(Last Updated on : 17/05/2012)
Damu Kenkre was born in 1928. He was born in Margao
, Indian Union Territory
. Damu Kenkre's original name was Damodar Kashinath. He studied as a commercial artist and spearheaded the transition of Marathi theatre
fro m the traditional to the modern. In the early 1950s, he was joined by Vijaya Mehta
, Vijay Tendulkar
, and Arvind Yeshwant Deshpande
. Influenced by Parshwanath Altekar, he started his theatre career in the 1940s as an actor and director at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's intercollegiate one-act competitions. He made his mark there by modernizing stagnant techniques and providing the first insight into the use of costumes, lights, music, and sets as a consolidated unity in the creation of a production. He toured East Germany in 1955 and trained in the United Kingdom for a year.
Life in Theatre for Damu Kenkre
On his return, he directed and played the lead in a new free-verse adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet in 1956. He acted in P. L. Deshpande's Tujheahetujapashi i.e. "To Each His Own" in 1957 and Sundar mi honour i.e. "I Shall Be Beautiful" in 1958 for the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh. He also directed and acted in numerous productions for them on an amateur basis before embarking upon a professional directorial career. Damu Kenkre was experimented with genre, form, and design and this was his hallmark. He felt equally at home with the classical Hamlet, Tendulkar's naturalistic Manns navache bet i.e. 'An Island Called Man' in 1956, Ashok Paranjape's folk Atun kirtan varun tamasha i.e. Kirtan Inside, Tamasha Outside' in 1957, S. N. Pendse's problem play Asajhala ani ujadla i.e. "And Then It Became Day" in 1969, Ratnakar Matkari's comedy Birhad bajla i.e. "Bag and Baggage" in 1972, or Vasant Kanetkar's melodrama Akhercha sawal i.e. 'Last Question' in 1974, etc. and many more.
Kenkre worked as a professor at the prestigious Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai, and as Dean of the School of Art, Aurangabad
. He also served as Director of Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra
, and Chief of the Kala Academy, Goa, which he founded. He directed for the Goa Hindu Association and is President of Antarnatya, an experimental theatre group as well.