Published On : Sat, Sep 1st, 2012

Marathi Samrat

Mahesh Elkunchwar (born October 9, 1939) is an Indian playwright with more than 15 plays to his name, in addition to his theoretical writings, critical works, and his active work in India’s Parallel Cinema as actor and screenwriter. Today, along with Satish Alekar and Vijay Tendulkar he is one of the most influential and progressive playwrights not just in modern Marathi theatre, but also larger modern Indian theatre.

He taught English literature at Dharampeth Arts, Commerce College, Nagpur and M. P. Deo Memorial Science College, Nagpur, until retiring as its Head in 1999.


Elkunchwar has experimented with many forms of dramatic expression, ranging from the realistic to symbolic, expressionist to absurd theatre with theme ranging from creativity, life, sterility to death and has influenced modern Indian theatre for more than three decades . Elkunchwar emerged onto the national theatre scene with the publication of his one-act play Sultan in 1967 in noted literary magazine Satyakatha. This play was immediately noticed by Vijaya Mehta, she went on to direct four of his early play, including Holi and Sultan by in 1969 and 1970 for Rangayan. A number of commercial hits followed such as Holi (1969), Raktapushpa (1971), Party (1972), Virasat (1982), and Atamkatha (1987).

Considered a successor to Vijay Tendulkar, Elkunchwar’s plays are written in Marathi, the Indian language that is spoken by approximately ninety million people. The plays have been subsequently translated into multiple Indian and Western languages (including English, French and German).

In 1984, his play, Holi was made into a film, Holi by Ketan Mehta, for which he wrote the screenplay, and in the same year, Govind Nihalani, directed a film, Party, based on his eponymous play.

Plays by Mahesh Elkunchwar

  • Rudravarsha (The Savage Year), 1966
  • Sultan (one act), 1967
  • Zumbar (one act), 1967
  • Eka Mhatarachya Khoon (An Old Man’s Murder, one act), 1968
  • Kaifiyat (one act), 1967
  • Ek Osad Gaon (one act), 1969
  • Yatanaghar (The Chamber of Anguish), 1970
  • Garbo, 1970
  • Vasanakand (The Episode of Lust), 1972
  • Party, 1976
  • Wada Chirebandi (Old Stone Mansion), 1985
  • Pratibimb (Reflection), 1987
  • Atmakatha (Autobiography), 1988
  • Magna Talyakathi (The Pond), 1991
  • Yuganta (The End of an Age)
  • Wasanani Jeernani (Tattered Clothes), 1995
  • Dharmaputra (Godson), 1998
  • Sonata, 2000
  • Eka Natacha Mrityu (An Actor’s Death), 2005
  • Raktapushp
    and the list goes on.

A legend that lives on.

By Marcelo Azavedo.