Tendulkar, Vijay (1928–2008) By Dharwadker, Aparna
Vijay Tendulkar was an Indian playwright, screen and television writer, literary essayist, fiction writer, political journalist, and social commentator whose work in multiple genres represents one of the most versatile and distinguished creative careers of the post-independence period shaped broadly by the aesthetics and politics of modernism. From the early 1950s until his death in 2008, he was a singularly influential theatre figure in Marathi—the principal language of the state of Maharashtra—which has a millennium-long literary history and more than seventy million speakers. Tendulkar’s screenplays, in contrast, were written for films in Hindi, India’s majority language and the preferred medium of the world’s largest film industry. In the urban as well as non-urban settings of his plays and screenplays, he employed forms of social realism tempered with powerfully poetic structures of imagery, thought, and experience, and emerged as independent India’s first ‘national’ playwright because of the depth and breadth of his engagement with the particulars of lower- and middle-class life in the postcolonial city.