Indira Parthasarathy



Born in 1930 in Chennai, Shri Indira Parthasarathy was a student of Tamil literature, the subject he has taught in the University of Delhi from 1962 to 1988. Simultaneously during those years, he gained a position in the world of Tamil theatre, and has been regarded as one among the leading playwrights in Tamil since the 1970s. In 1988 Shri Partha- sarathy moved to Pondicherry to establish the School of Performing Arts of Pondicherry University, and headed the School as its Director up to 1992. Between 1981 and 1986, he also worked as a visiting professor at Warsaw University, Poland. Shri Indira Parthasarathy’s early work broke new ground in Tamil drama, bringing in modernist influences from his readings in world literature. His early plays had a discernible absurdist influence, but they were well rooted in his own social world. Thus positioned, Shri Parthasarathy could deal with existentialism, which gained ground in Indian literature in the 1960s and ’70s, on his own terms. His later plays like Aurangzeb (1975), Nandan Kathai (1976), and Ramanujar (1996) offer a new perspective on the past, connecting it with the present and an evolving future. Shri Parthasarathy’s plays have been widely performed in India, as well as in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia by expatriate Tamil players. Several of them were published in English translation in the theatre magazine Enact. Nandan Kathai and Aurungzeb have subse- quently been published in book form. Shri Parthasarathy is a recipient of several honours for his work including the Sahitya Akademi Award (1977) and the Saraswati Samman (1999). A film on him has been produced by Sahitya Akademi, directed by Ravi Subramanyam. Shri Indira Parthasarathy receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribu- tion to theatre as a playwright.