Monday, December 14, 2009
Chitre helped organise an event to observe the first death anniversary of Arun Kolatkar (अरुण कोलटकर) in September 2005.
I attended it.
It was an informal gathering, almost the exact opposite of the one I described earlier: Vinda Karandikar's book release function.
It was chaotic. A lot more younger people. Mobile phones kept ringing loudly the whole evening.
Number of people spoke on Kolatkar. Fighting back tears, I too piled on.
Maybe Kolatkar would have liked it that way! Chitre certainly seemed to enjoy!
There I saw a short-film made by Chitre on Kolatkar. It was made when Kolatkar was terminally ill.
Later I read someone complaining that Chitre didn't write something 'great' on Kolatkar when he died. He couldn't have. His creative juices had already oozed out in the form of the film.
Kolatkar will probably be remembered as a better poet than Chitre. I don't know why but I thought Chitre wanted to be a lot more than just a poet.
Sometimes I thought he was not entirely happy being just Tukaram's great follower. He wanted to be in Tukaram's league! Perhaps Marathi speaking Leonardo da Vinci?
He may not have succeeded but what an ambition! In Robert Browning's words:
"...He would not discount life, as fools do here,
Paid by instalment.
He ventured neck or nothing-heaven's success
Found, or earth's failure:.."
Chitre seemed to have almost given up writing poetry for a long time while Kolatkar sought new horizons with a masterly work like Bhijaki Vahi (भिजकी वही) in his final years. (Kolatkar himself was creatively very ambitious. He wanted to be a figure like Bob Dylan and learnt to play Pakhavaj in later years of his life.)
I thought they two were like Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. You take your pick.
In the passing of this duo, Marathi culture has seen the fall of two citadels. Our rugged landscape is poorer for it.