Saint Sakharam and the Talkative Cyclist
TWO PLAYS: THE CYCLIST; HIS FIFTH WOMAN by Vijay Tendulkar Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2018, 80 pp., 175
July 2006, volume 30, No 7

Vijay Tendulkar is very special to Indian theatre. For one, he is not afraid of being accessible. His language, his themes and his craftsmanship do not scare theatre people away. I like this quality in him. Vijay Tendulkar always knew that it was essential for his plays to survive as popular theatre texts, in order that he emerge as a major Indian playwright. Today Tendulkar’s literary merit is well established, even beyond the boundaries of Marathi drama. Badal Sircar also had these qualities. His early comedies for example were delightful theatre texts. But he became sceptical. He started doubting the need for a gilt edged proscenium frame: the famous lie. He gave up writing fictional plays altogether and took to writing agitational plays. In the process, Badal Sircar became an ascetic, like his mentor Jerzy Grotowski. No. this is not to belittle the achievements of Badal Sircar. Where he lost out as a playwright, he gained enormously in stature, as a theatre person. I think he has influenced more theatre persons in India than most others.

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