Madhusudan Vallabhdas Thaker is a Gujarati playwright, novelist and a story writer, writing under pen name “Madhu Rye.” He is currently working as freelance court interpreter with New Jersey Courts system in Gujarati, Hindi and Bengali languages.
Early Life and Education
He was born in 1942 in Jamkhambhaliya, Jamnagar a city in Gujarat. He was raised and educated in Kolkata, West Bengal. In 1967 when he was 25, he migrated back to Ahmedabad and joined Navneetlal and Co. as a marketing writer and after that at the age of 32 he shifted to the Evansville, USA.
He has completed B.A. from University of Calcutta in 1963. In 1970 he went for Stagecraft training from East-west Center, University of Hawaii in Honolulu, USA and also holding a degree in M.A. with creative writing from University of Evansville, USA in 1976.
Inspiration for writing
He started participating in literary contests due to his financial circumstances. He wrote his first short story for a contest and won second prize. He is inspired by few writers like Pirandello, Durrenmatt, Mamet, Bradburry and many more. His main source of inspiration comes from the life which he lives and people surrounding him. He was also encouraged by Mr. Shivkumar Joshi and Mr. Chandrakant Bakshi to write his own short stories which helped him get noticed in Gujarat and Mumbai literary circles where his works won prizes in competitions. He says an invitation from editors inspires him to write and it makes one feels “needed”.
Interesting facts of life
Remarkable facts about him are that he is not just a story writer but he is also a play writer and a novelist. The most outstanding fact about him is that he has written his plays adapted from renowned English writers and also written plays from his own works. He has written one of his plays in English language. He is a very versatile writer and uses many mediums such as English, Gujarati and Bengali to create literature. He is also familiar with works of foreign writers such as English and Brazilian-American.
His first short story was for a contest and after that he wrote a suspense story named ‘Banshi Naamni Ek Chhokri’ in 1964 written for a literary annual which was edited by Mr. Shivkumar Joshi. He never chose a subject, just a peculiar turns of phrase which sketches out various characters which in turn morph into a story.
Content Published and Acknowledgement
His first short story was ‘Banshi Naamni Ek Chhokri’. In 1972 he wrote a collection of twenty-eight stories in traditional as well as “harmonica” style named ‘Roopkatha’. His other stories named ‘Kaalsarp’ and ‘Kautuk’ had humor and imagination.
He has written several plays named ‘Koi Pan Ek Phool Nu Naam Bolo To’ in 1968 which was later translated into fourteen languages, and it was broadcast by the All India Radio. Further it was adapted as a telefilm by Ketan Mehta for Doordarshan, ‘Kumar ni Agashi’ in1975 which created a sensation in the field of Gujarati theatre. His other plays are as ‘Pankor Nake Jaake’, ‘Sura Ane Shatrujeet’ and ‘Aapne Club ma Malya Hata’. His one-act plays are ‘Ashwatthama’ in 1973, ‘Aapnu Evun’, and ‘Kanta Kahe’. ‘Aakanth’ is a collection of selected twenty-three plays with novel ideas from more than fifty plays by various writers which were written during the activities of Aakanth Sabarmati. His plays were performed by the Indian National Theatre, directed by Mr. Pravin Joshi. His first English language play was ‘Mrs Moorthy’. Later he also adapted several plays into Gujarati which includes Friedrich Dürrenmatt‘s ‘The Visit’ as ‘Sharat’, George Bernard Shaw‘s ‘Pygmalion’ as ‘Santu Rangeeli’ and Anthony Shaffer‘s ‘Sleuth’ as ‘Khelando.’ His Gujarati adaptation of Dale Wasserman‘s play ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ was also successful.
His experimental novel in 1966 was ‘Chehra’. His novel ‘Kimble Ravenswood’ in 1973 is a story of a non-resident Indian searching for a bride in India and this story was later adapted into plays in several languages including ‘The Suitable Bride’ in English, ‘Yogesh Patelnu Vevishal’ in Gujarati. It was also adapted into a TV series titled ‘Mr. Yogi’ in 1989 and a film directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar named ‘What’s Your Rashee?’ in hindi cinema. ‘Kalpataru’ in 1987 is his mysterious science fiction novel. He also adapted three novels from his own plays; ‘Kamini’ (1970) from ‘Koi Pan Ek Phool Nu Naam Bolo To’ (1968), ‘Sabha’ (1972) from ‘Kumarni Agashi’ (1975), ‘Saapbaji’ from ‘Aapne Club ma Malya Hata’ which are psychological thrillers. His other novels are ‘Mukhsukh’ and ‘Sura, Sura, Sura.’
He has also written various essays published as weekly columns in several publications, such as ‘Navroz’, ‘Janmabhoomi’, ‘Samkaleen’, and ‘Abhiyaan.’ Since 2008 he is also writing a weekly column ‘Neele Gagan Ke Tale’ for Gujarati newspaper ‘Divya Bhaskar’.
His other essay collections are ‘Mann Ki Been’, ‘Sepia’, ‘Dil Ki Gali’, ‘Kefiyat.’ He has also translated three works into Gujarati which includes ‘The Scarlet Letter’, ‘Heaven Knows, ‘Mr. Allison, and ‘The Light in the Forest’.
He has also published nine articles in Matrubharti Website out of which his three articles such as ‘ન્યુ જર્સી સિટીમાં ઝળહળ કસુંબી’, ‘સેક્સ અને સંગીતની ચડસાચડસી’ and ‘ટ્રમ્પ અને બક્ષી: રાત અને દિવસ’ are most downloaded and liked by readers on Matrubharti.
His few books are also available on amazon website which are ‘Kimbal Ravenswood’, ‘Tell Me the Name of a Flower and the Terrace’, ‘Kaamini’, ‘Chahera’, ‘Jigar Na Jaam’, ‘Kanta Kahe’ and ‘Sura Sura Sura’.
He gets ideas from his daily life and speech patterns of individuals overheard in public places and public transports.
Authors and Books he likes
His favorite authors are Gerorge Simenon, Truman Capote and many more from many languages including Gujarati. More than books he is drawn to cinema of late. Some of his favorite books are ‘Vertigo’, ‘Usual Suspects’ and ‘House of Games’. His favorite playwrights are Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and William Inge. He was impressed by a younger writer David Rabe’s play named ‘Basic Training of Pavlov of hammel’ and also a play ‘SCHUBERT’S UNFINISHED SYMPHONY’ by Juli Bowaso, a Brazilian-American writer.
Support in his Journey of Writing
He owes a major debt to Mr. Shivkumar Joshi because he was the one who unconditionally supported his writing. He considers Mr. Pravin Joshi as an unbridled admirer. His contemporaries then later, stimulated competitive spirit. Since last 40 years he has been writing for sparsely except for regular columns.
Few words about Matrubharti
He came to know about Matrubharti via an email from Mr. Mahendra Sharma. He likes the concept of Matrubharti, the way what Matrubharti is doing sounds him very brave.
Honored by Awards
He was awarded by ‘Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak’ award in 1999 for his lifetime achievement. He was awarded with ‘Narmad Chandrak’ award and he also received the ‘Bhupen Khakhar’ award in 2004 for his play, ‘Sura Ane Shatrujeet’.