Tendulkar's play Ghashiram Kotwal. The senior members decided against its premiere in 1972, and Patel's group decided to produce it under the auspices of its own Theater Academy. Alekar assisted Patel in the direction of Ghashiram Kotwal, and the group has since mounted over 35 plays by him and manage to establish its foothold in experimental Marathi theatre.[8]

Alekar conceived of and implemented Playwrights Development Scheme and Regional Theater Group Development. The Ford Foundation for Theater Academy, Pune supported these programs during 1985–1994.

Alekar has collaborated in several international play translation projects. The Tisch School of Arts at University of Georgia invited him in 2005 to direct an English production of his play Begum Barve.

The Holy Cow Performing Arts Group in Edinburgh, Scotland performed an English version of Alekar's Micky And Memsahib on 27 and 28 August 2009 at Riddle's Court in Edinburgh Fringe Festival '09.[9]

During July 1996 – January 2009, Alekar worked as a professor and the Head of the Center for Performing Arts(Lalit Kala Kendra) at University of Pune. Previously he was a research officer in Biochemistry at the government-run B. J. Medical College, Pune.He was working as the Honorary Director for a program supported by Ratan Tata Trust at the University of Pune during 2009–2011. In September 2013 University of Pune honoured Satish Alekar by nominating him as Distinguished Professor on the campus for five years tenure. University of Pune is the first state University in India to nominate Distinguished Professors on the campus.


List of Original Plays written since 1973

  1. Micki Aani Memsaheb (1973)*
  2. Mahanirvan (1974)*
  3. Mahapoor (1975)*
  4. Begum Barve (1979)*
  5. Shanwar Raviwar (1982)*
  6. Dusra Samana (1987)
  7. Atireki (1990)*
  8. Pidhijat (2003)*
  9. Ek Divas Mathakade (2012)

* Plays directed by Satish Alekar for Theatre Academy, Pune.

List of Original One Act Plays
  1. Memory (1969)
  2. Bhajan (1969)
  3. Ek Zulta Pool (1971)*
  4. Dar Koni Ughadat Naahi (1979)
  5. Bus Stop (1980)
List of Adapted/Translated One Act Plays
  1. Judge (1968)
  2. Yamuche Rahasya (1976)
  3. Bhint (1980)*
  4. Valan (1980)*
  5. Alshi Uttarvalyachi Gosht (1999)**
  6. Nashibvan Baiche Don (1999)**
  7. Supari (2002)
  8. Karmaachari (2009)

** Directed by Satish Alekar for Lalit Kala Kendra (Centre For Performing Arts, University of Pune)
* Directed for Theatre Academy, Pune

Alekar started writing at the age of 19 as a chemistry graduation, though most of his early work were short plays.[10] Many of his plays are set around Pune Brahmin society, highlighting their narrow mindedness and subsequently he ventured into small town politics with Doosra Samna (1989).[11] Mahanirvan (1973) (The Dread Departure) finds black humour through Hindu death rites in Brahmins and its overt seriousness is today Alekar's best-known early work and has since been performed in Bengali, Hindi, Dongri, Konkani and Gujarati.[12] It was originally a one-act play and he had later expanded it at Patel's insistence. It was first staged on 22 November 1974 at the Bharat Natya Mandir, by the Theatre Academy, Pune and was revived in 1999 for its 25th anniversary, and was performed at the same venue, with most of the original cast intact.[13]

Mickey Ani Memsaheb (1974) was his first full-length script. With the exception of his Mahapoor (1975), he directed all of his own plays. Alekar's Begum Barve (1979) is regarded as a classic of contemporary Marathi theatre. It deals with the eponymous female impersonator's memories and fantasies. After his musical company closed down, a minor singer-actor starts selling incense sticks on the street and gets exploited by his employer. One day his fantasies get enmeshed with those of a pair of clerks who were his regular customers, and those fantasies get almost fulfilled. The play staged in Rajasthani, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Konkani, Tamil and Kannada.[2] In 2009, 30 years after its first production, the play returned to Mumbai with its original cast of Chandrakant Kale, and Mohan Aghashe.[14]

Alekar's other plays are Bhajan, Bhinta, Walan, Shanivar-Ravivar (1982), Dusra Samna (1987), and Atireki (1990). The first three are one-act plays. Atireki is marked by irony, wit, and tangential take-offs from absurd premises. In January 2011 a book of short plays translated/adapted into Marathi by Satish Alekar published by M/s Neelkanth Prakashan, Pune under the title "Adharit Ekankika".

Two Crtique published on plays Mahanirvan (Dread Departure) and Begum Barve in Marathi :

1) "Mahanirvan: Sameeksha aani Sansmarne" (A volume of critique in Marathi on the play ' Mahanirvan'-Dread Departure Edited by Dr. Rekha Inmadar-Sane published by M/s Rajhans Prakashan, Pune, I Edition Dec 1999, II Edition March 2008, ISBN 81-7434-165-X, Pages: 254, Price Rs.250/-) The volume first published in 1999 to mark the 25th year run of the production of the play produced by Theatre Academy, Pune directed by Satish Alekar. Volume included 90 pages of the extensive interview of the playwright Satish Alekar.

2) "Begum Barve Vishayee" (About the play Begum Barve) Edited by Dr. Rekha Inamdar-Sane published in June 2010 ISBN 978-81-7434-501-1 by M/s Rajhans Prakashan, Pune, Pages 169, Price: Rs. 200/- The books has nine articles analysing the text and the performance written by well-known theatre scholars.


Alekar scripted the National Film Award winning Marathi feature film Jait Re Jait in 1977, directed by Jabbar Patel, and later he directed a 13-part Hindi TV serial Dekho Magar Pyarse for Doordarshan in 1985. He scripted the dialogues for the Marathi feature film Katha Don Ganpatravanchi in 1995–96.

Awards and recognition

Some of Alekar's plays have been translated and produced in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Dogri, Kannada, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Punjabi, and Konkani. His plays have been included in the National Anthologies published in 2000–01 by the National School of Drama and Sahitya Akademi, Delhi.

Alekar is the recipient of several national and state awards for his contribution to the field of Theater and Literature. In 1074 his collection of short plays "Zulta Pool" received best collection of short plays award from Ministry of Culture, Govt. of Maharashtra. In 1975 he received Late Ram Ganesh Gadkari award from the State of Maharashtra for his play Mahanirvan. He received Nandikar Sanman at Calcutta in 1992. He received fellowships from the Asian Cultural Council, New York in 1983 to study theatre in the US, and from the Ford Foundation to study Theater of South Asia in 1988. He received in 1994 a Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for play writing from Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi (संगीत नाटक अकादमी, दिल्ली). He received the award "Padamshree" (पद्मश्री) conferred by the President of India in January 2012.[7] In December 2013 Satish Alekar received Balaraj Sahani Memorial Award in Pune for his contribution over last 40 years as a playwright, director and actor. In 2014 he was awarded Poet and Playwright "Aarati Prabhu Award" by Baba Vardam Theatres, Kudal, Dist. Sindhudurg.

Natakkar Satish Alekar (Playwright Satish Alekar), a 90-minute film by Atul Pethe about Alekar's life and work was released in 2008.[15]


Acting in Theatre

1971: As young Man in a short play "Ek Zulta Pool" directed by himself for Intercollegiate Short Play Competition 1974: As the son "Nana" in play "Mahanirvan" directed by himself for Theatre Academy, Pune in more than 100 shows 1979: As Javadekar in play "Begum Barve" directed by himselh for Theatre Academy, Pune 1982: Short play "Boat Futli" Directed by Samar Nakhate for Theatre Academy, Pune. 1980: As husband in "Shanwar Raviwar" directed by himself for Theatre Academy, Pune

Acting In Films (Character Roles)

Hindi Films: 1) Ye Kahani Nahi (1984) Dir. Biplav Rai Chowdhary 2) Dumkata (2007) Dir. Amol Palekar 3) Aiyaa (2012) Dir. Sachin Kundalkar 4) Dekh Tamasha Desk (2014) Dir. Feroz Abbas Khan

Marathi Films: 1) Aakrit (1981) Dir. Amol Palekar 2) Umbartha (1962) Dir. Jabbar Patel 3) Dhyas Parva (2001)Dir Amol Palekar 4) Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (1991) Dir. Jabbar Patel 5) Ek Hota Vidushak (1992) Dir. Jabbar Patel 6) Chintoo (2012),Dir.Shrirang Godbole 7) Chintoo 2 (Khajinyachi Chittarkatha) 2013 Dir.Shrirang Godbole 8) Hovoon Jaudyaa- We Are On! (2013) Dir. Amol Palekar 9) Mhais (2013) Dir. Shekhar Naik 10) Aajachaa Diwas Maazaa (2013) Dir. Chandrakant Kulkarni 11) Yeshwantrao Chavan – Katha Eka Vadalachi (2014) Dir. Jabbar Patel

Acting in TV Commercials

Products: TV Cable Co.: Tata Sky (2010) Car: Honda Ameze (2013) Cell Phone Company:Idea -Telephone Exchange (2013)

 New York Life Insurance (2012)


  1. ^ Kartik Chandra Dutt: Who's who of Indian Writers, 1999: A-M
  2. ^ a b "Fringe takes centre stage: The importance of being Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar in Marathi theatre". Mint. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Dharwadker, p. 413
  4. ^ Rubin, p. 156
  5. ^ Yarrow, p. 168
  6. ^ Kashyap, Siddhartha D. (8 February 2005). "Playwright Satish Alekar wins UoP award". Times of India. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Padma Awards". pib. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Yarrow, p. 163
  9. ^ "Alekar's play to be staged at Edinburgh". The Times of India. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "Writing performance: "I write a performance, not a play. That is my strength and also my limitation," says Satish Alekar". The Hindu. 6 August 2003. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Kasbekar, p. 58
  12. ^ "Satish Alekar revisited". Indian Express. 3 December 1999. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  13. ^ "A fitting encore". Indian Express. 19 November 1999. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Dream Run". Indian Express. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  15. ^ "Foot prints". Indian Express. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 

On Fulbright in Freezing New York of Spring 2003:

16),id=16528/ Article on Begum Barve by Madhiri Dixit, Vol V, Issue 1 of the journal Studies in South Asian Film and Media titled as Begum Barve:Embodiment of Subversive Fantasy.



External links

  • Satish Alekar website
  • Memory by Satish Alekar at Little magazine
  • Documentary film on Satish Alekar directed by Atul Pethe (2008,90 mints)


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