|Other names||Satish Vasant Alekar|
|Occupation(s)||playwright, stage actor, director, Teacher|
|Known for||Marathi playwright, Teaching, Theatre Outreach in Maharashtra|
Satish Vasant Alekar (born 30 January 1949) 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. Along with Mahesh Elkunchwar and Vijay Tendulkar he is considered among the most influential and progressive playwrights in modern Marathi and Indian theatre.
He has also remained the head of Centre for Performing Arts, University of Pune (1996–2009), which he founded, after forgoing the Directorship of NSD and previously remained an adjunct professor at various universities in US, at the Duke University, Durhum, NC (1994), Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University as a Fulbright Scholar (2003). and Dept. Theatre and Film Studies, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (2005)
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 Padma Shri award in January 2012. Since 2013 Satish Alekar is nominated by Savitribai Phule Pune University as Distinguished Professor on the campus. Recently he is also known for his screen acting in Marathi and Hindi feature films. He is seen in the character roles of films like Ventilator (2016).
Alekar was born in Delhi, India, but grew up in Pune, a center of Marathi culture in Maharashtra. He attended the Marathi medium school New English School, Ramanbag which was established by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. After high school, he attended Fergusson College for his undergraduate Bsc degree in sciences. He received his master's 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.
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 New York University invited him in 2003 to teach a course on Indian Theatre. The Department of Theater and Films Studies, 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.
Afterobtaining his masters degree, Alekar worked as a research officer in Biochemistry at the government-run B. J. Medical College, Pune. During July 1996 – January 2009, Ahe worked as a professor and the Head of the Center for Performing Arts(Lalit Kala Kendra) at University of Pune. He was working as the Honorary Director for a program supported by Ratan Tata Trust at the University of Pune during 2009–2011. During the period of September 2013- September 2022 he was nominated by University of Pune as Distinguished Professor on the campus.
* Plays directed by Satish Alekar for Theatre Academy, Pune.
** Directed by Satish Alekar for Lalit Kala Kendra ललित कला केंद्र (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. 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). 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. 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.
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. In 2009, 30 years after its first production, the play returned to Mumbai with its original cast of Chandrakant Kale, and Mohan Aghashe.
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".
In 2022 all the plays of Satish Alekar including short plays in Marathi were published as a new edition by the Popular Prakashan, Mumbai and these nine books are now available online for sale. https://www.amazon.in/Satish-Yanchya-Natkancha-%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%9A%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE-%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%9F%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%82%E0%A4%9A%E0%A4%BE/dp/8195832407/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1A4Y8QRNBRYKJ&keywords=satish+alekar+books&qid=1679052866&sprefix=Satish+Alekar%2Caps%2C205&sr=8-4
Two Crtique published on plays Mahanirvan (Dread Departure) and Begum Barve in Marathi:
1) "Mahanirvan: Sameeksha aani Sansmarne" (महानिर्वाण समिक्षा आणि संस्मरणे) (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" (बेगम बर्वे विषयी) (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.
Aparichit Pu La (अपरिचित पु.लं.), (2018) a 90 mints acting reading programme on the lesser-known writings of the legendary writer, performer P. L. Deshpande पु.ल.देशपांडे (1919–2000) produced by Shabda Vedh, Pune (शब्द वेध,पुणे) to mark the birth centenary of the writer, conceived by Chandrakant Kale, cast: Satish Alekar, Chandrakant Kale and Girish Kulkarni. First show was performed in Pulotsav on 22 November 2018 at Balgamdharva Ranga Mandir, Pune. Since opening of the show in November 2018, performances were staged in Pune, Solapur, Ratnagiri and Mumbai.
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.
Written a fortnightly column in Marathi for Sunday edition of Loksatta 'Gaganika' January–December 2015. Column is based on Satish Alekar's journey in to Performing Arts since 1965. The column became popular and now the book "Gaganika" (pages 260+12+ 8 P photos, Hb Rs. 375/- Pb Rs. 300/-based on the column is published on 30 April 2017 by M/s Rajahans Prakashan, Pune 411030.
Some of Alekar's plays have been translated and produced in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Dogri, 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.
Natakkar Satish Alekar(Playwright Satish Alekar), a 90-minute film by Atul Pethe about Alekar's life and work was released in 2008.
Satish Alekar belongs to City of Pune. His parents Late Usha and Vasant Alekar were freedom fighters, both involved in India's 1942 movement. Satish Alekar married Anita (Abhyankar) in 1976. They have a son MIKIN. Anita died in 2007. He has one younger brother Sudhir and one sister Bharati. Presently he is living in Pune with his son Mikin.
Following Scholars have completed their Ph.D. research on the creative contribution of Satish Alekar as a playwright.
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