wiki:Radheshyam Kathavachak

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Radheshyam Kathavachak, (b. 1890)

Writer born in Bareilly. Major 1920s Parsee theatre playwright, e.g. for New Alfred Co. In plays like Shri Krishnavtar (1926), Rukmini Mangal (1927) and Shravan Kumar (1928) he more or less invented the mythological in its familiar Hindi film version, still practised in e.g. Sagar’s TV serial, Ramayan (1986-8). Established as the most successful playwright of his generation with the hit Abhimanyu (New Alfred, 1916), whose book was a bestseller. He drew upon his strong familial roots in the performative traditions of the Ramleela and pioneered the mediation of Northern and Central Indian folk performances into the later mass cultural manifestation of the genre in Hindi cinema. Unlike e.g. Betaab, he made few claims for classicism beyond that of writing in ‘pure’ Hindi (as distinct from Urdu). He attempted to link up with the devotional rather than with the spectacular and addressed a proletarian audience through the publications of his Radheshyam Press in Bareilly. Worked briefly for Madan Theatres as scenarist and songwriter and freelanced often for former New Alfred colleagues. His autobiography (1957) is considered a classic description of the early 20th C. commercial theatre and also gives a first-hand description of the Madan film factory. Also scripted or wrote lyrics for Bhavnani’s Shakuntala (1931), Dhrupad Rai’s Shri Satyanarayan (1935), Varma’s Usha Haran (1940), Sohrab Modi’s Jhansi Ki Rani (1953) and Sharad Desai’s Shravan Kumar (1960).

Writer