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When writing is life itself.....

For veteran Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar writing is not a way of life but life itself. He tells K. KANNAN during his recent Delhi visit that if he stops writing, life itself would stop for him....

The celebrated Marathi playwright, Mr. Vijay Tendulkar, has a compulsive urge to keep writing -- so much so that he feels that if he stops writing some day, life itself will stop for him. ``Maybe at some point of time, I will stop writing physically. But I will continue to write in my mind,'' he says.

Here in Delhi recently to receive the Katha Chudamani award instituted by the non-governmental organisation Katha, Mr. Tendulkar, who started his literary life as a writer of short stories before moving on to write plays and film scripts, says writing itself gives him creative satisfaction. ``I have stopped writing plays for the past 10 years. Still, I keep on writing though it is not in the same form as it was a few years ago.''

Well known for plays like ``Ghasiram Kotwal'', ``Sakharam Binder'', ``Kamala'' and ``Khamosh, Adalat Jari Hai'', Mr. Tendulkar says he has not yet planned to write his autobiography. ``All that I have written earlier is a sort of autobiography. I have been expressing myself all these years,'' he says, adding : ``I have been writing about life around me. When I feel the need to say or do something, I do it. Otherwise I will not be able to sleep.''

Like any writer, Mr. Tendulkar is also a product of his upbringing and his environment. ``When I was young, I was influenced by Arthur Miller and the American playwright Tenesse Williams,'' he reminisces. ``Today there is utter unpredictability around us and I as a creative person am as much concerned about the future as anyone else''.

However, Mr. Tendulkar does not think that a writer can bring about any substantial social transformation. ``Forces of change are different and I do not think a writer or novelist can make an effective contribution,'' says the playwright who created quite a stir with his ``Ghasiram Kotwal'' based on the theme of the exploits of Nana Sahib which outraged the Brahmin community in the country.``Earlier, literature did have an influence on society. Today, it is media-persons and politicians who wield considerable influence and together they can do anything,'' he opines.

As for his commitment to theatre, Mr. Tendulkar feels that it still is very much there in his blood though he has not written a full-length play for quite sometime now.``The lure of television cannot be faulted for the decline of theatre,'' he says, adding : ``Television is becoming stale very fast. They are trying to ape foreign programmes to keep the excitement of the medium alive. But the charm is wearing off''.

In this context, the Marathi playwright says theatre-persons should realise ``it is a serious medium and not like a sitcom''. He minces no words in criticising those who give theatre up before even attempting to do it seriously.``If nothing is happening through theatre, there is something wrong with the medium itself. I do not think the ill-effects of one medium can be thrust on another medium''.

Mr. Tendulkar, who has also written screen-plays for films like ``Manthan;' ``Nishant'', ``Ardh Satya''and ``Aakrosh'', feels that ``a writer intentionally or unintentionally keeps adding fiction to his writing. The characters first come to life in the mind and then they become characters in print.''

According to Mr. Tendulkar, his creativity has been shaped more by experience than my imagination. ``I think a lot before I write and from my point of view, every word has its importance,'' he says, adding : ``Once the characters are in place, imagination takes over''.

As regards criticism, the Marathi playwright admits that ``a good review is right in its own place''. However, he also feels that many times critics write reviews without trying to understand the creative process of a writer. ``A reviewer expects his own play and that is the crux of the problem,'' he says.

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