Film and theatre veteran Satyadev Dubey passes away

In a big loss for Indian theatre, well-known playwright and director Satyadev Dubey passed away here Sunday after several months of illness. He was 75. Dubey, who had slipped into coma after suffering a massive epileptic attack, had been in hospital since September, family friends said. He died at around 12.30pm Sunday. “He had been in hospital since he slipped into coma in September and died in coma. His last rites will be conducted this evening at Dadar crematorium (in south central Mumbai),” said Vinod Tharani, a family friend. Dubey was known for plays like Pagla Ghoda, Adhey Ahdure and Evam Indrajit, but one of his most famous productions was Andha Yug. Born in Bilaspur, now in Chhattisgarh, in 1936, Dubey moved to Mumbai aiming to become a cricketer but ended up joining the Theatre Unit run by Ebrahim Alkazi, which also ran a school for many budding artistes. When Alkazi left for Delhi to head the National School of Drama, he took over the Theatre Unit and went on to produce many important plays. He produced, Girish Karnad’s first play Yayati, and also his noted play Hayavadana and many others. He is credited with staging Dharmavir Bharati’s Andha Yug, a play that was written for radio. Dubey saw its potential and sent it across to Alkazi at the National School of Drama. He has made two short films, Aparichay Ke Vindhachal (1965) and Tongue in Cheek (1968), and also directed a Marathi feature film, Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe in 1971, based on Vijay Tendulkar’s play, which in turn is based on Friedrich Durrenmatt’s story Die Panne. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1971. He also won the 1978 National Film Award for Best Screenplay for Shyam Benegal’s Bhumika and 1980 Filmfare Best Dialogue Award for Junoon. In 2011, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours.