Born on 9 October 1939 in the village of Parwa in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, Shri Mahesh Elkunchwar is an eminent figure in modern Indian drama. He is based in Nagpur, where he took his Master's degree in English (1963), and where he has taught for almost years (1963-2000). He has been guest faculty at the National School of Drama, New Delhi, intermittently over these years, and has later taught screenplay-writing at FTII in Pune (2000-01).
Shri Elkunchwar is the author of about twenty plays in Marathi that have contributed to an upsurge in the Marathi theatre since the late 1960s, attracting some of its most talented directors and actors. His first one-act plays Sultan and Holi, published in the reputed journal Satyakatha (1967, 1969), were produced by Vijaya Mehta for Rangayan in Bombay (1970). In the eight plays that followed over the next five years, Shri Elkunchwar delved into themes such as death, loneliness, and the purposelessness of life. After the production of Party (1976), a discussion play, Shri Elkunchwar took time off to write screenplays of that play and Holi for films by Govind Nihalani and Ketan Mehta, and to act in the former's film Akrosh (1980). In the classic Wada Chirebandi (1985), he turned his attention upon a social theme, examining the encroachment of urban values on the life of a feudal household. His plays after a long hiatus, Magna Talyakathi and Yuganta (1994), explore this theme further, and together constitute the Wada trilogy.
Shri Elkunchwar's subsequent plays such as Atmakatha (1988), Vasani Jirnani (1996), Dharamputra (l997), and Sonata (200I) are concerned with the nature of art and reality, death, and interpersonal relationships. This varied output of subtly crafted plays undoubtedly marks out Shri Mahesh Elkunchwar as an outstanding dramatist of our times. His plays have been translated into several Indian and European languages, and are regarded as part of India's post-colonial theatrical canon.
Shri Elkunchwar is a recipient of the Homi Bhabha Fellowship (1976-78), the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for playwriting (1989), the Sahitya Akademi Award (2002), the Saraswati Samman (2003), the Brittingham Fellowship of the University of Wisconsin, U.S.A. (2005), and the Janasthan Puraskar (2011).
For his contribution to Indian theatre, Shri Mahesh Elkunchwar is elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi.