Maverick, mentor, maestro: Theatre legend Satyadev Dubey passes away | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Maverick, mentor, maestro: Theatre legend Satyadev Dubey passes away

He came to Mumbai to become a cricketer, but the lights and drama associated with post-independence theatre in the city inspired a young Satyadev Dubey to chase a new dream.

mumbai Updated: Dec 26, 2011 01:24 IST
HT Correspondent

He came to Mumbai to become a cricketer, but the lights and drama associated with post-independence theatre in the city inspired a young Satyadev Dubey to chase a new dream.

Dubey, a veteran theatre personality, renowned director, actor and playwright, passed away on Sunday morning in a hospital in Irla after suffering a prolonged illness. He was 75. In September, the veteran playwright suffered a seizure at Prithvi Theatre Café in Juhu and had been in a coma since then.

“All the members from Prithvi took turns to be by his side in the hospital. He had too many friends and students, who wanted to serve their mentor till his very end,” said Sunil Shanbag, theatre director and producer, whose association with Dubey dates to the 1970s. “He always maintained his friends were his real family.”

Dubbed as a nomad, a maverick and a legend by his colleagues from Indian theatre, Dubey was born in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh in 1936 and came to the city as a college student.

His contributions to both Marathi and Hindi theatre are immense. “Despite being a vagabond, he was emotionally anchored in Indian theatre,” said director Mahesh Bhatt, who was closely associated with Dubey for more than three decades.

“He came from the Hindi heartland, but had set his gaze on the national and international theatre circuit from the very beginning. He was a man who really walked his talk and led a very audacious life,” he added.

One of Dubey’s most well known works was Dharamvir Bharati’s play Andha Yug, which he directed. The other famous works of the Padma Bhushan awardee include “Pagla Ghoda”, “Adhey Ahdure” and “Evam Indrajit.”

In his career spanning over decades, Dubey worked with all prominent playwrights of the post independence period. He produced and directed plays including Girish Karnad’s ‘Yayati Hayavadana’, Badal Sarkar’s ‘Evam Indrajit Pagla Ghoda’ and Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe’. He also penned scripts and dialogues for several films including Shyam Benegal’s Nishant, Ankur, Kalyug and Bhumika.

“His biggest achievement was the discovery of Dharamvir Bharati’s play, ‘Andha Yug’, which he directed,” said Shanbag.

“Before Dubey stepped into theatre, the actors spoke lines in a tone that was loud and dramatic. He ensured that they spoke lines in a realistic tone,” said Lalit Sathe, manager, Prithvi Theatre. “His workshops at Prithvi were very popular. He was a perfectionist, but budding actors did not mind going through grueling practice sessions,” he added.