Renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal describes his 49-year-long association with late Satyadev Dubey as a "stormy friendship". He says they worked together on six films but after Mandi the theatre veteran refused to work with him, though it didn't affect their personal equation.
"We were very close friends right up to his death on Sunday. In fact, I rushed back from Delhi where I was attending parliament, for his funeral," said Benegal.
"I came to Mumbai in 1959. We were friends from 1962 till his death. We shared a very informal relationship. We could tell each other anything without fear of offending one another. You could call our friendship stormy. I valued his comments. He, I presume, valued mine.
"We worked on six films together, from my earliest Ankur to Mandi in 1982. He wrote the dialogues for these films and collaborated on the scripts. My threesome of writers were Girish Karnad, Vijay Tendulkar and Satyadev Dubey. That's how it remained until after Mandi Dubey told me he didn't want to work with me. I said, Lump it. And we never worked together again. But this did not affect our personal equation at all," he added.
Benegal says that every time Dubey wrote a play, "He spoke to me about it. What Dubey did for Hindi theatre was pioneering. Before him only Prithviraj Kapoor had done so much for Hindi theatre".
"Dubey's was an uphill task. He took theatre out of its English-speaking elitist space and made it accessible and affordable for a Hindi-speaking audience. His plays were minimalistic and depended almost entirely on the actors for effect. Which reminds me, a lot of the acting talent that came into my cinema was recommended by Dubey."