Vijay Tendulkar

(1928-2008)

विजय तेंडुलकर

Vijay Tendulkar was a dramatist, proficient cinema and television script writer, political critic and journalist who was ahead of his times. He is also famous as an accomplished all round author with ample contribution to various forms of literature like short stories, novels and essays.
Tendulkar was born in Kolhapur on 6th January 1928. His father had a publisher by profession and therefore he grew up in an environment of literature. He was influenced by the writings of his father as well as by D.B.Mokashi and Anant Kanekar. He participated in the freedom struggle when he was a student in school and this led to stoppage of his studies after matriculation. He had to also stay away from his family for some time. However, it was during this period that he was introduced to different schools of thought. This tremendously helped him later in his writing career. After initial days of instability, he settled down in Mumbai from 1966 and it became his stage.
In the initial days he took up a career in newspaper profession to earn a living. He contributed as an editor and column-writer in dailies -‘Navbharat’,’Maratha’,’Loksatta’, weekly ‘Navyug’ and monthly’Vasudha’. His books , ‘Kovali unhe- tender sunshine’,’Raatrani-Night queen’,’Fuge sabanache-Soap bubbles’, ‘He sarw kothun yete?-where does all this come from’ based on his column-writing are famous. During the same period, he wrote two plays namely ‘Amachyawar kon Prem karanaar- Who will love me?’ and ‘Gruhasth- Family man’. However, they did not earn him much fame.
His initial struggle gave him an opportunity to observe the life of lower middle class families from close quarter. In his writing, we can see a raw genuineness derived from actual experiences. Later, he came in contact with experimental theatre and his writing acquired sheen of its own. It revolutionised the Marathi stage. It changed its facet. One can see the seed of this in his one-act play writing. He was closely associated with ‘Rangayan’ and later ‘Avishkar’. Stalwart stage artistes like Vijaya Mehta, Dr. Shriram Lagoo, and Arvind-Sulabha Deshpande who worked there elevated his plays to dizzying heights.
Tendulkar worked as a journalist for a long period. His contribution in this field is also very valuable. But his role and contribution in the field of stage-craft and play writing is exemplary, beyond any doubt. The content and the technique in his plays elevated the quality of Marathi plays to great heights. His initial plays ‘Manus navache bet- An island named man’, ‘Madhalya bhinti- The middle walls’, ‘Sari ga sari-Showers –oh showers’, ‘Ek hattee mulagi-An adamant girl’ and later plays like ‘Ajgar ani Gandharva’ a python and Gandharva’ became famous but really memorable was his play ‘Shantata Court chalo Aahe- Silence- Court is in session’ which was written in 1968. Later, Pt.Satyadev Dubey produced a movie based on it. Its script was also written by Tendulkar.
Though his later creation ‘Ashee pakhare yetee- Thus arrive the birds’, is emotional in its content, the plays ‘Gidhade-Vultures’,’Sakharam Binder’, and “Ghashiram Kotwal’ which followed between 1971 to 1973 shattered all the prevalent social norms and dramatic conventions and therefore became very controversial. ‘Gidhade’ portrayed the hidden ugly and violent, yet realistic emotions, in the human mind. Sakharam was a man who did not follow any social norms or taboos. Social rules do not hold any contemporary value for him. He is divorced from human emotions and bonds. He only understands transactional behaviour. ‘Ghashiram Kotwal’ was based on the life of Nana Phadanvis. Though its technique earned him laurels, its content became very controversial. However, later it became very popular. This has been the longest playing drama in the history and so far approximately six thousand artistes have performed in its various enactments. Tendulkar became an object of criticism due to this play. Despite this, he never changed his stance nor did he make nay compromises. This is a noteworthy feature of his personality.
Even later, he wrote plays on various topics which include ‘Dambadweepacha Mukabala- Confrontation of Dambadweep’, ‘Baby’,’Bhau Murararao’, ‘Mitrachi gosht-Tale of a friend’, “Kanyadan- Daughter in a gift’, ‘Viththalaa’, ‘Chiranjeev Saubhagyakankshini’. He brought the plays of his contemporaries in Marathi. They were Mohan Rakesh’s ‘Adhe Adhure- Incomplete’, and Girish Karnad’s ‘Tughluq’. This is an important contribution from his side.
He also wrote scripts for approximately twenty movies in Hindi and Marathi which include, ’Shantata Court Chaloo Aahe’,’Samna-Confrontation’,’Sinhasan-The throne’,’Ghashiram Kotwal’, ‘Aaakrit-Calamity’,’Umbaratha-Threshold’,’Nishant-End of night’,’Manthan-Churning’,’Akrosh-A cry’,’Ardha Satya-Half-truth’,’Kamala’,’Sardar-Nobleman’,’Geharai-Depth’. He also won many prestigious awards for this.
Tendulkar’s writing touched all spheres of life. He also wrote a few children’s plays. Among these, most noteworthy are ’Ithe bale milatat- You get infants here’,’Chimana bandhato bangala- A male bird builds a bungalow’,’Baba harawale aahet- Father is missing’. He has also written novels namely, ’Kadambari ek- Novel –one’, ‘Kadambari-don-Novel-two’ and ‘Massage’. He also has a few short-story collections in his name. He wrote for Doordarshan serials and talk shows too. He was awarded Nehru Scholarship for his study on the topic,’Growing violence in the nation’. His contribution to the fields of Art and Society are considered to be exemplary and unique. In recognition of this contribution, he was awarded ‘Padmabhushan’.
There is an ugly corner in everyone’s mind and it waits for an opportune moment to pop out. Tendulkar’s writing depicts this. His writing was always realistic .It was based on human relationships and the tensions thereof. It also made scathing attack on the hypocritical tendencies of mankind. Thus, he is mentioned as one of the greatest playwrights in the country. The powerful content in his plays has been acknowledged even at the international level. This underlines his greatness. His rich experience in journalism had gifted his writing with objectivity and clarity and this helped in preventing his writing from becoming lop-sided and it could also not be stamped with any kind of ‘isms’. He remained completely self-driven till the end. This multitalented author passed away on 19th May 2008 in Pune.

Vijay Tendulkar
(6 Jan.1928-19 May 2008)

Written by -Seema Bhanu
Translated by - Prof. V. A Upadhye

साहित्यिक दस्तावेज

मराठीतल्या निवडक ज्येष्ठ आणि श्रेष्ठ साहित्यिकांविषयीची माहिती दस्तऐवज स्वरूपात नोंदवून ठेवण्याचा उपक्रम आम्ही यंदा सलग तिसऱ्या वर्षीही राबवत आहोत. हा उपक्रम यापुढेही सुरू राहणार आहे.

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