An economics gold medallist, a poet, a scientist working in the field of pure sciences, a short story writer and playwright, another actor, founding member and company director of Delhi’s most prominent theatre company are the recipient of this year’s Tendulkar-Dubey fellowships granted by Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan. The fellowships are named after playwrights Vijay Tendulkar and Satyadev Dubey.
Speaking at a press conference, Ashok Kulkarni, managing trustee of Sahitya Rangabhoomi Pratishthan announced the names of the fellows. “Ipshita Chakraborty Singh, Sapan Saran, Niranjan Pedanekar, Yugandhar Deshpande and Bikram Ghosh are the recipients of this year’s Tendulkar-Dubey Fellowship. Initiated in 2003, under the suggestion of late Vijay Tendulkar, this is the 13th year of the fellowship programme. Fifty seven theatre personalities, including this year’s, have received the fellowship. Each of the participants are awarded Rs 1 lakh each,” said Kulkarni.
The significant feature of this fellowship is that it’s unconditional. The trust doesn’t expect any justification for the area selected for exploration. “This was Tendulkar’s suggestion. He said let the theatre persons use the money as they wish. The idea is to ‘let them grow’. Despite contrary suggestions over the years, we have stuck to this ‘unconditional’ criterion,” added Kulkarni.
The one change that they have introduced over the years is to take stock of the work being done by theatre practitioners across the country and not just Maharashtra.
“Ipshita works in Jaipur and Mumbai; Bikram, known as Momo in theatre circles, is from Delhi; Sapan and Yugandhar are from Mumbai and Niranjan is from Pune,” he added.
Introducing the recipients, theatre veteran Pradeep Vaiddya said, “Sapan is a poet and has now collaborated with Sunil Shanbag’s Tamassha group. She has written original stories and directed them, and also worked in Telugu and Tamil films. At the moment she is co-writing Sisters — a one year collaborative project on South Asian women, produced by the National Theatre of Wales. At a very young age, Ipshita has already worked in more than 35 plays. She has studied Economics and is proficient in singing, dancing and acting. Ipshita and her husband, Ajeet Singh Palawat are running a theatre group in Jaipur. In fact they were the first ones to introduce ticketed performances for Jaipur audience. Momo has been constantly innovating. He and Neel Chaudhuri, co-member of Tadpole Repertory have succeeded in setting up a space for experimental theatre in Delhi. They have called it Sameep Rangbhumi.”
Writer and actor Kiran Yadnopavit talked about Pedanekar and Deshpande’s works. “Niranjan is a scientist with an inclination towards artificial intelligence. The underlying hypotheses is what he tries to explore in his theatre. He has affinity for the works of Franz Kafka and Urdu literature. His latest play, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo premiered at the recently concluded Nattyasattak 2018. Yugandhar’s Backstage Wala Koni pulled him into the Awishkar’s theatre festival. He continued writing plays for Awishkar group, and also penned short stories. At present, he works as assistant faculty to course director, Prof Shafaat Khan, at National School of Drama, Indore. His two new plays, Te 4 Banda and Merry Go Round are scheduled for opening.”
The awards will be presented on February 18 at Gharkul Lawns, where theatre practitioner from Kolkata, Samik Bandyopadhyay will be the chief guest.