The Capital’s oldest theatre critic, Romesh Chander, who passed away recently, was fondly remembered by his journalist colleagues, theatre personalities, friends and family at the amphitheatre of the Delhi Union of Journalists here over the weekend.
Rich tributes were paid to the man – “Charlie” to his friends -- who wrote steadily into his 90s.
A man of great vigour and commitment, he had a varied career that spanned the worlds of theatre, radio, television and journalism
“In his youth, inspired by secular, democratic ideals, he became a freedom fighter and activist and even headed a tongawallahs’ union in Lahore. He had very strong Communist leanings and had to go underground and spend time in jail on many occasions owing to that,” recalled DUJ general secretary S.K. Pande.
His son Sohail recalled how his busy, energetic father would watch plays in the evening, come home, write out his review and then head for newspaper offices late at night to deliver them.
“I learnt to drive at midnight, accompanying him when he delivered his reviews,” he said, adding: “That was the only free time my father had to teach me.”
A theatre critic par excellence, Mr. Chander wrote for The Hindu and several other papers.
His daughter Smita spoke of her father as a “people’s person” who was the greatest of friends with everyone from a driver to a CEO. “He could connect the grassroots to the top,” she said.
This was one of his greatest strengths.
Technology did not matter to him, people did.
She urged the theatre activists present to take forward the theatre movement as that would be the most fitting tribute.