Dilip Prabhavalkar is by far one of the finest thespians on Marathi stage today. His career, spanning a period of over thirty years, encompasses his accomplishments from the children's theatre and experimental stage to professional Marathi theatre, television serials and films. The following is a brief overview of his contribution and achievements in each of these fields.
Academically, Dilip Prabhavalkar has a Master's degree in Biophysics and a diploma from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai. Initially, he worked for a pharmaceutical company for many years and later, was a partner in a video production unit. During this period, he performed as an actor in several children's plays and experimental plays staged at Chhabildas. His first major performance in 'Lobh Nasava Hi Vinanti' a play written by Vijay Tendulkar and directed by Arvind Deshpande, was very impressive. In 1991, however, he decided to give up this dual existence of working and doing plays simultaneously and chose acting as a career.
In the Children's and Amateur theatre, Prabhavalkar was associated with Ratnakar Matkari's group and performed in all the plays staged by the troupe. His performances were always unique because of his systematic and studied approach to the role, the understanding of the character he had to play and his spontaneity. His brilliant performance as 'the witch' in 'Albatya Galbatya' is still remembered by those who saw it then.
Prabhavalkar also acted in the experimental plays staged by Matkari's troupe and his performances of a simpleton in 'Prem Kahani' and Vidur in 'Aranyak' - a play based on the Mahabharat - were awarded prizes at the Maharashtra State Drama Festival.
From the experimental stage, Prabhavalkar very easily moved to the professional stage in 1976, and since then has given several brilliant performances in a variety of plays of different categories - from slapstick to light comedy, family drama and melodrama, to serious discussion plays dealing with contemporary issues. The following few examples indicate the vastitude of his range and his capabilities:
1. Double role as Anna and the mother-in-law in Pradeep Dalvi's farce 'Vasuchi Sasu'.
2. The young as well as old Rajabhau in 'Chook Bhool Dyavi Ghyavi' - a light comedy written by Prabhavalkar himself, which traces in a humorous manner, the 50 year old relationship between a married couple.
3. The caring but extremely possessive father in Ratnakar Matkari's 'Jawai Maza Bhala' - a light family drama.
4. The lovably senile Nana of the old lonely couple in Jaywant Dalvi's 'Sandhyachhaya'.
5. The double role of the debonair, flirtatious Raje and a local rustic constable in Prof. Toradmal's 'Kalam 302'(adaptation of 'Sleuth').
6. The alcoholic but intelligent and charming barrister in Matkari's 'Ghar Tighancha Hava' (a play on the life of Tarabai Modak).
7. The nondescript but determined, very idealistic common man in P. L. Deshpande's 'Ek Zunj Waryashi' (adaptation of 'The Last Appointment').
8. The anguished father who sacrifices
every comfort for his mentally handicapped son in Jaywant Dalvi's 'Natigoti'.
9. Six different characterisations in 'Hasvaphasvi' - a laugh riot penned and directed by Prabhavalkar himself. The characters are Chimanrao, Prince Wantung Pin Pin- an oriental monarch, Nana Punje- a street smart trader, Dipti Prabhavalkar Patel Lumumba - a feisty lady, Bobby Mod- a pseudo westernised young man with a punky style and Krishnarao Herambkar- an octogenarian singer actor. 'Hasvaphasvi' has been appreciated by all types of audiences and with 712 performances so far, it has become a milestone of Marathi theatre.