Premanand Gajvee writes with a fierce urge to expose unspoken histories and set right historical wrongs. His plays, never complex, have the unerring ability to unsettle and move the reader, and compel us to reckon with discomfiting realities. The three plays translated from Marathi in this collection—each representing a distinct style in Gajvee’s oeuvre—probe contentious questions of contemporary relevance, often evoking widespread debate. The one-act Ghotbhar Pani (A Sip of Water), performed over 3,000 times, fuses a folk idiom with absurdist, nameless characters; the Greek tragedy-like Kirwant explores the plight of a sub-caste of ‘untouchable’ brahmins who are despised for performing death rites; and Gandhi–Ambedkar stages the clash between two titans mediated by an irreverential, imaginary, interstitial clown.
Premanand Gajvee is a prominent Marathi playwright. After storming the Marathi stage with his one-act Ghotbhar Pani (A Sip of Water) in 1977, which has been staged over 3,000 times, Gajvee has written eleven one-acts and thirteen full-length plays, besides a novel, two short story collections, and a volume of poetry. He co-founded the Bodhi Natya Parishad in Mumbai in 2003 with the aim of encouraging new, socially relevant plays in Marathi.
Shanta Gokhale is a writer and a theatre critic equally felicitous in Marathi and English. She has written two novels and two plays in Marathi. She is the author of Playwright at the Centre: Marathi Drama From 1843 to the Present (2000), and editor of Satyadev Dubey: A Fifty-Year Journey through Theatre (2012). Her novel Tya Varshi, which won the Maharashtra State Award in 2009, has been translated into English as Crowfall (2013). Shanta lives in Mumbai.
M.D. Hatkanangalekar is a leading Marathi literary critic and translator who has taught English at Willingdon College, Sangli.
‘Representative of Gajvee’s social concerns and caste preoccupations, the three plays are a scathing indictment of the inequalities that continue to prevail within the Hindu religion and Indian society’—The Hindu
‘I consider Kirwant a play of great social relevance and one of the most significant plays I had the privilege of doing for Marathi theatre’—Dr Shreeram Lagoo, eminent actor-director