(Last Updated on : 29-10-2013)
Similar to the Indarman Akhara and its leader, Natharam, dominate the Hathras Swang, so Shrikrishna Khatri Pahalvan's name is synonymous with the Nautanki
of Kanpur. As troupe organizer, actor, author and publisher, his influence extended to all aspects of the Kanpur
stage in the 1920s and continued for forty years or more. It seems that Srikrishna made his living as a tailor before he became firmly established in the Nautanki business.
The early plays of Srikrishna dealt with historical figures such as Haqiqat Ray, Maharani Padmini, Shivaji, and Virmati, who defended Hindu faith and territory, against Muslim armies and were in most cases martyred. At this time, Shrikrishna was under the influence of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement espousing the superiority of ancient Vedic civilization. Several of these plays were published expressly for the Arya Sangit Samiti of Kanpur, and the Samiti's name is listed on the covers.
There are also internal references to the Samiti and the founder of the Arya Samaj
, Dayanand Sarasvati
. Later he turned to the middle-class social milieu that characterized the comedies of the Parsi theatre
, choosing characters from the rich class and their servants, as well as government employees, students, and other contemporary figures
In the early days, Shrikrishna's plays were published by Umadatt Vajpeyi, the leading popular press in Kanpur, but eventually he opened his own publishing concern, Srikrishna Pustakalay in the Chauk. According to his son, Pooranchandra Mehrotra, who now operates the press, seventy-five million copies of Shrikrishna's books were published and sold up to 1971.