(Last Updated on : 22-07-2009)
'Nanasaheb' Gopal Govind Phatak was a great actor in Marathi theatre
. He left an indelible impression with his sonorous voice and powerful dialogue interpretation. Born in 1899 he first performed in Yashwant Tipnis's Matsyagandha in 1919 as the old king Shantanu. He worked for the Lalitkaladarsha Natak Mandali from 1921 to 1936, a period which saw him gaining tremendous popularity in plays such as Wamanrao Joshi's Rakshasi mahatwakanksha i.e. 'Demonic Ambition' in 1914, and Warerkar's Sanyashyacha sansar i.e. 'Sanyasi's Life' in 1919 and Sonyacha kalas i.e. 'Golden Spire' in 1932. His excellent Hamlet in 1936 and Sudhakar the drunkard in Gadkari's Ekachpyala in 1945 set standards for others to emulate.
Gopal Govind Phatak played Sudhakar for over fifteen years. His wide range covered all types of drama, historical to mythological and social to Shakespearean. V. V. Shirwadkar suggests that Phatak asked him to write a play to suit old-school actors, and he adapted Shakespeare's King Lear into Natasamrat i.e. 'The Actor-Emperor' in 1970 with Phatak in mind, but unfortunately he could not act in it. His major screen credits include the silent movie Bajirao-Mastani i.e. 'Bajirao and Mastani' in 1925, the evil Kamsa in Akashvani i.e. 'Voice from the Sky' in 1934, the hero Mansingh in Rajput ramani i.e. 'Rajput Lady' in 1936, the rival poet in Pratibha in 1937, and Shivaji in Thoratanchi Kamala i.e. 'Kamala Thorat' in 1941. Gopal Govind Phatak died in 1974.
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