Upendra Limaye Theatre
In 1987, Upendra Limaye enrolled in Lalit Kala Kendra, the Centre for Performing Arts in Pune, to major in dramatic art.

While studying there, he came in contact with three drama devotees, Sanjay Pawar, Subodh Pande and Abhay Godse who, like him, dreamt of doing something different in the theatre field. So, in 1988, the four friends got together and founded an Experimental Theatre platform called ‘Parichay’, and launched their novel dramatic movement.

Totally immersed in the venture, the next three years saw Upendra appearing in several one-act and other plays, bagging numerous best actor, best director awards as well as the prestigious ‘Purushottam Trophy’ in state-level drama competitions. In 1990, he appeared in director Satish Alekar’s play, ‘Atireki’. He also featured in Parichay-produced play, ‘Kon Mhanato Takka Dila’ which became a huge success in the state-level drama competition and drew high praise from famous theatre personalities like writer-actor P. L. Deshpande, renowned actor Nilu Phule and others.

Upendra had always believed that an actor should not restrict himself or herself to just one platform or one dramatic discipline, because it could impose severe restrictions, limit the actor’s growth and shut off other positive influences. That’s why, while he continued his active role with ‘Parichay’, he welcomed the opportunities offered by outside avenues.

Among them, a prominent one was Germany’s Grips Theatre Activity, which was primarily Children’s Theatre in which adult actors enacted the roles of children. First introduced in India in 1984-85 by renowned actor Dr Mohan Agashe, it was being vigorously boosted in Pune in the early 90s by director Srirang Godbole. While Children’s Theatre in India till then usually had childlike subjects as themes, such as kings and queens, magic, animal and birds, Grips Theatre had children’s contemporary issues as themes, like casteism, single-parent problems, modern traffic, pollution and others.

Thoroughly impressed and attracted by the prospect of playing the role of a child, Upendra eagerly attached himself to this new mode. From 1990 onwards for five years, he acted in numerous Grips Theatre plays, an actor in his 30s transforming himself into a child of 8 or 9. One of his Grips plays, ‘Pahila Paan’ was staged over 200 times. As an actor’s exercise, it proved to be significantly valuable, teaching him “flexibility of mind, of body, to bring credibility to difficult roles.” It helped him grow as an actor.

Another one was his involvement in the Industrial Drama field. For five years, he directed numerous full-length plays for Pune-based Kirloskar Oil Engines. Staged all over the state, his plays twice won the 1st prize and once the 2nd prize in the Maharashtra State Industrial Dramatic competition. These plays cemented his reputation as a director.

During these years, he also attended various workshops in Pune, conducted by professional experts, relating to different aspects of drama and films. His purpose was simple: learn as much as possible about everything, not just acting.

One of these workshops was to result in his first collaboration as a technician with an internationally famed personality. David Greaves, the world famous mime theatre actor/director, held a 10-days workshop in Pune during which he organised an hour-long mime show. Upendra did the light designing for it, which was greatly lauded.

Another significant event marked a milestone during this period. Upendra got the assignment to direct a stage-show, ‘Sakhi Mazi Lavni.’ Produced by actress and lavni dancer Madhu Kambikar and choreographed by National award-winning artist, Laxmibai Kolhapurkar, it was unlike any other lavni show. A magnus opus, ‘Sakhi Mazi Lavni’ presented a sweeping view of traditional lavni, focusing on its origin as an art form, its base of classical music and its purity, its development and popularity, its deterioration over the years and its present pitiable state. Staged over 100 times all across the country, it became the first lavni show to earn unanimous critical acclaim.

Thus, in the decade following the founding of ‘Parichay,’ Upendra Limaye had blossomed, not just into a versatile actor, but also a competent director, light designer, backstage artist, stage designer. An actor playing diverse roles, not only on stage, but off the stage, too.

After having worked in over 25 different experimental one-act plays, Upendra Limaye acted in several mainstream dramas.

Some of Upendra Limaye's major Marathi plays:
Play
Director
Character
Atireki
Satish Alekar
Baboo
Kon Mhanato Takka Dila
Subodh Pande
Kachrya
Amhi Jato Amucha Gava
Subodh Pande
Rasva
Jallai Tuzi Preet
Waman Kendre
Namya
Yethe Chestechi Maskari Hote
Vidyasagar Mahajan
Prosper
Niyati Cha Bailala
Subodh Pande
CM
Shevatcha Dis
Jyoti Subhash
Nagesh
Gaaicha Shapana
Sanjay Pawer
Iblis
Dr. Aap Bhi
Chandrakant Kulkarni
Pawar
Superhit No. 1
Vinay Apte
Saccha
Pahila Paan
Srirang Godbole
Dhaboo

Major Marathi plays he has directed:
Play
Written By
Sati
Sanjay Pawar
AK-47
Sanjay Pawar
Kalay Tasmaye Namah
Chintamani Khanolkar
Aai Shappath
Mangesh Kulkarni
Na Dilela Nakar
Sanjay Pawar
Sakhi Mazi Lavni
Sanjay Pawar