Friday, June 6, 2014

Ghasiram Kotwal and Genocide Of Indigenous People: metaphor and false gods

Ghasiram Kotwal and Genocide Of Indigenous People:

metaphor and false gods

Palash Biswas

Jan 9, 2008

Contact: Palash C Biswas, C/O Mrs Arati Roy, Gosto
Kanan, Sodepur, Kolkata- 700110, India. Phone:
Please read,react,circulate and Write.J

Vijay Tendulkar's controversial, albeit extensively
staged play Ghansiram Kotwal showcasing the oppression
and cruelty of rulers in pre-independence era. Staged
both in its original and translated versions Ghasiram
Kotwal till date is deemed as one of the most
successful plays of all-times.The widely known play in
English translation from original Marathi retains its
racy vigor and musical charm- all that went to make
the production a hit.

When Ghasiram, in Ghasiram Kotwal, uses his power to
oppress the citizens of Pune, you see in him glimpses
of each power-drunk official you have ever known. We
all see the false Gods of Indian History and polity,
man made legends to sustain the manusmriti based
Graded Inequality and Inherent Injustice, the global
ruling class, Ideological Hypocrites like Marxists,
Gandhian, Lohiates,Socialists, Progressive, secular
and Liberal Icons tumbling at a time. We may visualise
the metaphor of the Pune tyrrant with so many
dimentions of full circle anarchy and Annihilation of
marginaliged, untouchables, Blacks, subalterns,
aboriginals, underclasses, peasants and small traders
and maufactures and the whole lot of Indigenous People
Worldwide. The Post modern Neoliberalism and
Globalistion may be explained well with typical
Marathi Folk Theatrical Device of Human Curtain
containing Pune Brahmins, who have been related
genetically with the Jews! Nana may be Vajapayee! He
may look like the Genocide Master Marxist capitalist
Head from West Bengal! He may be the Sikh,
refuggeComradore Prime Minister planted by World Bank
and washington. It may well be the image of the Elite
Brahmin From Keernahar Bengal who happens to be the
defacto Prime Minister and breeds all kind of Anti
People Acts to uprrot the Indiginous People fro life
and Livelihhod. Well, ghasiram Kotwal explains well
the War against Terrorism and US Imperialism at a
time.It may expose the all powerful Zionist lobby with
galaxy manusmriti allignment and having controllled
everything in this world. Pune brahmins are the Best
Metaphor for the Global Ruling Class and Indian Hindu

Ghasiram Kotwal happens to be most relevant in a
scenerio of violations of Civil and Human Rights,
Depopulation, Regress, Sensex India and shining India,
LPG, MNC Corporate Promoter raj, The support base
Triangle of the Ruling Hegemony: Money, Mafia and
media! It exposes well the capitalist Development,
SEZ, PCPIR, Chemical Hubs, Big dams, Projects,
Urbanisation, Industrialisation, Disinvestment, VRS,
ERS, Retrenchment, IT, Mobile, TV and auto BOOm, OIL
economy and open loot of Natural Resources. Ghasiram
Kotwal, though set in Pune of the Peshwas, was by no
means outdated. Its central theme of the relationship
between power and corruption is as relevant today as
it was at that time. With spell-binding brilliance,
the play depicted how absolute power breeds oppression
and leads to a mockery of the law. The play dealt with
how those in power use their underlings to achieve
their own selfish ends and then discard them when they
are no longer useful. Nana Phadnavis, the Peshwa's
representative in Pune, appoints Ghasiram, whose
daughter he lusts after, the kotwal of the city.
Ghasiram uses his position to terrorise the Brahmins
of Pune who had humiliated him when he was a nobody.
When Ghaisram becomes too big for his boots, Nana
signs his death warrant. The immediacy of the theme
aside, what raised the play to extraordinary heights
were excellent performances and the use of music and
songs of varied styles to carry forward the narrative.

Vijay Tendulkar, best known for his emotionally
charged protest plays and filmscripts, chooses a
different genre for Ghasiram Kotwal - that of the
musical historical. Set in Maharashtra the late
eighteenth century, it recounts a power game played
out in terms of caste ascendancy in politics. The work
draws on several Maharashtra folk styles, and has an
obvious relevance in the context of individuals
playing the game of politics, taking advantage of
situations, rising to power, and crashing to impotence
at the whims of more powerful players in the same game
- a typical phenomenon in almost any political

The play is widely known in its Theatre Academy
production directed by Jabbar Patel, with more than
three hundred performances to its credit, in India and

This edition also contains a production case book, a
biographical note on the playwright, and critical
studies of the play.

About the Author

Vijay Tendulkar wrote his first story when he was six
yours old and wrote, directed and acted in has first
play when he was eleven.

Born in 1928, Tendulkar has had a long and chequered
career - in a printing press, in journalism, as a
public relation officer in a company. Today this most
prolific writer has to his credit twenty eight
full-length plays, seven collections of one-act plays,
six collections of children's plays, four collections
of short stories, three of essays besides seventeen
film scripts and a novel, all in a span of fifty
years. Critics bring our notice to the prismatic
quality of his writings and it is this that can be
spotted in his writings, specially in the plays -
Ghasiram Kotwal, Gidhade, Shantata! Court Chalu Ahe,
Sakaram Binder, Kamala, Kanyadaan to name a few, and
his movie - Nishant, Aakrosh, Manthan, Ardha Satya. He
has been celebrated as the 'Playwriter of the
Millennium". His plays which have been perceived by
critics as being ahead of their times, are also
timeless, because of his accurate and sensitive
portrayal of the social issues of the time. 

Tendulkar has been felicitated with many awards and
honors including the Maharashtra State government
reward (1956,1969 and 1972), Sangeet Natak academy
award (1971), the Filmfare Award (1980 and 1983),
Padmabhushan (1984), Saraswati Samman (1993), the
Kalidas Samman (1999), the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar
(1999), the Jansthan Award (1999). The latest
recognition, for lifetime literary achievement, was
the Katha Chudamani Award in 2001.

Saturday, November 26, 2005
I can't see my play on stage 

In His Own Script: A strain of violence runs through
Vijay Tendulkar's plays. But compiling published
pieces is a lazy way to introduce his life and art,
says Kavita Nagpal THE INDIAN EXPRESS FLAIR November
18, 2001
Vijay Tendulkar's emergence as a playwright on the
national scene in the late sixties coincided with that
of Badal Sircar, Mohan Rakesh and Girish Karnad. This
quartet, writing in Marathi, Bengali, Hindi and
Kannada, respectively, formed the new and modern voice
of Indian theatre. No sooner performed — occasionally
the text barely written — their plays were quickly
translated into other Indian languages and grabbed for
performance. Though he had been known in Marathi
theatre for some years, it was Tendulkar's play
Shantata! Court Chalu Ahe (Silence! The Court is in
Session, 1968) that thrust him into the limelight. It
hit the boards almost simultaneously in Marathi
(director: Arvind Deshpande) and Hindi (director: Om
Shivpuri). Director Satyadev Dubey made a film in
Marathi, with Sulabha Deshpande in the lead. 
The Sangeet Natak Akademi award came to Tendulkar in
1971, even before his controversial plays like
Sakharam Binder, Ghasiram Kotwal (both 1972), Baby
(1975) or Kamala (1982) had happened. Tendulkar had 13
plays to his credit till then, of which Gidhade and
Ashi Pakhde Yeti — the former dealing with family
violence and the latter a light comedy written for a
successful actor — had been popularly translated in
several Indian languages. It is difficult to pin any
specific ideological preoccupation in his dramas,
except perhaps a strain of violence, both social and
singular. Accused of pessimism, Tendulkar retorts,
''My experience of my times, my life, has shown me
that the individual is largely disempowered, made
abject, reduced to the role of spectator by the logic
of certain events and social groupings.''
Plays differ widely in style and structure, but except
for Ghasiram Kotwal most are cast in the realistic
mould. There is however one unifying factor; each
script comes with precise instructions on the scenic
design both for the director and technical crew.
Tendulkar's description of characters carries vivid
pointers for actors. That a good production can be
managed by just following Tendulkar's stage
instructions is a truism. He learnt his theatre ''by
mainly watching plays, more bad plays than good
ones'', says Tendulkar in one of the chapters in the
Katha ALT series The Play is the Thing, part of the
Sri Ram Memorial Lecture delivered by Tendulkar in
1997. ''They provoked me into mentally rewriting them
my way to turn them into good plays. I found it an
excellent exercise.'' With Shanta Gokhale's Tendulkar
on his own terms (the chapter on Tendulkar's women in
particular), this is the other incisive piece on the
writer's compendium in a book which is basically a
compilation of published pieces assembled as part of
the 2001 Katha Chudamani Award given to Tendulkar this
A sickly pampered child brought up amidst books and
amateur dramatics (his father was a publisher and
theatre buff), Tendulkar, born in 1928, learnt his
lessons in caste and communalism early when he dumped
school to join the Quit India Movement. To escape
parental wrath he loafed in the cinema hall, often
over two or even three shows of a film, preparing
perhaps for his other profession, that of a script
writer (Nishant, Manthan, Akrosh, etc). He wrote and
directed his first play — a version of a mythological
film Mya — at eleven, in which he played Krishna in
vivid blue paint! ''I write for myself,'' Tendulkar
told me in an interview in 1971. ''When the play is
produced, it has gone out of my hands and I have
severed direct relationship with it. I can't, for
instance, see my play on stage. (He attended the
silver jubilee of Ghasiram Kotwal in Delhi, 1973, but
did not see the show.) I become sort of insensitive to
the play.'' Though Tendulkar believes that playwriting
is an individual pursuit — ''you can play your tune
with someone else's instrument, but not with someone
else's hand'' — he worked closely with the cast and
crew during the first staging of Shantata in Marathi.

Ghasiram Kotwal steals the show
30 Sep 2002, 2309 hrs IST,Vandana Shukla,TNN

Vijay Tendulkar's famous play Ghasiram Kotwal that was
written in 1973 and was staged by Jabbar Patel for the
first time in Pune, with Mohan Upreiti's timeless
music, still retains its original flavour and receives
thunderous response wherever it is staged. 
The proof was offered, once again on Sunday evening,
when the play was staged under the ongoing Theatre
Festival organised by National School of Drama
Repertory Company, under Rajinder Nath's direction at
Tagore Theatre. 
The highly controversial, albeit extensively staged
play deals with the story of transformation of a
simple Brahmin from Kannauj into a veritable monster. 
Ghasiram humiliated by the snob Brahmins of Pune, on
his very first visit to the city swears to take his
revenge. He snares Nana Phadanvis, the Peshwa' s
chieftain and magistrate of the city using his young
daughter Lalita Gauri. 
In return, Ghasiram demands to be appointed the kotwal
and is put in charge of the law and order of Pune. 
He now wastes no time in getting even with his former
But little does he realise that Nana is merely using
him to keep the Brahmins in check; Ghasiram will
become a convenient tool for Nana, once he has
accomplished his mentor's dirty job. 
As Ghasiram becomes the scourge of the city Brahmins,
Nana savours Gauri's innocent charms. One day Ghasiram
learns that Gauri has died and Nana is marrying for
the seventh time. 
Insane with rage, the livid father confronts Nana,
only to be reminded that his daughter's life was a
small price to pay for power and privilege. By this
time the city Brahmins demand for Ghasiram's death.
Nana signs the death warrant. 
The operatic play that incorporated folk traditions of
Marathi stage like Lavni and Tamasha, was brilliantly
presented with traditional costumes and music. 
Veteran actor, director, Ram Gopal Bajaj, in the role
of Nana Phadanvis was as Nana should have been, Parag
Sharma as Ghasiram was natural. This musical play will
stay long in the memory of the city folks. 

by Debnita Chakravarti 
On his first visit to Pune to try his luck,
Ghasiram, a Brahmin from Kanauj, finds himself falsely
accused of theft and slighted by the Pune Brahmins. He
swears revenge on the city. He snares Nana Phadnavis,
the Peshwa' s chieftain and magistrate of the city
using his young daughter Lalita Gauri. 
In return, Ghasiram demands to be
appointed the kotwal and is put in charge of the law
and order of Pune. He now wastes no time in getting
even with his former tormentors. But little does he
realise that Nana is merely using him to keep the
Brahmins in check; Ghasiram will become a convenient
fall-guy for Nana once he has accomplished his
mentor's dirty job. 
As Ghasiram becomes the scourge of the
city Brahmins, Nana savours Gauri's innocent charms.
Then Ghasiram learns one day that Gauri has died
mysteriously, and Nana is marrying for the seventh
time. Insane with rage, the livid father confronts
Nana, only to be reminded that his daughter's life was
a small price to pay for power and privilege. By this
time the city Brahmins have united in a bloodthirsty
demand for Ghasiram's death. Nana signs the death
warrant as casually as he had granted Ghasiram the
kotwali. The final scene has Ghasiram being mobbed by
the irate crowd where, semi-crazed, he asks for death.
As crowds gather round Ghasiram's lifeless body, Nana
appears to herald the end of an age of terror and
proposes festivities to mark the purging of the city.

The play's title captivates its
essence, much in the way of Conrad's Lord Jim. It
unites the public and the private beings of a man. It
is the transformation of Ghasiram, a simple unassuming
man, into a hubristic power-crazy monster. He is the
unsuspecting victim of a Machiavellian system embodied
in the machinations of Nana. The true villain emerges
unscathed from the turmoil that marked the rise and
fall of Ghasiram.

NSD's production of this contemporary
classic tragedy uses traditional and folk devises of
Marathi theatre like the Chorus (which doubles up as
props on an otherwise sparse stage), twin sutradhars,
the samgaan and verse. The grim and savage saga is
tempered with black humour and sarcasm. The impact of
narrative violence is sought to be minimised through

Ghasiram Kotwal also operates at an
allegorical level, commenting acerbically on the
political institutions of present-day India where
scores of Ghasirams are made and marred each time the
political die is cast anew. 

Jabbar Patel
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Jabbar Patel 
Born 1942
Pandharpur, Maharashtra India 

Jabbar Patel is a renowned theatre and film director
of India. His production of the play Vijay Tendulkar's
play Ghashiram Kotwal, in 1973 is considered a classic
in Modern Indian Theatre [1].

He is the maker of classics films in Marathi cinema,
like, Jait Re Jait (Mohan Agashe, Smita Patil),
Umbartha (Smita Patil, Girish Karnad), Simhasan (Nana
Patekar, Shreeram Lagoo, Reema Lagoo) [2] Some of his
other films are, Mukta, Ek Hota Vidushak, and
Musafir(Hindi). His most acclaimed film is Dr.
Babasaheb Ambedkar released in 1999. He won the 1995
Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National
Integration for his Marathi film, Mukta.

[edit] Biography
Born in 1942 in Pandharpur in Maharashtra he was
earlier a paediatrician. He founded the noted Marathi
experimental theatre group, 'Theatre Academy', which
stage Vijay Tendulkar's Ghashiram Kotwal in 1973,
followed by, 'Teen Paishacha Tamasha', an adaptation
of Brecht's Threepenny Opera in 1974.

For eminent Marathi theatre personality and film
director Jabbar Patel, tackling a political subject is
not something new. Whether it was Umbartha, Jait Re
Jait, or Simhasan for the silver screen, or Ghasiram
Kotwal for the stage, this paediatrician-turned-doctor
has created a ripple with his handling of political
subjects. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, his celluloid biopic
on the Dalit leader, which has been in the making for
the past nine years, is now finally seeing the light
of the day. The film which fetched Malayalam superstar
Mammooty a National award in 1999, however took a
while to reach the audience .

Talking to visibly relaxed Dr Patel at his Nehru
Centre office in Worli, the first question that popped
into one's head was regarding the delay in the release
of the film. According to the director, after the
English version received the award, "the decision was
taken to go in for different dubbing versions. It was
decided to dub the film in eight languages. So it
needed time to write the script, go for script
approval from prominent Sahitya Akademi winners," he
said. That entailed going for different dubbing teams
and a series of different voice trials. Mammooty is
doing the Malayalam and Tamil dubbing but not the
Hindi .

Besides these technical hitches, there was also the
problem of distribution as the film needed the
approval of both the governments of Maharashtra and
India. (The National Film Development Corporation did
not have the infrastructure to release the film). So
the terms and conditions of both pairs of governments
had to be worked out. Approval had to be sought from
different government departments like finance and
culture before the release happened. But Dr Patel is a
relaxed man today and is grateful for the support and
cooperation that he has received from the various
governments which were in power at the state in centre

Talking about how he got hooked on to the subject of
Dr Ambedkar, Dr Patel said: "Dalit literature has
created a lot of awareness in Maharashtra. It is
extremely rich and powerful. So any sensitive Marathi
knows what the Ambedkar movement is. In Maharashtra,
you can't avoid the influence of Dalit literature," he
explained .

In 1989, Dr Patel was approached by the Films Division
to make a documentary on Ambedkar. His name had been
suggested by many as the right man for the job. The
director made it clear right from the beginning that
it was not possible to make a film like that in 20
minutes. He told them that he would have to travel
extensively, maybe even abroad, and get to know the
man. He was given a carte blanche by the then Films
Division head to shoot at Columbia University if he so
wanted .

Describing his feelings on reaching the massive
Columbia University campus, Dr Patel said that in
those days no Black was allowed into the varsity and
here was Dr Ambedkar, a man from a discriminated class
studying at this prestigious university. To the right
of the campus was the Black-infested locality of
Harlem. "He must be walking through Harlem. So many
dramatic things must have happened to him," he adds .

Deciding then to make a feature film on Babasaheb
whenever he would be able to raise the money, Dr Patel
found himself attending a meeting for the centenary
celebrations of Dr Ambedkar. The director happened to
be sitting next to Mrinal Gore and told her about his
plans. When it was Ms Gore's turn to speak, she mooted
the idea of a feature film on the Dalit messiah. The
then Chief Minister Sharad Pawar sanctioned Rs 1 crore
for the project and the Centre five crore.
Incidentally, Richard Attenborough's Gandhi made in
1980 had a budget of 18 crores. Dr Patel was expected
to give a similar touch to the life of Dr Ambedkar on
a budget of six crore only !.

Commenting on the controversy raised over the manner
in which Mahatma Gandhi was portrayed in the film, Dr
Patel said: "See, the film is on Dr Ambedkar. Only
those portions of Mahatma Gandhi will come which are
related to Dr Ambedkar. This is what Mahatma Gandhi
was in his life. Whatever Mahatma's views, they are
there in the film. He wanted to remove untouchability
but he had his own way of doing things which Dr
Ambedkar didn't have. Let time decide. Ultimately,
time will tell whether what Mahatmaji was saying was
right or what Ambedkar was saying was right. People
are watching today what happened in the 1930s, 40s. We
should be healthy enough to debate on it. And after
all, the same right of expression has been given by Dr
Ambedkar in the Constitution," he argues .

Anyone who has seen the film will agree that Dr
Ambedkar could not have been possible without
Mammooty. How did the filmmaker settle on him? "I was
making a film in English and I went all around the
world, met and saw actors in Canada, United States and
Britain. Physically, many actors in America came close
but I was not sure about how they would portray the
whole sensibility and inner turmoil. I was also not
happy about the gestures. I had shortlisted 2-3 people
and knew that it would be troublesome as I would have
to get them here and train them. So I was not really
happy. Then I decided to do something about Mammooty,
who was hiding in my mind for a very long time." So
started the entire exercise of doing computer graphics
on Mammootry's face. The results showed that
physically he came very close. When the director
approached him initially through a third person, the
southern superstar laughed off the idea.

But once Mammooty agreed to do the role he got into it
wholeheartedly. He made several physical changes like
shaving off his moustache and his hair to get the
receding hairline. "He gave a terrific performance. He
not only had to look like Ambedkar, but had to smile
and get angry like Ambedkar. One can act emotional,
show anger and all that. But how do you show that you
are intelligent." And Mammooty achieved that so easily
in the film

According to Dr Patel, the actor "listened to me very
carefully, read the script very carefully. He also
requested that we should not take too many rehearsals.
So we were very particular to can the shot in one or
two takes. Mammooty's journey was from inwards. He was
trying to construct a role from within with a cerebral
support. You will notice that he doesn't have many big
speeches in the film. But he's still so expressive in
silence," says Patel

One final question. Why was the film so long? Dr Patel
is at pains to explain: "It's the life, not the film,
the person which is so important. We have so many
preconceived ideas of Ambedkar, as if he is
responsible for many evils in this country. I'm not
overexplaining. Just putting it in proper perspective.
So it needs footage. I think each and every scene has
a bearing on his life. I have tried to keep the
relevant points. In seeing the film, you come to pay
tributes to this great man. This is his life. You
can't do injustice to this life," he says, defending
the length of the film.

[edit] References
^ Performance Tradition and Modern Theatre 
^ Classical Marathi Films 

[edit] External links
Jabbar Patel at the Internet Movie Database 
Marathi film Directory 

Vijay Tendulkar
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Vijay Tendulkar 
Birth name Vijay Dhondopant Tendulkar 
Born January 6, 1928 (1928-01-06) (age 80)
Kolhapur, Maharashtra India 
Other Awards 
Padma Bhushan: 1984
Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship: 1998
1977National Film Award for Best Screenplay: Manthan 

Vijay Tendulkar (born January 6, 1928)[1] is a leading
Indian playwright, movie and television writer,
literary essayist, political journalist, and social
commentator in Marathi. He is most known for his
plays, Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe (1967), Ghashiram
Kotwal (1972), and Sakharam Binder (1972).

He won Maharashtra State government awards in 1956,
1969 and 1972; and "Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar" in
1999. He was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi
Award in 1970, and again in 1998 with the Academy's
highest award for 'lifetime-contribution', the Sangeet
Natak Akademi Fellowship (Ratna Sadasya)[2]. In 1984,
he received Padma Bhushan award from the Government of
India for his literary accomplishments.

In 1977, Tendulkar won the National Film Award for
Best Screenplay for his screenplay in Shyam Benegal's
movie, Manthan (1976). He has written screenplays for
some of the important art movies of India, such as
Nishant, Aakrosh and Ardh Satya.

For the past five decades, Tendulkar has been a highly
influential dramatist and theater personality in

1 Biography 
1.1 Early Life and Education 
1.2 Early Career 
1.3 70s & 80s 
1.4 90s and beyond 
1.5 Personal life 
2 Awards 
3 Bibliography 
3.1 Novels 
3.2 Short Stories 
3.3 Plays 
3.4 Musicals 
3.5 Translations 
3.5.1 Works available in English 
3.6 Filmography 
3.6.1 Screenplays 
3.6.2 Dialogues 
4 Further reading 
5 References 
6 External links 

[edit] Biography

[edit] Early Life and Education
Vijay Dhondopant Tendulkar was born on January 6, 1928
in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, where his father held a
clerical job, and also ran a small publishing
business. The literary environment at home prompted
young Vijay to take up writing. He wrote his first
story at age six.

He grew up watching western plays, and felt inspired
to write plays himself. At age eleven, he wrote,
directed, and acted in his first play[3].

At age 14, he participated in the 1942 Indian freedom
movement [4], leaving his studies. The latter
alienated him from his family, and also his friends.
Writing then became his outlet, though most of his
early writings were only for himself and not for

[edit] Early Career
Tendulkar started his career writing for newspapers.
He had already written a play, "Amchyavar Kon Prem
Karnar", and he wrote the play, "Gruhastha" (The
Householder), in his early 20s. The latter did not
receive much recognition from the audience, and he
vowed never to write again [5]. Breaking the vow, in
1956 he wrote "'Shrimant", which established him a
good writer. "Shrimant" jolted the conservative
audience of the times with its radical storyline,
wherein an unmarried young woman decides to keep her
unborn child while her rich father tries to "buy" her
a husband in an attempt to save his social prestige.

His early struggle for survival, living in Mumbai
"chawls", provided him access to the full-bloodied
stories from the urban lower middle class, which were
till now not present in modern Indian theatre, or
presented in romanticized or sketchy versions [6].
This rapidly changed the very storyline, of modern
Marathi theatre, which flourished in the 50s and the
60s with experimental theatre groups like, 'Rangayan',
where actors like, Shreeram Lagoo, Mohan Agashe and
Sulbha Deshpande, brought new authenticity and power
to his stories, while initiating new sensibilities
into the modern Indian theatre [7].

In 1961 came 'Gidhade' (The Vultures), though it was
first performed only in 1970. It was a play set in a
morally collapsed family structure. It furthered his
explorations within the theme of violence, and in the
coming years took to all its forms, be it domestic,
communal, sexual or political; a theme he first
depicted in his earlier work, 'Shrimant', that way
'Gidhade' turned out to be a turning point, as here
for the first time he came into his own and projected
his explicit writing style through his character for
the first time [8].

In 1967, 'Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe' (Silence! The
Court Is in Session) was performed for the first time,
and became his finest work. Based on a 1956 short
story, 'Die Panne' (Traps) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, it
was later made in a film by Satyadev Dubey in 1971,
for which Vijay Tendulkar wrote the screenplay, his
first [9].

[edit] 70s & 80s
Yet this was only the beginning of his explorations,
soon he switched geared to attacking gender hegemony
with his next, 'Sakharam Binder' (Sakharam, the
Binder) in 1972, about a man who doesn't believe
either in conventional marriage, morality, or social
codes, yet want to use the society for his personal
motives, without any personal ethics to guide him, he
regularly gives 'shelter' to cast-off wives, only to
later use them himself for his personal gratification;
all through this, he remains unconscious of the
emotional and moral implications, as he can justify
his every act, through his arguments and claims of
modernity; what he seems to be questioning is the garb
of modernity and unconventional thinking which is used
to enslave the women in our times into another kind
sexual stereotype which even they buy into, as they
want freedom so badly [10].

Gender violence of 'Sakharam', gave way to political
violence, a more subversive form of violence, seen
prevalently his most noted play, Ghashiram Kotwal
(Ghashiram, the Constable), which came in the same
year. A political satire, created as a musical drama
set in 18th century Pune, it combined traditional
Marathi folk forms with contemporary theatre
techniques, to create a new paradigm for Indian
theatre. Today with over six thousand performances,
both in the original and in translation, it remains
one of the longest-running plays of modern theatre and
his most comprehensive study in group psychology [11].
Thereafter, he was awarded the "Jawaharlal Nehru
Fellowship" (1974-75), for his project, "an enquiry
into the pattern of growing violence in society and
its relevance to contemporary theatre".

His explorations of anger and violence, showed up in
his screenplays of films like Nishant (1974), Aakrosh
(1980) and Ardh Satya (1984), which established him as
an important 'Chronicler of Violence' of the times
[12]. In all, he has written eleven films in Hindi and
eight in Marathi, including 'Samana' (Confrontation,
1975), 'Simhasan' (Throne, 1979), and Umbartha (The
Threshold) (1981), a groundbreaking feature film on
women's activism in India, starring Smita Patil and
Girish Karnad, and directed by Jabbar Patel.

During his career spanning over five decades, he wrote
over 27 full-length plays and 25 one-act plays,
several of which have proven to be modern Indian
theatre classics [13], his plays have been translated
and performed in many Indian Languages, across India

In time, he became one of the virulent and radical
political voices in India, providing his scathing
insight and viewpoint on every social event and
political upheaval. In theatre, while his
contemporaries were still safely exploring the limits
of social realism, he broke them convincingly, by
jumping straight into the cauldron of political
radicalism, and ruthlessly exposed political hegemony
of the powerful, and the prevalent hypocrisies in
Indian social mindsets. His eye for human angst and
providing it true and resplendent expression has got
him worldwide acclaim and brickbats on home front as
well, where the orthodox and the powerful, political
bigwigs, have tried to thwart his emboldened voice,
sometimes by pressure and at others through censor,
but nothing succeeded in hampering his expression or
his pen. [15].

Most of his plays derive inspiration from real-life
incidents or societal upheavals, be it the rise of
Shiv Sena which got reflected in Ghashiram Kotwal
[16], or the buying of a woman from the rural flesh
market, by a journalist, who uses the act to
sensationalize and further his career, only to later
forget, all about the 'bought' woman, in 'Kamala' [17]
[18], or the 'Mitrachi Ghosta', inspired by a real
life actress, whose acting career was ruined after the
revelation of her same-sex affair [19].

[edit] 90s and beyond
In 1991, he wrote, 'Safar',(Cyclewallah or The
Cyclist), a metaphorical play; though it was supposed
to be his last play [20], a decade later, in 2001, he
wrote another play, 'The Masseur', followed by two
novels, 'Kadambari: Ek', and 'Kadambari: Don', about
sexual fantasies of an aging man. He wrote his first
play in English, a one-act titled 'His Fifth Woman' in
2004, it is a sequel to his earlier explorations with
the women of 'Sakharam Binder' (1972); the play was
first performed at 'Vijay Tendulkar Festival', New
York [21].

In the 90s, he briefly wrote for the television, and
result was a powerful TV series, 'Swayam Siddha',
starring his daughter, Priya Tendulkar, in the lead
role. In 2007, a documentary, 'Tendulkar Ani Himsa:
Aaj Ani Kaal' (Tendulkar and Violence: Then and Now),
in Marathi with English subtitles, was released [22],
also a short film, 'Ankahin', was made on him [23].

His oeuvre includes 16 plays for children, including
'Bale Miltat' (1960) and 'Patlachya Poriche Lagin'
(1965); five anthologies of short stories, two novels,
and five volumes of literary essays and social
criticism, including 'Raatrani' and 'Kovali Unbe'
(both in 1971) and 'Phuge Sobanche' in 1974; and a
biography, all of which have contributed to a
remarkable transformation of the modern literary
landscape of Maharashtra and of India as a whole.

He is an important translator in Marathi, having
rendered nine novels and two biographies into the
language, as well as five plays.

In 2007, a documentary, 'Tendulkar and Violence: Then
and Now', in Marathi with English subtitles, was
released [24], also a short film, 'Ankahin', was made
on him [25].

[edit] Personal life
Tendulkar's daughter, noted actress Priya Tendulkar,
passed away in 2002. His son, Raja, and wife, Nirmala,
passed away in the preceding years.

[edit] Awards
1970 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 
1970 Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Award 
1977 National Film Award for Best Screenplay: Manthan 
1981 Filmfare Best Screenplay Award: Aakrosh 
1981 Filmfare Best Story Award: Aakrosh 
1983 Filmfare Best Screenplay Award: Ardh Satya 
1984 Padma Bhushan 
1993 Saraswati Samman 
1998 Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship 
1999 Kalidas Samman 
2001 Katha Chudamani Award 

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Novels
Kadambari: Ek (Novel: One) (1996) 
Kadambari: Don (Novel: Two) (2005) 

[edit] Short Stories
Dwandwa (1961) 
Phalapakharn (1970) 

[edit] Plays
Grihast (Householder) (1947) 
Shrimant (1956) 
Manoos Navhache Bait (An Island Called Man) (1958) 
Thief! Police! 
Bale Miltat (1960) 
Gidhade - (Giddh) - (The Vultures) (1961) 
Patlachya Poriche Lagin (1965) 
Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe (Khamosh! Adaalat Jaari
Hai) (Silence! The Court is in Session) (1967) 
Ajgar Ani Gandharva 
Sakharam Binder (Sakharam, the Book-Binder) (1972) 
Kamala (1981) (Kamala) 
Maadi (Hindi) 
Kanyadan (The Gift of a Daughter) (1983) 
Dambadwipcha Mukabala (Encounter in Umbugland) 
Ashi Pakhare Yeti (Panchi Aise Aate Hain) 
Safar/Cyclewallah (The Cyclist) (1991) 
The Masseur (2001) 
Pahije Jatiche 
Jaat Hi Poocho Sadhu Ki 
Maazi Bahin 
Jhala Ananta Hanumanta 
Footpayricha Samrat 
Mitrachi Goshta (A Friend's Story) (2001) 
Anand Owari (edited for the stage from the novel by
Di. Ba. Mokashi) 
Bhau Muraarrao 
Mee Jinkalo Mee Haralo 
His Fifth Woman (English) (2004) 

[edit] Musicals
Ghashiram Kotwal (Ghashiram the Constable) (1972) 

[edit] Translations
Mohan Rakesh's Adhe Adhure (from Hindi) 
Girish Karnad's Tughlaq (from Kannada) 
Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (from

[edit] Works available in English
Silence! The Court Is in Session (Three Crowns). Priya
Adarkar (Translator), Oxford University Press,
1979.ISBN 0195603133. 
Ghashiram Kotwal, Sangam Books, 1984. ISBN 817046210X.

The Churning, Seagull Books, India, 1985.ISBN
The Threshold: Umbartha - Screenplay. Shampa Banerjee
(Translator), Sangam Books Ltd.,1985.ISBN 0861320964. 
Five Plays. (Various Translators), Bombay, Oxford
University Press, 1992 ISBN 0195637364. 
The Last Days of Sardar Patel and The Mime Players:
Two Screen Plays. New Delhi, Permanent Black,
2001.ISBN 8178240181. 
Modern Indian Drama: An Anthology, Sahitya
Akademi,India, 2001.ISBN 8126009241. 
Mitrachi Goshta : A Friend's Story: A Play in Three
Acts. Gowri Ramnarayan (Translator). New Delhi, Oxford
University Press, 2001.ISBN 0195653173. 
Kanyadaan, Oxford University Press, India, New Ed
edition, 2002.ISBN 0195663802. 
Collected Plays in Translation, New Delhi, 2003,
Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195662091. 
The Cyclist and His Fifth Woman: Two Plays by Vijay
Tendulkar. Balwant Bhaneja (Translator), 2006 Oxford
India Paperbacks.ISBN 0195676408. 

[edit] Filmography

[edit] Screenplays
Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe (Silence! The Court Is in
Session) (1972) 
Nishant (End of Night) (1975) 
Samana (Confrontation) (1975) 
Manthan (Churning) (1976) 
Simhasan (Throne) (1979) 
Gehrayee (The Depth) (1980) 
Aakrosh (Cry of the Wounded) (1980) 
Akriet (Unimaginable) (1981) 
Umbartha (The Threshold) (1981) 
Ardh Satya (Half Truth) (1983) 
Kamala (Kamala) (1984) 
Sardar (1993) 
Yeh Hai Chakkad Bakkad Bumbe Bo (2003) 
Eashwar Mime Co. (The Mime Players) (2005) 

[edit] Dialogues
Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978) 

[edit] Further reading
Vijay Tendulkar. New Delhi, Katha, 2001. ISBN
Vijay Tendulkar's Ghashiram Kotwal: a Reader's
Companion. M. Sarat Babu, Asia Book Club, 2003. ISBN
Vijay Tendulkar's Ghashiram Kotwal : Critical
Perspectives, Vinod Bala Sharma and M. Sarat Babu.
2005, Prestige Books, New Delhi . ISBN 8178510022. 
Vijay Tendulkar`s Plays: An Anthology of Recent
Criticism. V M Madge, 2007, Pencraft International.
ISBN 8185753792. 
An Interview with Vijay Tedulkar, The Indian Express,
October 20, 1999 
Vijay Tendulkar chats on death penalty, 2004 
Vijay Tendulkar talks on his plays 
Jabbar Patel talks on Vijay Tendulkar plays 

[edit] References
^ Tendulkat at languageindia 
^ Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 
^ Vijay Tendulkar profile at indiaclub 
^ The Frontline, Dec., 2005 
^ The Hindi, Feb 02, 2003 
^ The Tribune, October 3, 2004 
^ Shanta Gokhale, Theatre critic and writer 
^ Violence 'Gibade' and beyond 
^ Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe at the Internet Movie
^ Lokvani, 07/30/2003 
^ Ashis Nandy on Violence in Vijay Tendulkar's works 
^ Profile at Oxford University Press 
^ The Indian Express, October 20, 1999 
^ Vijay Tendulkar speaks to NDTV 
^ The Indian Express, October 20, 1999 
^ Kamala story 1981 
^ Kamala at salaamtheatre 
^ A study of the play and book, Mitrachi Goshta: A
Friend's Story 
^ An Introduction to 'The Cyclist', 2001 
^ Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), Vijay Tendulkar
Festival, New York City, October 2004 
^ The Times of India, Jan 2007 
^ The Hindu, Jan 20, 2007 
^ The Times of India, Jan 2007 
^ The Hindu, Jan 20, 2007 

[edit] External links
Vijay Tendulkar at the Internet Movie Database 
A performance of Vijay Tendulkar's 'Kanyadaan' 
Amol Palekar speaks on Vijay Tendulkar 
Retrieved from

Pseudo-secularism: Vijay Tendulkar's death wish for
Narendra Modi
Author: Vishal Sharma 
The recent statement by acclaimed writer Vijay
Tendulkar, that he would shoot the Chief Minister of
Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi, if he had a gun, indicates
just how much the pseudo-secularist elements in India
are convinced that Modi is to be blamed for Gujarat
riots, conveniently forgetting the carnage in Godhra
that preceded the riots. As per the reports of a
leading English daily, when asked by a student what
would he do, if he were given a pistol, Tendulkar is
reportedly to have said, "Even society praises a man
who kills someone, who has destroyed the lives of
hundreds of people. This is a crime and death by
hanging should be final punishment. The list of those
I want to kill is very long, but I will shoot Modi, if
I'm given a pistol." 

What did Narendra Modi do, to deserve the punishment
of death by such people? Did the Narendra Modi
government not call the Indian Army within sixteen
hours of the first sign of riots breaking out? The
Indian Army at that time was in a state of red alert
on the International border with Pakistan, in lieu of
the December 13th Islamic terrorist attacks on the
Indian Parliament. The Army cannot just be removed
from the border with Pakistan and be stationed in a
situation to deal with internal unrest, and yet within
just sixteen hours army units were air-lifted and
brought to Gujarat. This was the fastest reaction by
any government in Indian history, while dealing with
riot situations. 

Did the Narendra Modi government not initiate
preventive arrests of over thirty-three thousand
people across the state of Gujarat? Which government
on this planet has initiated such a mammoth task of
arresting its own people in such huge numbers even
before a crime was committed? Did the Narendra Modi
government not fire over twelve thousand rounds of
bullets for riot control, and over fifteen thousands
rounds of tear gas shells? About two hundred people
were shot dead by the police to control the frenzied
crowds. It was the largest killing of people in a
non-war situation by a police force in the world for
riots' control. Over four thousand indictments have
been registered. Do the likes of Vijay Tendulkar
expect Narendra Modi to be a superman and prevent
assault on each and every Muslim citizen, when there
was a huge out flow of public anger? 

Sadly, Vijay Tendulkar is not the only intellect that
feels so strongly about Narendra Modi. The disease of
pseudo-secularism has crept in the very self of Indian
society. In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, there has
been a systematic ethnic cleansing of Hindus from the
valley in the name of religious terrorism. Hindus have
become refugees in their own land. People are being
killed by Islamic militants from Pakistan just because
they belong to the Hindu way of life. Does this not
pain people like Vijay Tendulkar, and his likes? Do
the perpetrators of this type of genocide not deserve
the death penalty, much before an innocent man like
Narendra Modi is unilaterally judged and proclaimed
guilty by Vijay Tendulkar and his lies, and condemned
to death by shooting? 

Day in and day out, innocent Israeli civilians are
systematically being targeted by the suicide bomber
producing factories of Palestine, all in the name of
Jehad. Do the founders of such terrorist producing
factories not deserve capital punishment before Vijay
Tendulkar opens his mouth and vents fire at Modi?
Maybe Vijay Tendulkar has forgotten the 9/11 terrorist
attacks, the Bali, Mumbai or Istanbul mass bombings
and killings of innocent civilians all in the name of
Islamic Jihad, by the likes of Osama Bin Laden, the
ISI, and other jihadi forces. May be Osama Bin Laden
is judged less guilty, and Modi is hated. 

If Vijay Tendulkar wants to shoot so many people, he
should consider volunteering for the Indian Army and
be stationed on the borders with Pakistan, and let him
satisfy his desire to shoot, albeit in the service of
India, and at the terrorists. Shooting unwanted verbal
expletives and creating headlines should be condemned.
We are sick of such people, and of such writers who
raise irresponsible statements, and get away with it.
The law must take such statements into account and
pass exemplary reprimand to dissuade any future such
verbal indulgences aimed at creating hype, and
communal tensions. As S.K. Modi author of the book
"Godhra: The missing rage" has to aptly put it and
called such a group as the "Booker Brotherhood". 

Pseudo-secularists would deride any person who openly
stands for Hindu rights. The bane of Indian democracy
has sadly been the rise of coming into prominence of
such elements, which have in the name of a perverted
interpretation of secularism given rise to a
self-defeating view point - anything pro-Hindu is bad.
Therefore, the only mistake that Modi made was to
denounce the killings of the Hindus at Godhra and
reason the subsequent riots to be Godhra's aftermath.
An analysis that saw the initial perpetrators being
local Muslim miscreants is not acceptable to the
pseudo-secularists and they have since then initiated
an anti-Modi campaign. Maybe they don't like Modi,
maybe they don't like the way he talks, maybe they
don't like that stoic, emotionless way he projects
himself, maybe they don't like his beard, but then who
cares? The people of Gujarat, who matter, like him,
and vote for him. This is democracy and the voice of
the many reigns supreme over the voice of the
miniscule few armchair critics. 

One never knew that an acclaimed writer of Vijay
Tendulkar's repute had such an intense desire to take
another human being's life. One never knew that he
cherished a desire to kill many a people, and kindled
such hatred for the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The
inner person of Vijay Tendulkar frightens me, and the
logic being used to pronounce a death sentence on
Narendra Modi saddens me, not so much for a liking for
Modi, but for the simple reason that if the
intelligentsia of a nation chooses to blind itself
with myopic and polarized views, there is little hope
for others. The Indian intelligentsia needs to move
with times, and come out of its pseudo-secularist
viewpoint, and take stands in sync with the changing
times. The sufferings of the Muslims should be
condemned but so should the sufferings of the Hindus!
If the Gujarat riots are despicable then more so is
the Godhra tragedy that sparked off everything. If the
demolition of the Babri mosque-structure was a blot on
Indianness, then the first act of destroying a Hindu
temple in Ayodhya by the Mughal authorities was an
insult to each and every Indian, and the continuance
of that national shame was a blot on the person of all
of India, both Hindu and Muslim. Publicly expressing a
desire to shoot Narendra Modi is a cheap way to get
publicity, surely writers and intellects, have the
capabilities of getting publicity in some other benign

A conversation with Sir Vijay Tendulkar
By: PROJEKT iVIEW | 2735 Views

Rating: (4 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)
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On 17th dec 06, i was at NCPA for my first performance
in mumbai,thanx to Thespo8 and Quasar Padamsay. My
theatre gang from IT BHU,varanasi had arrived to watch
it,12 of of my juniors,abhijeet before coming
to mumbai, had a talk with Sir Vijay Tendulkar on
phone and had asked for a meeting during his visit to
which he had agreed. On 18th march,while all of them
were getting ready to leave, abhijeet called him up at
9 AM and tendulkar sir asked to come on 19th as he
wasnt well. But when abhijeet said he had a train
tonight he asked him to call back at 4.At 4 he asked
to come by 6, and abhijeet,vaibhav (one of my lead
actors in my last play at campus) and I went to his
house to meet him. A modest house in a very modest
building. A care taker and a dog welcomed us in and
after waiting for 2 mins in a drawing room fitted with
almirahs having just books, we were called to where he
was sitiing. He asked for introduction and after
realising that abhijeet and Vaibhav had come to watch
my performance, he said to me "Aise dost hone
chahiye". We told him that we have been doing theatre
for quite sometime and we have questions in our mind
regarding writing. This is how the whole conversation

WE: After reading your plays I got the strength to
portary my perception more honestly. But people ask me
and they must have asked you also.."Why baby", "why
sakharam"…"is life really so dark and cruel?"

HE: what is your answere to such questions?

US: I tell them,that your plays are an extrapolation
of reality. Baby accepted suffering dutifully the way
dark people accepted slavery and slaughter….
Acceptance of torture is a way of living…Baby is an
extrapolation of reality.

HE: I personally dont bother about people who havn't
seen life. They close their eyes at the sight of
suffering as if it doesnt exist. The fact is that life
is dark and cruel, its just that you dont care for the
truth. You dont want to see it because it might make
you uncomfortable. If escapism is your way of living
then you will fail to see the truth. I have not
written about hypothetical pain or created an
imaginary world of sorrow. I am from a middle class
family and I have seen the brutal ways of life by
keeping my eyes open. My work has come from within
me,as an outcome of my observation of the world in
which I live. If they want to entertain and make
merry, fine go ahead, but I cant do it, I have to
speak the truth.

WE: Khamosh!adalat Zari hai,made me realise that to
classify people, emotions, relationships into
right-wrong, good-evil, fair-unfair is not
appropriate. The better classification wud be
"comfortable-uncomfortable". But it is extremely
difficult to convince others through writing. what
conscious effort do you make to ensure that your point
goes accross?

HE: good-bad, right-wrong, once you tag things like
that, you lose the abilty to see the complete truth.
Criminal is not only a criminal.A murderer can also be
a loving father.firstly, Dont tag things. The words
which you and I have just used, they are insufficient
to describe the picture in totality.Try not getting
trapped in the dictionary meaning of words. As for me,
I simply care to see and keep my eyes open, what comes
out in my writing is natural without the concious
effort of convincing or justifying.

WE: At times the charecters we design have the same
weaknessess that we have and sketching that charecter
honestly would be like accepting your weaknesses. Its
difficult to accept your own weaknessess and
sufferings and write about them honestly. What should
one do?From where does one get courage to write about
his own weaknesses honestly?

HE: Maintaining distance between your experiences and
writings helps a lot. Its not necessary to write
exactly at the time when you have just experienced
something. give time, it will give you clarity to see
things better. Once you are at a distance fom your
experiences, when you see things from outside, you
write more honestly. Besides, the pain of writing the
truth will always be there, "yeh tapasya ki tarah
hai".,learn to bear it.

WE: At times we feel very strongly about something,but
the moment we pen it down it appears very stupid. It
all suddenly starts appearing so small after it is
written. what should one do?

HE: Dont worry, it happens even with a lot of
experienced writers. come back to what you have penned
after 10days, 20 days again and again,it will make
more sense to you then. 

WE: How does one research before writing?

HE: Research is not the right word. I dont
deliberately try to find out things before I write.
One does not live to write. You live, and writing
beomes an offshoot from it. I live my life keeping my
eyes open, observing things, and then something comes
to me from what I had seen before and I write it down.
I feel something and then I expresss my feelings, it
comes from within, based on how I have lived. 

US: Is it right to do the reverse of this? At times I
just want to write, and for that I deliberately search
within myself to find something worthy of writing.

HE: I dont do this but then there are various
processess of creativity. It might work for you, but
it doesnt for me. In this case of Afzal, I am reading
all the articles in newspapers and magazines, just
gathering information about him gradually. May be some
day I might reflect on him.

WE: Our perception of reality is influenced by our own
experiences, at times I feel that what I am writing is
what I think to be true, but may be the truth is
entirely different?

HE: What is reality? The coexistence of the observer
and the happening makes the reality. Reality becomes
reality only when it is seen. There is nothing like
absolute reality.Your perception of what is happening
combined with the happening makes the picture of
reality complete. Dont get frustrated, write what you

WE: How much is it important for a writer to be well
read? At times it interferes with your own writing,so
doesnt it contaminate it?There is always a fear of
borrowed writing?

HE: A man who just sits in his room and reads books
without looking at the outside world is only half a
man. But if you observe and read too, then it helps
you in sharpening the tool of language. It gives you
ways of expression. You learn how to express and your
language improves which makes it easy to write. Dont
worry about the borrowing part as long as you are
honest.Your writing will always be influenced by your
experiences with other people. will you call it
borrowing from them. Reading is just another

WE: When did you start writing?

HE: so many people have asked this question.

WE: We are from middle calss north indian families,
where children eigther become doctors or engineers.
Theatre and literature is never encouraged, its
useless according to parents. We were exposed to
theatre at IT BHU at an age of 19-20. So at times we
doubt that may be we are too late to begin writing.

HE: ok. I started writing at an early age. But dont
worry, about age. Its never too late. I have friends
who have started writing at the age of 50 and they
write excellently. Just keep going and it will come.

And before we could say any thing else he started
coughing badly. He reached for the glass of water on
the table and after taking few sips, his hand started
shivering badly. He was trying to put the glass back
on the table but couldn't do it. I moved ahead to take
the glass from him and he gestured with the other
hand-"No". We left with the words,"we would wish to
meet you again later" and he nodded a big yes while
still coughing.

{oz note: to know more on one of the greatest
playwrights you could start with Wiki}

Posted on December 20, 2006 at 7:12 am | Filed Under
Editorial, People, Screenwriting, Theater, Movies

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