(Last Updated on : 06-08-2014)
Chintamanrao Ganesh Kolhatkar was a very prominent actor as well as producer of Marathi theatre. He joined the Maharashtra Natak Mandali in 1911, but after a year left for another troupe named as Shri Bharat Natak Mandali. His career took a major turn when he entered the Kirloskar Natak Mandali in 1914. He helped establish the Balwant Sangit Natak Mandali with Dinanath Mangeshkar in 1918. Chintamanrao Ganesh Kolhatkar's greatest performances came in R. G. Gadkari-s plays, in Punyaprabhav i.e. Force of Virtue' in 1916, Rajsanyas i.e. 'Kingdom Renounced' in 1922, and especially as the villain Ghanashyam in Bhavbandlmn i.e. 'Bond of Affection' in 1919. He tried the movie industry in 1933 when Sangitnatak began to decline and acted in two films, notably as the tyrant Shakara in Vasantsena in 1942. This was based on Sudraka, but failed in this medium and returned to theatre. He joined Gangadharpant Londhe's Rajaram Sangit Mandali, worked with M. G. Rangnekar's Natyaniketan, and established his own company, Lalit Kala Kunj. This one gave P. L. Deshpande a break. Kolhatkar was a non-singing actor, who took roles in Hindi and Urdu as well.
The Police Commissioner of Bombay felicitated him for his acting in Punyaprabhav. Jawaharlal Nehru once called him Bahurupi i.e. 'many-formed'. This was a term applied to one-man folk performances, which Kolhatkar used as the title for his autobiography. He also wrote character sketches of several playwrights titled Majhe natakkar i.e. 'My Dramatists', and a five-act play, Purnavatar i.e. 'Complete Avatar' in 1924. This was staged in 1996 by the group Antarnatya in Mumbai.
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