Well-known Marathi theatre actor and producer, Mohan Wagh, father-in-law of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief, Raj Thackeray, passed away on Thursday following a brief illness.
Eighty-year old Wagh, whose theatre group Chandralekha was among the most popular Marathi theatre groups, died at Thackeray’s Shivaji Park residence, Krishna Kunj, at 2.30 pm.
Family members said Wagh was ailing for a week and had developed some complications in his ear.
Actor Dilip Prabhavalkar, who has worked with Wagh, told Hindustan Times that Wagh was a strict disciplinarian. “He introduced many new faces to Marathi theatre and was very strict on the sets. But he was a jolly person,” Prabhavalkar said.
Bharat Jadhav, leading Marathi actor was introduced by Wagh in the popular play, All the Best. “I left the play after differences with him, but we bonded again after some time. He had invited me for the 5,000th show,” Jadhav said.
Wagh’s plays served as the launchpad for several theatre personalities such as Ashalata Wabgaonkar and Madhukar Toradmal.
Among his famous plays are Garudjhep, Deepastambh, Premachya Gava Jave, Premgandh, Ek Ticket Cinemach. His plays were known for elaborate sets. Wagh recreated Pune’s Shaniwarwada in the play Swami and the battlefield of Panipat in Ranangan.
Wagh, a native of Karwar in Karnataka, came to Mumbai to pursue his studies. He joined a newspaper as a photographer. He enjoyed a special rapport with Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, and has clicked several pictures of the leader.
Maharashtra’s Governor, K. Sankaranarayanan, issued a statement expressing grief over Wagh’s demise. Sankaranarayanan described Wagh’s death as “a setback to the theatre movement”.
Wagh leaves behind his wife and two daughters.