Actor Sulabha Deshpande, who passed away on Saturday. Sulabha Deshpande, who was 80, is known for films including Bhumika, Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan, English Vinglish as well as many TV serials and plays. Sulabha Deshpande was a recipient of the 1987 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindi-Marathi theater acting.

Over the years, Sulabha acted in scores of movies, mainly in lovable mother or grandmother roles in both Hindi and Marathi films, besides key roles in several TV serials and Marathi theater, her first love and earned critical acclaim as well as audience approval.

Starting her life as a teacher in Chhabildas High School, Dadar, Sulabha’s romance with theater began when she asked the famous author-director Vijay Tendulkar in the 1950s to write some plays for the school students. Tendulkar, along with Vijaya Mehta, Shriram Lagoo and Arvind Deshpande, who later married Sulabha, were the initiators of the experimental theater movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which she (Sulabha) joined subsequently.

Veteran theatre and film actor Sulabha Deshpande no more

On stage, she acted in Marathi plays like Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe, Sakharam Binder, Baba Harvale Aahet, among many others. She was seen on the small screen in serials like Rishtey, Badalte Rishte, Tanha and Mrs. Tendulkar among others. In 1971, Arvind and Sulabha co-founded Awishkar, a theatre group and its kids wing Chandrashala which imparts training and performs professional children’s theater.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis condoled the demise of Sulabha Deshpande. Devendra Fadnavis said, “The name ‘Sulbha Deshpande’ brings in front of our eyes that loving, caring mother in Marathi cinema. The news of her demise is saddening. Sulbhaji’s presence would be highly missed not only in Marathi and Hindi Cinema, but also in theatre and small screen. Her contribution will be remembered forever. My deepest condolences to her family and fans.”

Here is what the stars tweeted to express their sadness:

Sulabha Deshpande was associated with “Rangayan” a developing Marathi experimental theater group along with Tendulkar, Vijaya Mehta, and Satyadev Dubey. In 1971 she co-founded the theater group`Awishkar’ with her husband Arvind Deshpande who died in 1987. Throughout her career in Bollywood she had acted in over 733 films and also featured in several television serials.

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