Another honour for Elkunchwar

Another honour for Elkunchwar

The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards META and Festival 2019 has announced that the META 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award will be conferred on one...

The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival 2019 has announced that the META 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award will be conferred on one of India’s most progressive playwrights, Mahesh Elkunchwar. He is critically-acclaimed and widely-known for having experimented with a wide range of drama and is a powerful force in both Indian and Marathi theatre for over three decades.

The jury for the 14th edition of the Awards was also announced and comprises renowned theatre artist, actor and screenwriter Akash Khurana, founder and former Executive Director of India Foundation for the Arts Anmol Vellani, popular Indian actress, singer and TV personality Ila Arun, eminent Indian actor, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Managing trustee of Nrityagram and one of India’s first professional female lighting designers Lynne Fernandez, former editor of The Hindu and curator of the annual thought conclave ‘The Huddle’ Mukund Padmanabhan, internationally-renowned dance historian, scholar, author and critic Sunil Kothari, and former Director of Yatrik, the oldest theatre group in the capital, and presently Director of the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, Sunit Tandon.

The announcements come ahead of the week-long Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival to be held from March 6 to 12 at New Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium and Shri Ram Centre, where META 2019’s shortlisted plays will be performed for an esteemed panel of jury members, as well as theatre-lovers in the capital.

Breaking previous records, over 400 entries were received this year at META, which were viewed by an eminent Selection Committee, comprising well-known theatre practitioners. This year’s final nominations feature plays in Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, along with Hindi and English language scripts. The shortlisted plays, this year, will explore several themes.

Hailing from Maharashtra’s Vidharba region, Mahesh Elkunchwar has been a towering presence in contemporary Indian theatre for more than three decades. He began writing plays in the 1960s, encompassed a substantial body of work which includes screenplays, critical and theoretical writing, and he became an integral part of the Parallel Cinema Movement. Mahesh has been at the forefront of the progressive movement led by ‘Rangayan’, which has included stalwarts such as Vijaya Mehta, Arvind and Sulabha Deshpande, playwright Vijay Tendulkar, and actor Shreeram Lagoo. His play, Wada Chirebandi, has been staged in Marathi, Hindi and Bengali, and has even been filmed for television. His other famous works are Sultan, Holi, Garbo, Yatanaghar and Atmakatha. Several of his plays have been translated and performed in English and Hindi as well.

He is a recipient of the Homi Bhabha Fellowship (1976-78), the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for playwriting (1989), the Sahitya Akademi Award (2002), the Saraswati Samman (2003), the Brittingham Fellowship of the University of Wisconsin, U.S.A. (2005), and the Janasthan Puraskar (2011).

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