|Jaishankar Bhojak 'Sundari'|
|Born||Jaishankar Bhudhardas Bhojak
30 January 1889
Undhai near Visnagar, Gujarat
|Died||22 January 1975
|Other names||Jaishankar 'Sundari'|
|Occupation||theatre actor and director|
|Years active||1897 – 1932 (acting), 1948 – 1962 (direction)|
Jaishankar Bhudhardas Bhojak, (30 January 1889 – 22 January 1975) better known by his theatre name Jaishankar 'Sundari' , is an Indian actor and director of Gujarati theatre.
He was born in Bhojak clan of Brahmin family, in Undhai near Visnagar on 30 January 1889. However, his family members were traditionally involved in performing arts and singing. He studied up to second standard. He was trained in performing arts and singing by his grandfather, Tribhuvandas who himself was trained by Ustad Fakhruddin. He was also trained in music by Vadilal Nayak.
He started his career by joining Dadabhai Thuthi's Urdu performing art company in Calcutta in 1897. Later he joined Chotalal Kapadia's Mumbai Gujarati Natak Mandali in 1901. Along with Gujarati, he also performed in Hindi and Urdu languages. He mainly performed as a female impersonator as females were not allowed in theatres in those times.
He played role of Desdemona as a female impersonator in Saubhagya Sundari, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello by Parsi theatre in Bombay. It was successful and Jaishankar was nicknamed Sundari. He also performed as a female lead opposite Bapulal Nayak several times. He along with Bapulal brought Govardhanram Tripathi's Saraswatichandra, plays of Nrisinh Vibhakar and Mulshankar Mulani. He retired in 1932 and returned to Visnagar.
He was active in Ahmedabad from 1948 to 1962 as a director in theatre. Later he organised a performing troupe and theatre school, Natamandal with Rasiklal Parikh and Ganesh Mavlankar. He revived Bhavai, the traditional performing art form, by directing Mithyabhiman, a satirical play by Dalpatram. They produced several plays like Mena Gujri in 1953 which synthesised Bhavai and Beijing Opera.
He was received the Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak in 1951. He was felicitated by Gujarat Rajya Sangeet Nrutya Akademi in 1967. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for drama direction in 1957. He also received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India in 1971.
His autobiography Thoda Aansu, Thoda Phool was in part written and in part dictated to his son Dinkar Bhojak by him and was published in 1976. Later it was translated into English as Some Blossoms, Some Tears.
The play Sundari : An Actor Prepares based on his autobiography was produced in 1998.
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