“He was a great artist, equally comfortable in two mediums– theatre and cinema– establishing new dimensions in the art of acting,” says Prof. Waman Kendre, former director of National School of Drama and a prominant theatre director, at the demise of Dr. Shriram Lagoo, at the age of 92, “Professionally highly disciplened, always exploring his craft to achieve perfection and always contious of his social duty as an artist. Today in his death indian theatre has lost its icon and aspiring artists have lost a true father figure.”
Theatre audiance experienced the magic of his craft. An artist who adhered to realistic style of acting enriching realism in contemporary indian theatre. The way he revealed the inner emotional and psychological state of his characters remain unparalled. His intiricate facial expressions, bodily movements and his delicate movements of fingures and total concentration on his character and dialogue delivery with meaningful pauses– all portrait a living character that continued to haunt the memory of the audience for long. In the words of Prof. Waman Kendre, “Dr. Lagoo will continue to inspire generations of indian actors.”
Highly qualified and traind abroad as ENT surgeon, Dr. Lagoo did practice as a surgeon only for a few years, but he devoted himself to his first love– that theatre. As a rationalist, he always was in search of new ideas and art forms to expose superstitions. His artistic vision was huministic and scientific. His all time great portrayals are in the lead roles in Natsamrat, Kanyadaan, Himalachi Sawali and Giddh.
Remembering Dr. Lagoo, Abhiram Bhadkamkar, NSD graduate and playwright says, ” Dr. lagoo interacted with young theatre practitionars. He read three drafts of my play Sawal Apna Apna, which is against religious bigotry, giving me valuable suggestions. This was Dr. Lagoo, who took so much pain to guide a young playwright. Today we theatre practitionars feel that in the death of Dr. Lagoo we have lost our guide, philospher and friend. Young artist would simply love to listen to his lectures on theatre, social concerns and the need to develop scintific tempor.”
“He always emphasised that art should be devoted to be social progress and make people concious about reactionary forces in society,” says Prof. Waman Kendre.
“He also founded organisations devoted to social causes. As a path-finder in the field of theatrical art, he will always be remembered alongwith great pioneers of contemporary indian stalwarts like Habib Tanvir, E. Alkazi and B.V.Karanth. Though based in Maharashtra and doing Marathi theatre, He was truly an indian artist who inspired contemporary theatre artist of all regions. Hindi theatre world was inspired by him to a great extent.” He constituted Tanveer Samman in the memory of his son, Tanveer Lagoo, for the promising stalwarts.
Remembering Dr. Lagoo, Bhanu Bharti, eminent theatre directer, playwright and designer, comments, “When he appeared on the Marathi stage alongwith Vijaya Mehta, the entire character of the Marathi theatre changed. It made Vijay Tendulakar’s plays possible to stage, whose plays could only be staged only in a realistic style. For the first time his art where he is required to perform five different roles in Mohan Rakesh’s Adhe Adhure and he did an excellent job of it and his performance in Natsamrat propelled him on the top, not only in marathi theatre but on national theatre scene, and also his role in Sakharam Binder was excellent. He was one of the greatest theatre and film actor that india has produced. His passing away is a great loss to indian theatre and film world.”
लेखक दीवान सिंह बजेली रंगकर्म और सिनेमा के जाने माने पत्रकार हैं.