Padmashree Dr. Mohan Agashe is a man of discerning words that spring from the experience of diverse worlds. A psychiatrist by instruction and an actor by intuition, his professional strides are a fascinating blend of natural progression and conscious design. No wonder, he has left an indelible mark across different spheres - whether through his compelling stage performances, remarkable screen presence, innovative theatre movements, incisive papers or rigorously executed health projects. At 61, his zeal to learn is as luminous as his zest for life, finds Sudhir Raikar in this exclusive tete-a-tete with the unassuming thespian.
Internationally acclaimed actor and mental health expert, Dr Mohan Agashe stole the limelight in the 1980s in his role as the Machiavellian Nana Phadnavis in Vijay Tendulkar’s legendary play `Ghashiram Kotwal.’ The play, showcased at International festivals in the decade of the 1980s also won him national accolades in the form of `Padmashree Award’ in the 1990 and `Sangeet Natak Academy Award’ in 1996. He reached the pinnacle of his acting career through succession of plays and award winning films under noted directors Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair, Gautam Ghose and Jabbar Patel.
In the 1990s, Agashe’s unique contribution to theatre manifested through the launching of `Grips Theatre’ in India on the Berlin model where children’s plays revolve around real life experiences of emotions and environment rather than fantasies. This novel experimental theatre earned him prestigious German awards 'Bundesverdienstkreuz' (the Cross of Order of Merit) in 2001 and the 'Goethe Medal' in 2004