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Dear friend gone, says Sena chief

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray recalls playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s contributions in glowing terms in the party mouthpiece Saamna a day after the influential playwright’s death, reports Zeeshan Shaikh.

india Updated: May 21, 2008 01:44 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray recalled playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s contributions in glowing terms in the party mouthpiece on Tuesday, a day after the influential but controversial playwright’s death.

He called him a close friend, though the two had stood on opposite sides of the ideological fence. Tendulkar was a vocal critic of the policies of the Shiv Sena.

“Vijay was a dear friend. I was overcome by a flood of old memories when I heard about his death,” Thackeray said in Saamna.

Tendulkar died on Monday at a private hospital in Pune. At 80, he was a little younger than Thackeray. Though he gained acclaim as a playwright, Tendulkar had also been a journalist and done the screenplay for several pathbreaking films by experimental directors.

Thackeray recalled his early association with Tendulkar, saying he had taken an interest in Marmik, the magazine launched by the Shiv Sena chief in 1960.

“Many of the titles and headings of articles published in the magazine were given by Tendulkar himself,” he said.

Thackeray also said that they had fallen out and failed to keep in touch after the Ghashiram Kotwal controversy. The Shiv Sena had strongly opposed the play, which not only showed the Peshwas in a bad light but was also seen as an allegory to the tactics in use by the Shiv Sena to get hold of power.

“Everything was fine between us till the Ghashiram Kotwal incident. After that our relationship was never the same again and we lost touch,” Thackeray said.

Tendulkar had also staged a protest against the Shiv Sena after its workers attacked the premises of Marathi eveninger Mahanagar a few years ago because it had criticised Thackeray.