Atmaram Bhende no more

atmaram bhende no more

atmaram bhende no more

Shri. Atmaram Bhende, fondly referred to as Bapu, was born on May 7th, 1923.

He completed his Engineering in L. T. M. from V.J.T.I. in 1945. Shri Bhende worked as an Engineer and in executive positions in several reputed organizations such as Volkart Brothers, textile commissioner’s office etc. Retired in May 1981 from Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, after working as a senior executive for seventeen years.

Shri Bhende has been active on the Marathi stage in the capacity of Director, Actor, and Producer for the last sixty years and is well known for his versatility. He has so far directed and produced more than seventy plays, including several children’s play. He has the distinction of over one hundred shows and at least two plays directed by him running for more than five hundred shows. Bhende’s major contributions to the theatre in Maharashtra are as follows:

In the 1940s and the early 1950s, when the Marathi theatre was considered to be ‘dying’, Bhende tried to attempt to inject new life into it by his experimental plays. He is therefore considered to be a pioneer of the Experimental Marathi theatre.

Bhende was the pioneer in introducing the ” farce” on the Marathi stage in 1958, along with his associate the Late Shri Baban Prabhu. He is therefore considered to be the Father of Marathi Farce.

Bhende is the first to make use of the revolving stage on the Marathi stage in 1962.

Bhende is the first Marathi stage artist of repute to work in the English theatre and establish himself as a popular actor speaking Indian English.

Bhende was the Joint-Secretary of the Marathi Natya Parishad , the representative body of the Marathi theatre, during 1954-60 and was responsible for setting up and organizing the Bombay Branch of the Marathi Natya Parishad. In this capacity, he was actively associated with the successful efforts made by the Parishad to have the entertainment tax on drama performances abolished.

Radio, Television and Films:

Bhende is a regular participant in radio plays for the past 55 years. He has also produced several radio plays and documentaries for the Bombay station of All India radio. Bhende is a popular television artiste. He has acted in several Marathi television plays and in important Hindi T. V. serials like “Yatra” and “Chunouti”. He directed a T. V. film entitled “Sparsha” in the serial “Ek Kahani” and many others. His latest contribution was the Marathi serial “Awhan” which helped to create social consciousness about the evils of dowry and the role that society can play in stamping it out. He directed this serial and also played a major role in it. He also directed serial ‘Ratrani” based on story by the welknown Marathi writer Shri G. A. Kulkarni. Bhende has so far acted in eighteen Marathi films, one Hindi film, several documentaries, educational films and adfilms.


Bhende has written a Marathi play and has translated two plays of Thornton Wilder, Viz. ‘Our Town’ and the ‘Matchmaker’, into Marathi, both of which were published. He has also written several children’s plays for radio, which have been published in book form. He also writes articles on Theatre in journals and magazines.

Organization of Cultural Activities:

As the Secretary of the Marathi Section of the Indian National Theatre since its inception in 1945, Bhende shouldered the responsibility of organizing several cultural activities in addition to directing and producing most of the Marathi plays staged by the Indian National Theatre. He also organized the Inter-Collegiate Full length Drama competitions and Kavi-Sammellans organized by INT. He was also responsible for organizing the first Folk- Drama festival organized by INT and in that connection toured the whole of Maharashtra to study the various forms of the folk theatre in Maharashtra. At present, he has his own theatre group “Purnima”.

Study Tours:

In 1962, Bhende visited the U.K. and U.S.A. and several other countries in Europe and Far East. In the U.S.A. he had the opportunity to study the theatre movement very closely. He was associated with the “Actor’s Workshop” in San Francisco and studied the production of one play right from the first rehearsal to the first show. He also studied the drama courses conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, He mode a special study of the Educational television in the U.S.A. In Japan, he studied the Kabuki theatre. In 1962, he visited Calcutta for the study of Bengali theatre during the Rabindranath Tagore Centenary Year under a special scheme of the Government.
“Life Time Achievement Award” – Alpha Gaurav Puraskar 2003(Alpha Marathi)

Awards, Honors, etc.:

Appointed Justice of the Peace in 1972 by the Government pf Maharashtra and continued as a special Executive Magistrate till 1980.

Won the ” Natyadarpan Award” for the Best Comedian in 1976.

In 1980, was given a Special Award for long and meritorious service in the cause of the Marathi theatre by “Natyadarpan”.

Was unanimously elected President of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad in January 1981 in appreciation of the services rendered to the Marathi theatre.

Was awarded the Shankar Ghanekar Award for contributions to Marathi theatre as a comedian by the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad in 1983

Was honored by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay in 1989 for meritorious service to Marathi theatre as Actor and Director.

Was the recipient of the “Vishnudas Bhave Awards” for his long and meritorious service to the Marathi theatre as an Actor, instituted by the Akhil Maharashtra Marathi Natya Vidyamandir in 1989

Was given a Special Awards for ‘Outstanding contribution to the theatre instituted for the first time by “Bristol” and was presented during the Natyadarpan Rajani in 1991

In 1991 was awarded “The Shrimant Yuvraj Chatrapati Maharaj ,Kolhapur award as a senior actor of outstanding merit by Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad

On 25th August 1993 was awarded the Best Prose actor 1992 Award by ” Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh.

On 7th March was felicitated by the “Atmaram Bhende Felicitation committee” for Directing fifty noteworthy Plays

On 19th February 1994 was felicitated by Gomantak Marathi Academy, Kala Academy ( Goa )and Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh for rendering meritorial service to the Marathi theatre, during the festival organized to celebrate 150 years of the Maratht theatre at Panjim, Goa .

On 14/06/95 Gopinath Savarkar Puraskar – Atmaram Bhende Marathi Natya Parishad.

On 08/01/95 Kalagaurav Pratishtan ( Pune ) Puraskar for long service to theatre.

Lokagaurav Puraskar from ( Chembur Varta )on 07/08/94

On 6th May 1995 Natya Bhushan Puraskar given in memory of the well known Dramatist Acharya Atre by his daughter Shirish Pai and Meemna Deshpande in NatyaDarpan rajani.

On 25th Sept 1997 awarded Chintamanrao Kolhatkar Pursakar by All India Marathi Natya Parishad sponsored by the Government of Maharashtra for Acting.

On 24/07/1996 awarded Natasamrat Nanasaheb Phatak Puraskar.

Awarded “Life Time Achievement Award” by Alpha Gavrav Puraskar (Alpha Marathi) Feb-2003.

Atmaram Bhende no more

Atmaram Bhende no more

Atmaram Bhende no more

Atmaram Bhende no more

Atmaram Bhende no more

Atmaram Bhende no more

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