(Last Updated on : 29-01-2009)
Ram Partabrai Panjwani was a dramatist, and fictionist regarded as a crusader of Gujarati culture. Some of his plays are based on Sindhi folk romances, very effectively treated in capsule format. Seven are collected in Sindhja sata natak or 'Seven Plays of Sindh' in 1952. Ram Partabrai Panjwani's first, Mumal-Rano i.e. 'Mumal and Rano' based on the folk story. This was staged in aid of poor students by D. J. Sindh College, Karachi, in 1941. This popular Gujarat theatre personality directed his next play, Pakhe mein Padmini or 'Padmini in a Hut', derived from the folk tale of Umar and Marui, for Sindhi Circle, Karachi, in 1943. The Circle produced all seven plays, directed by Ram Partabrai Panjwani, the well-known Gujarati theatre personality during the year's 1941- 6 and 1952-7.
Moving to Bombay after Independence, Ram Partabrai Panjwani used the compound of Jai Hind College for theatre in 1949. Subsequently the college performed many of his works. He wrote more than twenty plays. All were staged either under his direction or that of his disciple, Arjan Mirchandani, in Bombay and elsewhere after 1950. Apart from those based on folklore; they also deal with social themes. The names can be mentioned as Ayo naon zamano or 'The New Age' in 1978 brings into its ambit the modern generation gap. Panjwani scripted the Sindhi film Rat Dyach in 1958. This is based on the familiar folk tale. This Gujarati theatre personality was also a great Bhagati artist, performing this folk dance-drama at almost all places in India where Sindhis had settled in sizeable numbers. This boosted Sindhi theatre in India before Gobind Malhi entered the scene.