(Last Updated on : 04-08-2014)
Rajinder Nath is a Hindi theatre personality regarded as indispensable for contemporary Indian drama. He was born in Dalwal now situated in Pakistan in 1934. He was trained at the Asian Theatre Institute, New Delhi. Rajinder Nath acted in amateur groups, reviewed theatre for the Hindustan Times, and taught English at a college. He founded Abhiyan in 1967, to produce original Indian scripts never done in Hindi theatre previously. From 1976 to 1981 and again in 1983-9 he headed the Shri Ram Centre, where he started an annual national theatre festival and a repertory company. Abhiyan began with Lalit Sehgal's Hatya ek akar ki which was translated as The Verdict in 1967. But, besides a couple of Lakshmi Narayan Lal's works directed by other members, Rajinder Nath could stage only two other original Hindi plays of interest. This was Mohan Rakesh's unfinished Pair tale ki zamin or 'Ground beneath the Feet' in 1974 and Bhisham Sahni's debut, Hanush in 1977.
The paucity of Hindi drama meant that Rajinder Nath had to use translations, mainly from Marathi and Bengali. His favourite was Tendulkar. Some of his great creations can be named as Panchhi aise ate hain or 'That's How Birds Come' in 1971, from Ashi pakhare yett, Ghashiram Kotwal in 1973, Jat hipuchho sadhu ki or 'Ask a Sadhu His Caste' in 1978, from Pahijejatiche, Kamala in 1982, Mita ki kahani or 'Mita's Story' in 1984, from Mitrachi goshta, Kanyadan in 1985, Hat teri kismat or 'Cursed Luck' in 1992, from Niyaticha bailalya, and Safar or 'Journey' in 1993. Most of them proved very successful. Other Marathi plays included Khanolkar's Ek sunya Bajirao or 'Bajirao, a Cipher' in 1968, Alekar's Mahanirvan or 'The Dread Departure' in 1976, and G. P. Deshpande's Uddhwasta dhrmashala or 'A Man in Dark Times' in 1977 and Chakravyuh or 'Chakra Formation' in 1991, from Andhar yatra. In addition, Rajinder Nath directed Tendulkar's Anji and Sakharam Binder for Shri Ram Centre in 1981 and 1984 respectively. Rajinder Nath attempted an equal number of influential Bengali dramatists.
The first exposure Rajinder Nath gave Delhi audiences to each of them created a stunning impact. Badal Sircar provided Baki itihas or 'Remaining History' in 1968, Sari rat i.e. 'All Night' in 1970, from Sara rattir, Paglaghoda or 'Mad Horse' in 1980, for Shri Ram Centre, and Tiswin sadi or 'Thirtieth Century' in 1998, from Tringsha shatabdt. Mohit Chattopadhyaya supplied Guinea Pig in 1972, from Rajrakta, Alibaba in 1975, and Kharapani i.e. 'Salt Water' in 1987, from Nonajal. Debasis Majumdar offered Tamrapatra or 'Copper Plaque' from Amitakshar, Hawai maharaj or 'Airborne Maharaja' from Ishavasya, Asamapta or 'Incomplete' and Swapna santati or 'Dream Children'. From Manoj Mitra came Bagiya Banchharam ki or Banchharam's Orchard in 1981 from Sajano bagan, Kissa Hakim Saheb ka i.e. 'Hakim Sahib's Case' from Galpa Hekim Saheb, and Saiyan beiman i.e. 'Unfaithful Husband' from Dampati.
As a director Rajinder Nath believes in giving maximum liberty to performers. He chalks out the basic pattern of composition and discusses the various points of characterization, but leaves them to develop the roles. Rather than to impose his own interpretation, he tries to maintain the flavour of the original play. Rajinder Nath has guest-directed for other companies, filmed a few or his productions for the government TV network Doordarshan, and produced some television drama. Rajinder Nath, the eminent Hindi theatre personality edited the National School of Drama journal, Theatre India, from its inception in 1999.