(Last Updated on : 02/08/2014)
Ram Ganesh Gadkari was the first in Marathi theatre to grapple with the model of the Shakespearean tragic form. Born in 1885 in Navsari, Valsad district i.e. south Gujarat, he lost his father at a young age. He was not from a wealthy family. He studied at various places including Pune up to his first year of college. Ram Ganesh Gadkari was a voracious reader of Sanskrit, Marathi, and English literature. He began his literary career by writing a play called Mitraprit i.e. 'Friendship' in 1902. In 1906, he joined the Kirloskar Natak Mandali as a tutor for the children of actors and an usher during shows. He left the job to go to Balapur in Akola district as a teacher but in 1910 again established relations with Kirloskar, as a lyricist. Here he came in contact with S. K. Kolhatkar, whose use of social concern and fantasy in drama inspired him.
His four plays comprise the social melodrama Premsanyas i.e. 'Love Renounced' in 1912, the fantasy Punyaprabhav i.e. 'Force of Virtue' in 1916, the tragedy on alcoholism, Ekach pyala i.e. 'Just One Glass' written in 1917, and the delightful comedy with tragic overtones, Bhavbandhan i.e. 'Bond of Affection', finished just half an hour before his untimely death. Only the first two were staged in his lifetime. The historical Rajsanyas 'Kingdom Renounced' remained incomplete. Gadkari's plays contain complicated but well-organized plots woven around social themes and became immensely popular because of their intense and strong characters, orchestrated dramatic conflict, humour. Above all, all of them were highly stylized and evocative poetic language, which exerted considerable influence on several generations of dramatists, actors, and theatregoers. He also produced humorous writing under the pen name Balakram, poetry as Govindagraj, and theatre reviews as well.
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