Bhalchandra Vyankatesh Pendhar

Born in 1921 in Hyderabad, Shri Bhalchandra Vyankatesh Pendharkar belongs to a family long connected with the Marathi stage. His father Shri Vyankatesh Pendharkar was the founder, in 1908, of the theatre company Lalitkaladarsha, whose place in the annals of the Marathi theatre is amply assured. Shri Bhalchandra took over the reins of the company after his father’s death in 1937, and carries on the work even today. In music specifically — the life-breath of the Marathi Sangeet-natak — his teachers have been Shri Ramakrishnabua Vaze and Balgandharva . Since 1942, when he revived Lalitkaladarsha with the production of Satyeche Gulam, Shri Pendharkar has brought to Marathi audiences numerous plays involving leading dramatists and musicians. These include Swamini (1956) written by Shri P.B. Bhave, Duritanche Timir Jao (1957) and Akashganga (1958) by Shri Bal Kolhatkar, and Panditraj Jagannath (1960) by Shri Vidyadhar Gokhale. Shri Vasant Desai composed music for several of his productions including Jagannath, Jaya Gaurishankar (1966), and Geeta Gati Dnyaneshwar (1971). Shri Pendharkar has played lead roles in many of his own productions, as of Bala in Honagi-Bala (1954) — earlier filmed by V. Shantaram under the title Amar Bhoopali — and Digu in Duritanche Timir Jao, whose songs remain popular even today. As recently as 1998, Shri Pendharkar played Narada in the play Sangeet Aradhana. For his outstanding work in the Marathi theatre, Shri Pendharkar has been honoured with the Keshavrao Bhonsle Award in 1991 and the Bakhalebuva Award in 2000, conferred by the Akhil Bharatiya Natya Parishad and Bharat Gayan Samaj respectively. Shri Bhalchandra Pendharkar receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribu- tion to Natyasangeet.