The Last Bow

Dinesh Thakur, a significant force in Hindi theatre in Mumbai, passes away

Gulzar remembers him as an artist who sacrificed a prospective career in films for his passion for theatre, though for many, he may have well been the other guy in Basu Chatterjee's 1974 film Rajnigandha. Dinesh Thakur, veteran theatre director, also an actor known for his character-roles in Hindi films, passed away at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Andheri, on Thursday morning.

According to sources, Thakur suffered a brain hemorrhage on Wednesday night, after he slipped in his room. The 65-year-old artiste is survived by his actor-wife Prita Mathur.

With a career in theatre, films and television spanning over 40 years, Thakur is perhaps best remembered for his contribution to the rise of Hindi theatre in Mumbai at a time when Gujarati and Marathi theatre ruled the roost, and the Hindi-speaking population looked towards films. "There was very little of Hindi theatre at that time, with only Marathi and Gujarati plays considered popular; Dinesh could've taken the experimental route in Hindi, but he was determined to direct popular Hindi plays," says Gulzar.

His Ank theatre group, founded in 1976, is considered to be one of the seminal voices in the new wave Hindi theatre of that time. Its most popular production is Jis

Lahore Nahi Dekhiya, a play that explores the impact of the Partition on human relationships. Ank continued to be active in Mumbai's Hindi theatre circuit till recent times. Thakur directed and acted in plays in spite of his poor health in the last couple of years. "He hasn't been keeping well for three to four years now, but he never stopped doing theatre. Nearly a month back, he directed Ravindranjali, a musical based on Rabindranath Tagore's poems, almost from his sick bed," says theatre artist Atul Tiwari, also Thakur's close friend. Thakur was born and educated in Delhi.

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