Pune: Theatre personality Ashok Kulkarni passed away

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Pune, 4 May, 2021: The Managing Trustee of Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan, the pillar of support for the theatre community all across India, Ashok Kulkarni, fondly called Ashok Kaka by all, passed away at the age of 84, at 2 p.m. on 4th May 2021. He had recently undergone surgery. Later his health took a turn for the worse. He had been admitted to Prayag Hospital.

Born in Belgaum, Ashok Kulkarni completed his school and college education in Belgaum. He held important posts in organisations such as the ‘Indian Demographic Research Institute’, ‘Financial Express’, etc. in his career. During his stay in Mumbai, he befriended several experimental theatre and film practitioners. It was the period when stalwarts such as Satyadev Dubey, Vijay Tendulkar, Girish Karnad, Govind Nihalani were starting their careers. Later Ashok Kulkarni retired from Walchand Industries after serving at an important post. After retirement he decided to spend his time once again in his beloved field of theatre. He stayed behind the scenes and made an invaluable contribution to theatre in the last twenty years.

He started the Vinod Doshi Fellowship to honour young and upcoming artists in the field of performing artists. Later these fellowships were awarded as the Tendulkar-Dubey Fellowship and the Madhu Ganu Fellowship. Till date 72 artists have been felicitated with these fellowships.

He ran the Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival and Saarang Festival consistently for twelve years, from 2008 to 2020, and added great value to the city of Pune. Several books such as ‘Scenes We Made’ that traced the history of theatre, ‘Ajoon Tendulkar’ written by stalwarts about Vijay Tendulkar’s career in writing, theatre, and films, were published by Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan. Of these, the book ‘Prayogik Rangabhoomi – Teen Ank’ was recently awarded the Sahitya Akademi Puraskar. With his support, ‘Rangabhaan’ – a workshop for upcoming playwrights, was run under the aegis of Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan for one and a half years. Even in the present Covid times, he was trying to uplift theatre practitioners, and was working towards supporting them to view theatre in a new manner. His demise has created an immense void in the art world. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter and their families.

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