MUMBAI: Veteran theatre and film actor Sulabha Deshpande, who had acted in numerous Marathi and Hindi films, died at her Mumbai residence on Saturday after a prolonged illness, family sources said.
She was 79. Apart from acting in the plays written by acclaimed playwrights such as Vijay Tendulkar, Deshpande featured in several Marathi and Hindi films and TV serials.
She was a recipient of the 1987 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindi-Marathi theatre acting.
In Hindi, the noteworthy films in which she appeared included ‘Bhumika’ (1977), ‘Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan’ (1978) and ‘Gaman’ (1978).
In recent years, she had appeared in Gauri Shindedirected ‘English-Vinglish’.
She was associated with ‘ Rang ayan’, a pioneering Marathi experimental theatre group, alongwith Tendulkar, Vijaya Mehta, and Satyadev Dubey. In 1971, she co-founded the theatre group ‘ Awishkar’ with her husband Arvind Deshpande (who died in 1987).
She started her life as a teacher in Chhabildas High School, Dadar.
Condoling Deshpande’s death, senior actor Neena Kulkarni said, “Sulbha tai has done a lot for Marathi theatre from having her own company in Marathi theatre to children’s theatre concept. She was an inspiration for everyone in the theatre fraternity. She had worked with the best from Badal Sarkar to Vijay Tendulkar to Satyadev Dubey. She was a gentle lady and always paid for her theatre tickets as she felt theatre required money so we shouldn’t ask for free passes. We all followed suit.”