Dinesh Thakur created a space for hindi theatre in Mumbai


Dinesh Thakur

Sep 21,  Mumbai, Mid day

Veteran theatre and cinema stalwart Dinesh Thakur passed away after a prolonged illness, leaving behind a huge void in Hindi cinema and theatre

As recently as late August, Ank Productions, which Dinesh Thakur and wife Preeta had staged Ravindranjali, which brought alive the magic of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s songs on stage with an artistic expression of some of the legend’s most beautiful creations, through music, drama and dance. Ank was close to the theatre and cinema veteran’s heart till the end. His oldest and still popular theatre production is Jis Lahore Nahi Dekhya.

Veteran theatre actor-director Dinesh Thakur, known for his character roles in Hindi films of the 70s, passed away here today after prolonged illness.

Dinesh Thakur was suffering from kidney ailments and died at a suburban Andheri hospital, family sources said. He was 65 and is survived by actor-wife Prita Mathur. Dinesh Thakur has several acclaimed films like Mere Apne, Rajanigandha and Ghar to his credit. He headed a theatre group called ANK Productions for the last three decades. His oldest and still popular theatre production is Jis Lahore Nahi Dekhya.

Dinesh Thakur had showcased his play Rang Bajrang at the Prithvi and Tata theatres in April last year. He was a noted Indian theatre director, actor in theatre, television and Hindi films, where most notably he appeared as one of the leads in Rajnigandha (1974) directed by Basu Chatterjee, which won both Filmfare Best Movie Award and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie. He appeared in character roles in Hindi films and also was a screenwriter and story writer.

He is known for writing the story and screenplay of Ghar (1978), which won him the 1979 Filmfare Best Story Award.

Dinesh Thakur’s last rites will be conducted today at the Oshiwara crematorium around 4.30 pm.

Four contemporaries from cinema and theatre reflect on this immeasurable loss:

Rahul daCunha: Dinesh was a true doyen of Hindi theatre. A pioneer in his field, he went ahead and creditably made a living from it when no one else dared to.

Amol PalekarThough we worked with each other in Rajnigandha, we shared a bond before that. Both of us played the same character in the play Adhe Adhure, in two different productions, his was directed by Om Shivpuri, whereas I acted in the one directed by Satyadev Dubey. Another funny thing about the movie was that he being from Delhi, all his scenes were shot in Mumbai, and all my scenes were shot in Delhi. We all eventually had a reunion at the after party, at producer Suresh Jindal’s residence. Since the movie, we have shared a close friendship. Even when I learnt of his illness, I rushed to Mumbai but he was already in ICU.

Salim Arif: Dinesh Thakur was like family to me. My wife Lubna has also worked with him. I designed the costumes for his famous play, Jis Lahore Nahi Dekhya. That was nearly 10 to 12 years ago. He was very fond of all of us. With his demise, theatre has lost a very important soldier. He was committed to theatre for three decades. Though he initially did a few films, he made a conscious choice to be in theatre and devote his life to theatre, which I believe is remarkable. Many young and talented actors have worked with him. What many people don’t know about him is that he was also a very good teacher. He trained several artists too. Dineshji has been one of the people responsible for creating a space for Hindi theatre in a city like Mumbai.

Shabana Azmi: It’s a big loss to the theatre world. Ank (Thakur’s theatre group) has established themselves as serious players on the theatre scene. He was ailing for sometime but fought back and would come to all important theatre events in his immaculately starched kurtas. We mourn his loss and condolences to the family.

— Compiled by Surekha S and Dhara Vora , Mid day



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December 2021
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