(Last Updated on : 25-07-2009)
Jashwant Thaker was a prominent Gujarati director and also an actor. He was also an activist. Born in the small village of Mehlav in Kaira district in 1915, he participated in the nationalist movement and underground groups from the age of 16. He has also written an anticolonial novel banned by the British. After a brief stay at the Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, he was drawn to acting and fully committed himself in 1943 to the establishment of the Gujarat branch of the Indian People's Theatre Association
Jashwant Thaker produced innovative plays, much against the liking of the political decision-makers. His most important contribution was in theatre education. He headed drama departments at M. S. University in Vadodara in Gujarat University and Natya Vidya Mandir in Ahmadabad. He acted many roles particularly Sanskrit and Shakespearean and also directed innumerable plays both classical and modern including Gujarati originals like Rasiklal Parikh's Sharvilak, and C. C. Mehta's Narmad and Dhara Gurjari. Thaker wrote books on production techniques, edited a theatre magazine and scripted teleplays. A rich resonant voice and supple body characterized his best performances, as Shah Jahan, Hamlet, Chanakya, and Shivaji. His dream of meaningful theatre made him one of the most important personalities in modern Gujarati theatre
, along with Mehta and Jaishankar Sundari
. Jashwant Thaker died in 1990.
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