11 May, 2021

A Court Rises To His Honour

A loving tribute to Satyadev Dubey catches his complex, contradictory persona, as well as his undimmed brilliance

A Court Rises To His Honour

This book on theatre icon Satyadev Dubey is edited with such care and love by critic and writer Shanta Gokhale that I find it difficult to reconcile it with my memory of Dubey’s ire against her. Dubey railed against Gokhale for an hour for some reason that I have forgotten. But that’s how he was: at some point or other, Dubey quarreled with almost every one of the contributors who have written so fondly about him in this book. Once, hearing that he had been attacking me at a party, I called him to ask what I’d done to bother him. “Don’t worry,” he replied, “if there’s a problem, I’ll tell you myself.” His anger was not personal and never lasted long. Whatever it was that bothered him about Gokhale, it didn’t prevent him from doing an excellent production of her play.

Dubey came from Bilaspur to Bombay to be a cricketer. He joined the Theatre Unit under Ebrahim Alkazi and P.D. Shenoy, and when Alkazi left to take up the directorship of the National School of Drama, took on...

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