Mahesh Dattani

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Mahesh Dattani
Born (1958-08-07) 7 August 1958 (age 62)
Bangalore, India
AwardsSahitya Akademi award

Mahesh Dattani (born 7 August 1958) is an Indian director, actor, playwright and writer. He wrote such plays as Final Solutions,[1] Dance Like a Man, Bravely Fought the Queen, On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, Tara, Thirty Days in September[2][3] and The Big Fat City.

He is the first playwright in English to be awarded the Sahitya Akademi award.[4] His plays have been directed by eminent directors like Arvind Gaur, Alyque Padamsee and Lillete Dubey.

Early life and background[edit]

Mahesh Dattani was born in Bangalore to Gujarati parents.[5][6] He went to Baldwin Boys High School and then went on to join St. Joseph's College, Bangalore.[7]

Dattani is a graduate in History, Economics and Political Science. He completed his post-graduate in Marketing and Advertising Management because he wanted to become a copywriter. He worked with the Bangalore Little Theatre, where his first role was in Utpal Dutt's Surya Shikhar.[8]

After reading Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? early in his life, he became interested in writing. He was also influenced by Gujarati playwright Madhu Rye’s Kumarni Agashi and developed an interest in play writing.[9]


Mahesh Dattani began his career as a copywriter in an advertising firm. In 1986, he wrote his first full-length play, Where There’s a Will, and since 1995, he has been working as a full-time theatre professional.[10] He has also worked with his father in the family business.[8]

Dattani is also a film director. His debut film is Mango Souffle, adapted from one of his plays. He also wrote and directed the movie Morning Raaga.[11]


  • Where There's a Will (1988)
  • Dance Like a Man (1989)
  • Bravely Fought the Queen (1991)
  • Final Solutions (1993)[12]
  • Do The Needful
  • On a Muggy Night in Mumbai (1998)
  • Seven Circles Round The Fire (Radio play for BBC) (Seven Steps around the Fire) (1998)[13]
  • 30 Days in September (2001)
  • The Girl Who Touched the Stars (2007)
  • Brief Candle (2009)
  • Where Did I Leave My Purdah (2012)
  • The Big Fat City (2012)




  • Dance Like a Man has won the award for the Best Picture in English awarded by the National Panorama in 1998
  • Sahitya Academy award for his book of plays Final Solutions and Other Plays
  • Sahitya Kala Parishad selected Final Solutions (1997), Tara (2000) and 30 Days in September (2007) as best productions of the year, directed by Arvind Gaur.


  1. ^ Deepa Punjani. "In Retrospect: Select plays of the 9th National Theatre Festival at Nehru Centre, Mumbai". Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  2. ^ Romesh Chander (30 March 2007). "Lifting the veil". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Stage On & Off". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 19 November 2005.
  4. ^ PTI (29 December 1998). "Sahitya Academy awards announced". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2 April 2009.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Rajan, Anjana (18 June 2014). "Paradox at play". The Hindu.
  6. ^ "Drama is about character revelation". The Thumb Print. 1 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Mahesh Dattani". Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b De, Aditi. "The Drama in Mahesh Dattani's Life". Man's World. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Madur (10 October 2011). "Mahesh Dattani". Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  11. ^ Bhawana Somaaya (22 November 2004). "Story teller". ScreenIndia. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  12. ^ Drama critics. "Mahesh Dattani's Final Solutions". Retrieved 2 April 2009.
  13. ^ Dattani, Mahesh (15 July 2013). Seven Steps around the Fire: A Radio Play. Penguin UK. ISBN 9789351182153.
  14. ^ Diwan Singh Bajali (20 February 2003). "Going bananas over Mango Souffle". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 April 2009.

9. G Baskaran, ed., Girish Karnad and Mahesh Dattani: Methods and Motives, Yking Books, Jaipur, 2012.

External links[edit]

  • Bhattacharya, Anindya. "Desire and the Postcolonial Nation" in Seven Steps around the Fire and Final Solutions. The Plays of Mahesh Dattani: An Anthology of Recent Criticism. Ed. Tutun Mukherjee. New Delhi: Pencraft International, 2012 (ISBN 978-93-82178-03-3), pp. 184–196.
  • Roy, Pinaki. "Mahesh Dattani's Final Solutions: A Brief Rereading". Mahesh Dattani: His Stagecraft in Indian Theatre. Ed. Bite, V. New Delhi: Authors Press, 2013 (ISBN 978-81-7273-737-5), pp. 111–24.
  • Das, B.K. "Mahesh Dattani's Dance Like a Man: A Thematic Study". The Atlantic Literary Review 15.3 (2014). Ed. Rama Kundu. New Delhi: Atlantic Pub., 2014 (ISBN 978-81-269-2052-5), pp. 73–80.
  • Das, B.K. "In Search of Shakespearean Echoes in Mahesh Dattani: A Study of The Big Fat City as a Critique of Contemporary Urban Indian Society". Yearly Shakespeare Vol. XIV (2016). Ed. Goutam Ghosal. Santiniketan: Sri Aurobindo Study Centre, 2016 (ISSN 0976-9536), pp. 60–69.
  • Das, B.K. "The Tale of an Imperial Kin: Unfolding the East-West Problematic in Mahesh Dattani's The Tale of a Mother Feeding Her Child". World Journal of Gender & Literature 4.1 (June 2017). Ed. Lata Mishra. New Delhi: Authorspress, 2017 (ISSN 2349-1620), pp. 135–142.