Veteran Marathi theatre artist and film actor Atmaram Govind Bhende died on 7 February 2015 following brief illness in Pune, Maharashtra. He was 91.
Bhende is survived by his wife Asha with whom he had done several advertisements. The most recent being the one where Bhende - a grandfather is seen gifting a diamond ring to his wife (played by Asha) on Valentine's Day.
He was the father of late Nandu Bhende, a popular rock singer.
About Atmaram Govind Bhende
• He was fondly referred to as Bapu who graced Marathi stage for more than six decades in the capacity of director, actor and producer.
• He was the first Marathi stage artist to work in the English theatre as an actor speaking Indian English and was first to introduce the concept of revolving stage in Marathi theatre in 1962.
• Bhende held the reputation for being a pioneer of the experimental Marathi theatre and with his associate late Baban Prabhu introduced 'farce' in Marathi stage in 1958. Therefore, he was considered to be the Father of Marathi Farce.
• Bhende produced several radio plays for Mumbai station of AIR while being a regular at AIR for 55 years.
• He had appeared in English plays and had translated two plays of the American playwright Thornton Wilder into Marathi. These plays are Our Town and the Matchmaker.
• He also appeared in Hindi films like Rajkumar Hirani’s Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) in which he plays the lonely man who is dumped outside the Second Innings home by his son.
• Born on 7 May 1923, Bhende was a qualified engineer from Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI). He worked as an Engineer in several reputed organizations such as Volkart Brothers, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, etc.
Some of his popular plays include
• Dinuchya Sasubai Radhabai
• Tarun Turka Mhatare Arka
• Tujhe Aahe Tujapashi
• Zopi gelela Jaga Zala
• Pala Pala Kon Pudhe Pale
His contribution to Television
• He acted in several Marathi television plays and in Hindi television which include Yatra and Chunouti.
• He also directed a television film Sparsha in the serial Ek Kahani and many others.
• His latest contribution was Marathi serial Awhan which threw light on the evils of dowry system.
• He also directed a tele-serial, Ratrani, which is based on a story of well known Marathi writer GA Kulkarni.
Awards and Honours
• In 1991, Bhende was awarded The Shrimant Yuvraj Chatrapati Maharaj Kolhapur Award by Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad.
• In 1994, he was felicitated by Gomantak Marathi Academy, Kala Academy ( Goa )and Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh for rendering meritorial service to the Marathi theatre.
• In 2003, he was awarded Life Time Achievement Award by Alpha Gavrav Puraskar (Alpha Marathi).