“You have to prove your talent over and over again!” An interview with Premanand Gajvi

Premanad Gajvi
Premanad Gajvi

Premanand Gajvi (1947-present) is a Marathi playwright, writer and poet. He is well-known for his social commitment to effectively shape the disorganized truth of the society. His one-act play ‘Ghotbhar Paani’ has been translated into fourteen languages and another play ‘Kirwant’ has been translated into other Indian languages. His writings have been included in the school curriculum too.

On account of World Marathi Theatre Day, The Drama School Mumbai’s Neelam Sakpal interviewed Premanand Gajvi to share his experiences with theatre, art and performance.

Neelam: On account of World Marathi Theatre Day, what would you say about the present condition of Marathi theatre?

Premanand: Drama is a very serious medium of art. The purpose of theatre is primarily to awaken masses. When you talk about the traditional Marathi drama, you tend to remember or start conversations with Vishnudas Bhave. In fact, we need to remember that even before Vishnudas Bhave, there was Marathi theatre scene happening in Karnataka.

We don’t take theatre or drama seriously. Drama is a good medium to understand the social and cultural dimensions of those times. We first need to stop considering theatre as a compact way of entertainment. Secondly, it is necessary to acknowledge and recognise dramatists who take their art seriously. Which new questions and problems have arisen in this age? Who are the ones critiquing these problems?

We complete one year of demonetisation. Has any recent playwright considered showcasing the problems common man has faced due to it? In the name of the professional theatre, we tend to ignore the pressing issues of the society. Are there any plays produced on the current political and social situation of the country? From the time when Amol Palekar or Vijay Tendulkar wrote plays, there has been very little progress in experimental theatre. That’s why experimental theatre kept merging with professional theatre. This doesn’t mean that our society doesn’t have people who introspect anymore. It simply means that no one is willing to explore. That’s the scene with the theatre industry today. We have stopped taking risks and writing about real issues.

N: Playwrights nowadays only bother about festivals and awards function. That’s the time when they are seen coming together. They do not have any interest or appreciation for each other’s work. What is your observation on this matter?

P: Yes, people have now taken to celebrating festivals pompously. We have to celebrate ‘every day’ of our life. If we do not have any festivals to celebrate, we simply celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day with great fun. That’s where the drama industry is also focusing on.

What is the biggest festival for theatre artists? It is the state-level competition also known as Rajya Natya Spardha. This means December is the festival of glory because they mostly get organised in December. This competition doesn’t just receive new entries each year from larger production companies but also from smaller production groups. Some of the older productions are revived especially for such festivals.

The problem is that if the competition entails a prize, many groups will come forward to perform. That will indirectly increase the bookings of the shows. The audience has also begun appreciating only those plays that have famous star cast or the plays that have won awards. That means, a good play, according to the audience is not one that stimulates your mind but the one that wins your heart. Suppose a large drama production house earns enough money from a piece of art, then they shouldn’t have any problem to produce a new play next time. But there is no one fighting to do this. Festivals and competitions see a mix of new and old plays. The prize is also reserved for plays that have been performed earlier. What do they achieve by awarding and promoting someone who doesn’t really need any promotion? When will fresh talent stand a chance to be awarded or promoted? Ignorantly, we tend to appreciate old and experienced people and their art. On one hand, we live in modern times of gadgets but the plays we demand to see are old.

This means our heart still lingers in the history somewhere, right? Do we want to carry that history forward? I honestly believe that the question which we need to constantly talk about is whether art for art or art for life? This question is ignored in this celebratory mentality. We now see people just chasing awards and recognition. People used to seriously try to present their art differently but they are not seen doing that anymore. Instead of presenting art to people, it seems that everyone is trying to push themselves into the crowd. We can conclude that artists are not thinking about theatre anymore, they are merely looking for personal benefits.

N: Today, if writers or actors present the current socio-political scenario of the state honestly, people barge into halls to destroy the sets or inflict harm and shut the production. Some have even threatened to burn the theatres down. This means parallel censorship is on a rise. How should new artists tackle this?

P: Don’t try to think that parallel censorship is a new phenomenon. It has always existed and was equally active during Vijay Tendulkar’s time. Tendulkar had to be confronted with the sensation of censorship in his two plays – Sakharam Baindar and Ghashiram Kotwal. Well, you have people who are courageously going through all these incidents. But ultimately, fear of life remains an important aspect of these incidents. If someone comes, blackens your face, the fear of inviting harm further always stays. And it is very sad to say that there exists a group in the society that has created such fear. This is a sign that we still do not have ideological proficiency. The people who protest or oppose the play don’t really consider the central subject or message of the play. They do not even try to see the subtle work of art in it. I see this as a quick way of gaining popularity. The group that vandalises the plays always have a leader. The leader has his own agenda. They want to grab some eyeballs and that’s why they do this. Another reason could be that they don’t want the common people to introspect or question the situation at stake. This means that they want people to blindly believe in them and not use theatre or art to raise questions about injustice or wrongdoings. They don’t consider the fact that by listening to other side of the story, there might be new observations surfacing in the society. Observations like people from the history, socio-political scenarios from the past etc.

This may also mean that the playwright has an added responsibility that he shouldn’t ignore. The playwright must always ensure that his story contains elements of truth in them. If the playwright wants to put forward the truth about the society, they must also take into consideration the reaction from their audience and the risks they might put themselves in. The writer must always be proud of his story and should fearlessly communicate why he chose to explore the truth. An author or a writer must be prepared to stand against any catastrophe.

N: Suppose a writer is at the risk of being hurt and another writer does not run to help him. The writers do not have a pressure group yet. They do not have a union. Why this incompetence in spite of writers being creative?

P: This is a cultural question and this question is very old. You have a word for it, ‘cultural warfare’. Some playwrights are well established and safe and some playwrights are as they were. Because there’s monopoly of a particular group in performing arts as well. Therefore, every playwright will be able to run and help another playwright is not always possible. We have limited work for organisations that host authors. Their picture is not very optimistic. You can generally hear that some cinemas earn 100 crores or 200 crores. But then, do such organizations work for the growth of their authors? Is there any proposal of this type for the government?

The theatre bodies are just for namesake. Smaller organisations run competitions for authors and bigger theatre bodies do participate. That’s not ideal. Also, how well do we use social media for the promotion of theatre? We don’t. There are no programs or functions other than celebrating the anniversary of the organization. Do such organizations make sure that the money they pay to their playwrights is utilised wisely? How continuous are they in their methodology? Are there some new hurdles to find out how their writing improves? All these questions are unanswered. So when you think about the whole of the Marathi theatre, it does not amount to much.

N: Should a writer always have a neutral perspective while writing plays?

P: I do not think any writer can have a neutral perspective on any situation or while writing a play. But if someone attempts to do that, then we have to bring changes in our society. The need to eradicate corruption and casteism is urgent. This will have to be dealt with from its roots and we will have to bring change in our lifestyles. A human being’s perception is formed right after the birth. Some of our opinions are made up after observing the world around us. The author picks his subjects or topics from these daily situations. Before writing, the author accumulates questions, thoughts, emotions and lots of feelings. His perception and thought-process are formed that way. And suppose someone wants to write something that was not part of their life, for example, if I want to write about tribal life, and I am completely secluded from it, then the tribal life must be thoroughly understood by me before writing. To read books on it, to take thoughts and opinions of different people in it, all this should be the part of the study. When I understand this tribal life to be 70-80 percent, then I will get 40-50 percent of it in my writing. So it seems strange to write without an experience. You have to feel something to write it.

N: Shouldn’t the government help in improving the situation of artists?

P:  Definitely yes, the government has certain grants that they can use in arts and performing arts. If it uses these grants in a right manner, there are chances to improve the situation of artists. But the basic problem is that our government does not want to do anything beyond the state-level-competition and festival. If they can do something at a much larger level than that, they should do so. Instead of spending money on awards, the selection committee must provide fellowships to the writers. They should motivate the writers to write beyond the ordinary. Basically, the government should also know about the art. That’s when they can execute different activities. And not everything has to be done by the government. We should also take some responsibility. We speak too broadly and judge everyone. It has to work very differently.

N: You’ve also started The Bodhi Theatre. Will it take up a different journey in theatre?

It is the same fun. What is more appropriate? Art for art or life for art? You can argue on that. But let me go a step further and say that ‘art is for knowledge’. That is the third dimension. Now, this is not my own analysis. If Buddha had done something in the past so that he attained eternal knowledge. What he did was search for an answer. This is the principle on which ‘Bodhi’ theatre organization works. They search for the right playwright.

‘Bodhi’ has done story-writing and drama workshops throughout Maharashtra. About 250 to 300 people were selected to come on board. Those who wrote, we compiled a book with them – ‘Art for Knowledge’. We added 6-7 plays in it.

The selected playwrights are not special members of ‘Bodhi’. We do not propagate their ideology. What we do is motivate them to write plays for Bodhi Drama workshops. During the workshop, we read their play and discuss it at length. This exercise helps them with feedback to develop their script further. Later we turn those scripts into plays for different festivals. Some of the plays produced by the festival are also turned into books. It means that the process of writing should continue. There should be no stop. And the work that your former playwright has done, is expected to move forward. These young selected playwrights are experimenting with subjects that we never dared to touch. We are also helping these young playwrights carve their own path. There is a need to create a separate path. But we can’t keep hoping all the time. We have to prove our talent over and over again.

Thanks to Akshay Shimpi, student convenor at The Drama School for arranging this interview. This interview has been translated from Marathi by Roshan Kokane. You can read the original interview here!

Performance@theDSM: Dozakh (A Marathi Play)

Dozakh: A still from the play  l Sourced from the internet

Dozakh, a Marathi play directed by Abhijeet Zunjarrao talks about one of the most sensitive issues in the Indian political scenario. The play sheds light on how religious extremists use religion as an excuse to harm other human beings, especially women. It takes the audience on a journey of self-exploration where caste, religion, human rights, equality and crime are the central subjects.

The narrative of the play, revolving around two young girls speaks loudly of how religious propaganda accounts for ruthless killing of many around the world. It also puts to stage all the stereotype, hate crime and pressures faced by all women. The script pans through scenes where poetry is used to evoke emotions and show the plight of female survivors of war. Two hours of an intense portrayal of all the atrocities done against women makes the play a poignant watch. Come to the DSM and watch this brilliant analysis of religion and human character.

About Abhijeet Zunjarrao
Abhijeet Zunjarrao is a theatre and film actor, director and writer. He has directed several plays in the Marathi theatre circuit and also runs a production group Abhinay, Kalyan. 

Written by: Irfan Mujawar

Directed by: Abhijeet Zunjarrao

Date and Time: 16th December, 7pm

Venue: 5th Floor, The Drama School Mumbai, Girgaon, Mumbai – 400 004

Tickets: Rs. 250/-

Available on BookMyShow!


Performance@theDSM: Karl Marx in Kalbadevi

Creative sourced from the internet

We at the DSM intend to close the year with one of the most iconic and revolutionary men in history revisiting his chronicles. Revolutionary socialist, philosopher, economist and journalist, Karl Marx, comes to the DSM after a short halt in Kalbadevi. Yes, you heard it right! How and why has he come to Mumbai? What does he have to say? All questions will be answered by the man himself! Catch Karl Marx in Kalbadevi on 23rd December, 7pm at the DSM.

About Karl Marx in Kalbadevi

Karl Marx has made a comeback! The reason is clear. He feels that he has been misunderstood for several years and it’s time he gave us answers. It has come to his knowledge that socialism and communism, two words fathered by him, have become dirty words in the present!

He is damn upset about it and wants to clarify before the whole world, or a part of it starts the celebration of his 200th birth anniversary! Thanks to some quirky reasons, he has landed in India, in Mumbai, in Kalbadevi! He is waiting endlessly for a chance to speak his mind.

At last, he gets this chance; through a comic mix up! Come to the DSM and watch Karl Marx talking about his family, friends, Das Kapital and the boil on his ass as well as the enormous thali he had at Bhagat Tarachand!

DirectorManoj Shah

CastSatchit Puranik

Date and time: 23rd December 2017, 7 PM

Venue: 5th Floor, The Drama School Mumbai, Girgaon, Mumbai – 400 004

Tickets: Rs. 250/-

Available on BookMyShow!

Protests Through Theatre: Conversations@theDSM with Rasika Agashe

Rasika Agashe's picture
Rasika Agashe  l  Source: Facebook

Since graduating as an actor from the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, Rasika’s ambition has only been to consistently better herself. She firmly believes that art can speak volumes if the subject interests public and thus, she went on to give birth to Being Association, a theatre group which mainly does protest theatre.

Interviewing her at DSM on the Saturday of 11th November was her long-time colleague Dr. Sumedh. He is a doctor who specialises in research on female foeticide and women’s safety. He also writes plays as a hobby.

The conversation started with Rasika and Dr. Sumedh talking about what they do and how they got affiliated to theatre. Rasika joked about starting to like theatre when she was three-years-old. She said, “I grew up in Pune. As a member of a middle-class Marathi family, theatre was an important aspect of entertainment while growing up. When I was in college, I participated in a lot of theatre festivals and competitions. Purushottam Karandak was supposed to be the most reputed inter-college competition. That is how it all began.”

When Dr Sumedh asked how her experience at NSD helped her grow as a thespian, Rasika answered, “I did not realise the importance of NSD because it all happened very easily for me. I got admission when I applied for the first time, so I was not aware of how difficult or competitive it is. When the course started, the professors kept throwing at us references to various plays and characters written throughout history. To understand what was being taught, I needed to be well-read. In the first six months of my time there, I read about 150 plays. Along with that, the exposure to a whole variety of folk and western theatre, practices and understanding the differences in all of these styles made me a whole lot better.”

In the first six months of my time there, I read about 150 plays.

Dr. Sumedh then requested Rasika to speak a bit about her theatre group ‘Being Association’. Rasika was quite excited to talk about it. “I was getting to do a lot of different characters at the time when I started acting, but I still felt that somewhere I wasn’t getting to say what I wanted to say.  Theatre always tells you when you need to say something. I realised that forming theatre group would form my opinions and perception of the world.”

Being Association’s first play was Museum of Species. Dr Sumedh asked Rasika what propelled her to produce that? Rasika said, “Around the same time when I was establishing a separate theatre group, Nirbhaya rape incident took place in Delhi. That enraged me. At that time and even till date, violence, harassment and acts of atrocities against women in India were happening. I needed to use my skills to send out a strong message and play my part in putting an end to violence against women.”

She continued telling the audience that she gathered a bunch of her female friends who are involved in various art forms. “I had identified a couple of older texts along with the story of Draupadi, and wanted to create something around monologues from these characters. It started with a conversation about how we had all had heard of crimes against women around us. The conversation then steered to self-experiences. It was intense. You (Dr Sumedh) used to come to observe and help us write the play, and have been experiencing women’s anger and rage while recounting those incidents. But we got past that quickly and the play started taking shape. It eventually became a collection of 12 monologues starting from Draupadi to a regular woman from today’s times and their struggles. ”

Rasika also spoke about using theatre as a medium for societal change. She believes that as a responsible citizen and as someone who has been gifted a skill, she needs to continuously assess what’s wrong in the society and start conversations around it. She also added that from centuries theatre has been a medium to protest, make people aware, and discuss the social issues. “That is why we at Being Association have decided that we will use other sources of income, but the theatre group will strictly remain together to speak up against the wrong,” Rasika concluded.

We will upload the uncut video of Rasika Agashe’s interview here!

All the Conversations@theDSM are recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel, The Drama School Mumbai. Watch the older Conversations@theDSM here: http://bit.ly/2AOE8P4  

Conversations@theDSM: Irawati Karnik and Manaswini LR

In December, Conversations@theDSM will bring together two thespians and young theatre artists, Irawati Karnik and Manaswini LR. Both of them will be speaking with each other and the audience, so for this episode of conversation, get ready to expect twice the stories, insights, and experiences.

About Irawati Karnik

Irawati Karnik
Irawati Karnik

Irawati Karnik is a young theatre artist who has worked as an actor, director and playwright. Her first brush with professional theatre occurred when accomplished Marathi theatre director and playwright, Chetan Datar asked her to be a part of ‘Aawishkar’. Since then, there has been no looking back for Irawati. She considers herself lucky to have done a whole lot of theatre in such a short span of time.

She has acted in eight plays, directed five plays and has written four plays so far. She has also served as an assistant director to Chetan Datar as well as to theatre veteran, Satyadev Dubey. Her latest stint is as an actor-director with Vijay Tendulkar’s one-act play ‘Goshta’. ‘Khel Mandiyela’, her Marathi adaptation of a Polish play has won her recognition and an award.


About Manaswini LR

By IndiaToday
Manaswini Lata Ravindra

Manaswini Lata Ravindra is a young theatre artist who has co-founded a theatre group, Lalit Mumbai. She was also invited recently to Royal Court of Theatre London for a playwright workshop. For many years Manaswini’s mother was involved with the ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ and her father has worked in the area of prevention of female foeticide. This has influenced Manaswini deeply and she has been able to interact with many intellectuals since childhood.

Cigarettes, her first full-length play happened after she moved to Mumbai. Currently Manaswini is working on a new play which is tentatively titled Until or Unless.

Date and time: 9th December 2017, 5 PM

Venue: 5th Floor, The Drama School Mumbai, Girgaon, Mumbai – 400 004

Entry: Free

The Festive Spirit: An interview with Prasad Vanarase

Interviewed and written by Arwa Janjali


Vidyanidhee Vanarase (Prasad) has been a recognised name in the theatre circuit in Pune. After playing different roles such as a teacher, director, arts and cultural manager… he has an exciting addition to his theatre profile – Founder Director of the International Association for Performing Arts and Research (IAPAR).

IAPAR is the first-of-its-kind initiative in Pune city to bring together theatre practitioners and arts educators from across the globe. Its annual IAPAR International Theatre Festival has become the most looked forward to event ever since its launch last year.

In conversation with Prasad on IAPAR’s theatre extravaganza and the blooming trend of festivals in the country.

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Mohit Takalkar is a medium between the writer, the text and the actor

Written by Gaurangi Dang


If we cannot handle the economics of theatre then what remains of it is a hobby, albeit a very expensive one. So maybe we don’t need theatre anymore and maybe somewhere we are all responsible for its slow death.

Mohit Takalkar has an ability that very few people seem to have- he can move people, to an extent that may even infuriate them. It’s hard to tell when and where it began, but one can see its trace present in his work. There is a little bit of him in each of them, his moods, his life, his loneliness, his growth and somewhere his genius in being able to channel it all through fragments and texts. If you were to ask Mohit, he’d probably describe himself as a medium between the writer, the text and the actor, not denying his presence but somewhere not acknowledging it enough. If you spend enough time with him, then you could probably see how his art consumes him.

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Public Spaces in India: How performance and art can revitalize them

by Zohra Malik

One of the most distinctive ways that we choose to talk about cities is usually with reference to how how they warp time, how fast or slow they seem to move. It’s not just our imagination, fortunately, because studies show that the reason why cities warp time differently is because of the pace of social life. The pace at which people move around in their city, their rhythm, interaction all of these make up the pace of social life which is how we identify with our city and negotiate with our space. In this context, the central hubs that facilitate this construction of how cities move and breathe generally turn out to be public spaces.

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The Guru-Shishya Parampara with Sunil Shanbag and Sapan Saran

Written by Gaurangi Dang

The fourth instalment of Conversations@theDSM saw theatre thespian Sunil Shanbag, and writer, poet, actress Sapan Saran talk about their initiative Tamaasha Theatre, Sunil Shanbag’s plays, the changing trends in theatre, and the relevance of theatre in today’s world.
Continuing with the Guru-Shishya tradition, Sapan who has grown under the mentorship of Sunil Shanbag interviewed the latter on 8 July at the Purandare Hall in Sahitya Sangh.

I first met Sunil Sir two years ago, in class at The Drama School, Mumbai. He called me his problem child. Since then, not much has changed. I get flabbergasted and tongue-tied around him every time I meet him, and he being the kind man that he is, tries to deal with me as patiently as possible. In all this time I have accumulated a whole list of questions that I want to ask him. That situation was remedied to a great extent on Saturday, 8 July, when Sapan Saran sat down with Sunil sir at the Drama School, Mumbai for an illuminating discussion.

Sapan and Sunil sir have been collaborating over the last few years. Their first project together was the play Club Desire and in 2015, they co-founded the Tamaasha Theatre. In some ways one could say, that Sunil sir is a mentor to Sapan, like Satyadev Dubey was to him.

Let’s rewind a little bit.

The year was 1966. India had already seen three Prime Ministers in January itself, and a young eight-year-old Sunil Shanbag was boarding train by himself to go to Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh. Then one day in class, his teacher mentioned that he’d be directing a play and asked them if anyone of them would like to be in it. This information came as a revelation to a kid trying to blend in. Despite not knowing anything about theatre, Sunil Shanbag’s hand immediately shot up into the air. On show-day there was an accident where the curtain rose while he was taking still his place on stage. It was awkward and they had re-do the bit, but from there on everyone in school knew who he was. “After that I was in every play that my drama teacher directed.”

After school, he returned to Mumbai and began to do theatre in the city. Dina Pathak, whom he had worked with back in school, got him in touch with Satyadev Dubey. “I kept thinking if only I had joined him five years earlier. Dubey had directed Andha Yug. The critics say that was when Dubey was at his peak.” Later, while answering a question from the audience mentioned every play and every period is important. Having said that Shanbag Shanbag was blessed to join Dubey at a time, when he was regrouping. His core group of actors had moved away and begun to do their own work and he was looking for new talent to work with. Before he knew it, Shanbag became an integral part of Dubey’s Theatre Unit, so much so that his parents felt like they had given their son to him. He went from (doing odd jobs, to) acting in his plays, to assisting him till eventually he was allowed to conduct rehearsals by himself. Dubey was an eccentric man. When you worked with him, “his friends became your friends and his enemies your enemies.” Other than noted theatre stalwarts in the city, the NSD was out of bounds for Shanbag because Dubey hated the NSD. And so, Shanbag was stumped when Dubey went on to direct plays there!

Each theatre group back in the day had it’s own core crew, and you were expected to work with only your group. While Shanbag understood that, he also wanted to be able to sit in on other people’s rehearsal and process. He soon realized that while the theatre circuit was filled with great actors, they had very little technical knowledge. So he began designing and operating lights for other groups. This allowed him to move around freely without being constantly chided by Dubey. Eventually, he was thrown out by Dubey and asked to run his own company. In 1985, he set up the theatre company Arpana.

Almost everybody that did theatre back then, also kept a day job. Most people worked in banks, for a banks had reservation for the arts and had fixed timings, so post five you were free to do whatever you wanted. Shanbag on the other had assisted Shyam Benegal and worked as a documentary filmmaker on projects such as Yatra, Surabhi and Bharat Ek Khoj. This was before the privatisation of television. In 1994 he won the National Award for his documentary film Maihar Raag, on the Maihar Gharaana in Madhya Pradesh.

Whether it’s Maihar Raag or Cotton 56, Polyester 84, there is a specific social objective. He says that it has something to do with where he comes from and why he is an artist. You have to know as to “why do you want to do this play?”

There is a lot more, so watch the video, and be there for the next talk with Mohit Takalkar and Alok Rajwade on the 19th August, at The Drama School Mumbai, at 5 pm.


Conversations@theDSM: Mohit Takalkar and Aalok Rajwade


The August instalment of Conversations@theDSM will be the fifth. So we thought we will step up and do something interesting to mark the occasion. So we got  internationally renowned playwright and director Mohit Takalkar, who will be interviewed by his colleague and friend, a young director and actor, Aalok Rajwade.

Mohit has had an immense experience internationally as well. Not only have Mohit’s productions have gone abroad, but he has also worked on the directorial aspect of international productions with the likes of the legendary Tim Supple. Aalok, on the other hand, has been making heads turn with his out of the box, socially aware Marathi plays. Be it experimenting with format, presentation or content, Aalok has all the feathers in his cap.

Both these Punekars will grace the DSM with their presence on the 19th August, with the talk starting at 5 pm.


About Mohit Takalkar

Mohit had his first exposure to theatre at Progressive Dramatic Association (PDA) before setting up his own theatre group Aasakta in Pune in 2003. He has been active in various aspects of theatre for the past eighteen years earning a reputation for the group and him, with his works; widely acclaimed by both the audience and the critics. His plays have toured the length and breadth of India and have also been invited to National and International festivals.

Since his first play, Girish Karnad’s Yayati in 1999, Mohit has directed other notable plays which include ‘Mein Huun Yusuf Aur Ye Hai Mera Bhai’, ‘Uney Purey Shahar Ek’, ‘Gajab Kahani’, ‘Garbo’, ‘Kashmir Kashmir’, and ‘Chotyashya Suttit’. He has directed plays in Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, English, Rajasthani and Kannada.

He was invited at the Lincoln Centre in New York to participate in The Directors Lab and at the Performing Arts meet in Yokohama, Japan. He assisted celebrated director Tim Supple in his version of Midsummer Night’s dream performed all over the World.

He has been awarded the prestigious Homi Bhabha Fellowship, Bismillah Khan Sangeet Natak Award, META, Aditya Vikram Birla Kalakiran Puraskar, Sahitya Rangbhoomi Fellowship, Zee Gaurav Puraskar, Maharashtra State Award etc.


About Aalok Rajwade

Aalok Rajwade has played an active and contributive part in the Marathi experimental theatre scenario for the past nine years as an actor as well as a director.

With critically acclaimed plays like ‘Geli 21 Varsha’, ‘Mi…Ghalib’, ‘Natak Nako’ ,’Sivacharitra ahi Ek’, ‘Tichee 17 prakarane’  and ‘Binkamache Samwad’ as his directorial ventures,  he is considered to be an upcoming director with an eye for the aesthetics and a vision to go beyond the obvious. As an actor, he has performed vivid roles in the plays ‘Bed ke neeche renewali’, ‘Dalan’, ‘Ashadhatil ek diwas’ and many more.

In the past, he has got the opportunity to showcase his skills at  prestigious theatre festivals such as ‘META’, ‘Jashn E Bachpan’ and ‘Bharat Ranga Mahotsav’ at ‘NSD’, ‘Summertime Festival’ at Prithvi, ‘Thespo International’ as well as in ‘Universo Theatro Festival’ and ‘Rosobastardo festival’, Italy.

He is a proud holder of the Vinod Doshi Fellowship, Damu Kenkre Puraskar, Nargis Datta puraskar AND Lakshmikant Berde puraskar which has only helped him work on his skills even more.


About Conversations@theDSM

Conversations are a tradition in theatre. And so, the DSM brings an entire series of discussions, talks and conversations, curated for the first weekend of every month. Our purpose in these conversations is twofold. First, we celebrate the bond between guru-shishya. Teachers in school, professors in college, coaches at the gym and directors in the rehearsal hall – all mentors have taught you something through conversations. That something makes you the person you are today.

The second purpose in these conversations is to celebrate Rekha Sabnis.

Rekha Sabnis was a one-woman theatre army. She ran theatre group Abhivyakti from her house. She took care of sets, costumes, bookings, transport, tickets as well as acting and directing. Abhivyakti starting performing at the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh, the same building that houses the DSM today. Rekha Sabnis was a key force behind the DSM-Sahitya Sangh partnership. And this partnership makes our work forging a new generation of theatre-makers, possible.

Rekha passed away in September last year, studying elements of the Natya Shastra till the very last.

Conversations@theDSM started in April. It is our small way of paying tribute to a great spirit who made theatre a little bit better for us all. These conversations form part of an ongoing series of talks between theatre-makers young and old. The entire series has been curated by Yugandhar Deshpande and Anuja Kale of Theatre Across.