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Veteran theatre actor dies after prolonged illness

mumbai Updated: Jan 14, 2011 01:19 IST
Satyajit Joshi
Satyajit Joshi
Hindustan Times
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Veteran theatre actor Prabhakar Panshikar, died late on Thursday evening at a private hospital following prolonged illness. He was 80. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Panshikar was admitted to a private hospital in Pune last week in a critical condition.

He was put on a ventilator for the last few days and doctors were planning to perform a angioplasty. However, he passed away at 9.15 pm on Thursday.

Panshikar’s association with Marathi theatre lasted for more than five decades, and he performed in more than 8,000 shows. Apart from Marathi theater, he also acted in Kannada and Gujrathi plays.

Panshikar’s theatre company, Natyasampada, produced more than 40 plays, most of which became household names in Maharashtrian families in the sixties.

However, Panshikar, is still remembered for his role — Lakhoba Lokhande – in `To Mee Navech’ a famous play written by Acharya Atre.

Panshikar played five different roles in ‘To Mee Navech’ and the play was staged for more than four decades, creating history in Marathi theatre. Panshikar is also credited for creating the world’s first portable revolving stage, which was used in ‘To Mee Navech’.

Born in Fanaswadi in March 1931, in a traditional Brahmin family, Panshikar began his career with veteran Marathi writer MG Rangnekar’s Natyaniketan but later formed a separate company — Natyasampada — along with Mohan Wagh.

Natyasampada’s first production `Asrunchi Zali Fule’, written by Vasant Kanetkar, was a huge success in 1963.

Natyasampada produced several hits like `Garambicha Bapu’, Veej Mhanali Dhartila’, `Vikat Ghetala Nyaya’, `Andhar Maza Sobati’, `Thank You Mr Glad’ amongst others.

His musical plays, ‘Katya Kaljat Ghusli’, ‘Madnachi Manjiri’, ‘Suvarnatula’ and ‘Honaji Bala’ rejuvenated musicals in Marathi theatre.

Panshikar was honoured with several awards and was known for his outspokenness. He was president of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Sammelan.