Ever heard of Kalidas, Bhasa, Shudraka, Vishakhadatta? These, including many more, are our very own dramatists of the antiquity. Undoubtedly, Shakespeare is the most adored and revered personality in literature. But, of equal proficiency (and in many cases even better) are the mesmerizing works of our dramatists.

Modern Indian theatre is nurtured by the creative energies of dramatists and playwrights of the day who have borrowed the best of the Indian folk theatre and western’s. And the brilliant outcome has placed them amongst the greatest artists of the day.


Badal Sircar

He is a prestigious name in the realm of contemporary theatre and he represents the New Theatretical Movement in India. He is credited of being the harbinger of the ‘people’s theatre’in the country.

His plays explore the political, social, psychological and existential problems. Some of his notables ones are Evan Inderjit, That Other History, Solution X, and Bhoma.

Girish Karnad

In the capacity of writer, director and actor, Girish Karnad has substantially contributed to enrich the tradition of Indian English Theatre. His dramatic sensibility was moulded under the influence of touring natak companies and especially Yakshagana which in those days not accepted as a purified art form. His plots are based on history, mythology and old legends but with precise symbolism, he attempts to establish their relevance in contemporary socio-political conditions.

He is best known for his plays like Yayati, Tughlaq, Hayavadana, Tale Dande and Nagamandala.

Habib Tanvir

A new dimension to Indian theatre was given by this legendary playwright, actor and director. He used the folk traditions and tribal theatrical forms of Madhya Pradesh in his productions. His best known plays are Mitti ki Gadi and Charandas Chor.

Gurcharan Das

A novelist, playwright and a columnist, Gurcharan Das’ plays have won him many accolades. His most popular creation is his Three English Plays, an anthology which includes Larins Sahib,a play about the set in the times of British India; Mira, which won him international critical acclaim, and 9 Jakhoo Hill.

Mohan Rakesh

A striking dramatist who made his impact in the 1960s, the plays of Mohan Rakesh are the creations of a sensitive mind exploring the world of human emotions caught up in the hard realities of life. He often used words and sentences as the tools of suggestion to convey a meaning beyond the verbal connotation. Ashadh ka Ek Din, Adhe Adhure, Laharon ke Ranjhas are some of his best creations.

Sri Aurobindo

Another prominent name amongst the Indian English dramatists. Sri Aurobindo’s plays notable feature is that they depict different cultures and countries in different epochs, ringing with a variety of characters, moods and sentiments. He was much influenced by Elizabethan drama in matters of plot construction and characterization. We also find the impact of Sanskrit playwrights like Kalidas, Bhasa and Bhavabhuti on his delectable creations.

Rabindranath Tagore

This Nobel laureate wrote in Bengali and his plays are deeply imbued in the Indian ethos and ethics in their themes, characters and treatment. His most enthralling plays are Chitra, The Post Office, Sacrifice, Chandralika, Natir Puja and Red Oleanders. .

Vijay Tendulkar

Indian theatre gained immensely through the creative energies of this Marathi playwright. He symbolized the new awareness and attempts of Indian dramatists to depict the agonies, suffocations and the cries of man, especially the middle class society. In all his plays, he harped upon the theme of isolation of the individual and his confrontation with the hostile surroundings. He was associated with the New Theatretical Movement in Maharashtra.

Some of his best known plays are Shanata! Court Chalu Aahe, Sakharam Binder, Ghasiram Kotwal, Chimanicha Ghor Hote Menache, Kanyadaan. .

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