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When Satyadev Dubey refused to work with Shyam Benegal

December 26, 2011 17:15 IST
Shyam BenegalEminent theatre personality Satyadev Dubey, who breathed his last in Mumbai yesterday, was one of theĀ earliest friends that filmmaker Shyam Benegal made when he arrived in the city in 1959.

The filmmaker revisits his friendship with the late thespian.


W
e were very close friends. I rushed back from Delhi where I was attending the parliament session for his funeral.


I arrived in Mumbai in 1959. Our friendship dates back to 1962. We shared a very informal relationship and could tell each other anything without fear of offending the other.

But our friendship was stormy too at times. I valued his comments. He, I presume, valued mine. We worked on six of my films together -- from Ankur to Mandi. He wrote the dialogues for these films and collaborated on the scripts too.

Girish Karnad, Vijay Tendulkar and Satyadev Dubey were my three trusted writers. That's how it remained until after Mandi when Dubey told me he didn't want to work with me anymore.

And we never worked together again. But that did not affect our personal equation at all. Every time he wrote a play, he spoke to me about it. Dubey has done some pioneering work for Hindi theatre, his contribution is unparalleled.

But it wasn't all easy, in fact it was an uphill task. He took theatre out of its English-speaking elitist space and made it accessible and affordable for a Hindi-speaking audience.

His plays were minimalistic and depended almost entirely on the actors for effect. Which reminds me, a lot of the acting talent that came into my cinema was recommended by Dubey.
Subhash K Jha in Patna