(Last Updated on : 25-07-2009)
In earlier days Morbi Arya Subodh Natak Mandali was named as Sri Arya Subodh Natak Mandali in the year 1878. After that it was named as Navi Arya Subodh Natak Mandali in 1882. This was pioneering Gujarati repertory in Morbi, Rajkot district. This had a following in Kathiawar, Gujarat, as well as Bombay owing to its medium of standard Gujarati.
Its plays were based on mythology and medieval legends, attempted to present high morals and the best culture. All the members reportedly led pious lives. Vaghaji Asharam Oza and Moolji Asharam Oza started this company and supported by Vaghji Thakor of Morbi state and Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad of Vadodara. Vaghaji Oza's memorable tragedy Bharathan in 1880 made history with over a hundred performances by 1882. Moolji performed the title role with depth, in a black robe and a gold chain on his leg. The heart-breaking songs and dialogue had great appeal for the masses. Other successful plays included Champraj Hado in 1887, Trivikram in 1893, and Jagdeo Pammar in 1910. Phoolchand Master's Mahasati Anasuya i.e. 'Great Sati Anasuya' in 1908 and Raghunath Brahmbhatt's Buddhadev i.e. 'The God Buddha' in 1914 gave a devotional shape to Gujarati theatre
. This Mandali introduced the Garba dance of Gujarat
and Rasa dance
on stage. Morbi Arya Subodh Natak Mandali closes in the year 1924.
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