Artiste Par Excellence
Ajit Kelkar - by now a house-hold name in the TV watcher families and in the socio-cultural society of Maharashtra. A Professor of Economics, Ajit has made a special position for himself in the fields of radio, television, theatre and also in theatre criticism.
Born in a learned and reputed family in Mumbai, Ajit always had a meritorious academic career along with extra-curricular activities like elocution and debate competitions, one-act plays and various school and college level competitions. Ajit has been an approved drama voice of All India Radio, Mumbai, ever since he was 7. He won the Best Actor Award in the coveted Chintamanrao Kolhatkar Open Drama Competition, when he was only 12.
At 18, Ajit had completed the 2-year Diploma course of Amrit Natya Bharati of Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh in Dramatics, conducted by theatre veteran Prof. Kamalakar Sontakke.
While Ajit was teaching Economics at College level for 20 long years, his passion for theatre art never allowed him to distance from Dramatics. He continued to participate in several dramas and won many awards. He was honoured with many awards of repute, including the State Government Award for Best Actor. His main role in the Marathi adaptation of Badal Sircar's Bengali Play 'Juloos' (directed by Amol Palkar) is considered to be a mile-stone in the theatre history. After establishing him as an artiste, Ajit worked for many English, Marathi and Hindi theatre, TV Serial and advertising productions along with renowned actors and directors. Later in 1994, he formed his own Production House - Maitri Productions and brought in some path-breaking works of art. His unique 'mono-act' performance based on R.K. Laxman's famous 'Common Man' received loud applause from critics and audiences in India and abroad. He also acted and produced Sakhkhe Shejari of Sai paranjpe, Pati Gele ga Kathewadi of Vyankatesh Madgulkar and 'Educating Rita' (English) of Will Russel and many such pieces of theatre art.
Apart from being a celebrated and talented theatre person, Ajit also proved to be a talented, learned and impartial theatre critic. His regular columns of critical appreciation of Marathi plays often created flutters in the theatre circuits. His columns of theatre appreciation appeared in well-circulated English language newspapers like 'The Economic Times', 'The Independent' and 'Maharashtra Times' in Marathi (all Times publications) and 'The pioneer'.
In short, Ajit Kelkar is undoubtedly a talented, dedicated artiste par excellence with an aptitude of relentless efforts and experimentation.
- Bharatkumar Raut