Famous Indian Playwrights

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 1 Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 2 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Famous As: Independence Activist, Reformer
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

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 3 Girish Karnad

Girish Karnad
Famous As: Linguist, Author, Film director, Actor, Translator, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Matheran, Maharashtra, India

Actor, film director and playwright, Girish Karnad was also a Rhodes Scholar with a Masters degree in philosophy, political science and economics. A prolific writer, he authored scores of plays in Kannada, which were later translated into other languages. Also an eminent actor, film director and screenwriter, he was conferred with numerous awards including the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

 4 Tanikella Bharani

Tanikella Bharani
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Secunderabad, Hyderabad State (now Telangana), India

 5 Jaishankar Prasad

Jaishankar Prasad
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: January 30, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Varanasi
Died: January 14, 1937

Jaishankar Prasad was an Indian poet and an important figure in modern Hindi theatre and Hindi literature. Along with Mahadevi Verma, Sumitranandan Pant, and Suryakant Tripathi, Prasad is counted among the Four Pillars of Romanticism in Hindi literature.

 6 Nissim Ezekiel

Nissim Ezekiel
Famous As: poet
Birthdate: December 14, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: January 9, 2004

 7 Vijay Tendulkar

Vijay Tendulkar
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: January 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kohalpur, India
Died: May 19, 2008

Apart from his 28 full-length plays, renowned dramatist Vijay Tendulkar had also penned many short stories and a novel. Apart from winning the Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, he also won a National Award for penning the screenplay of the Shyām Benegal film Manthan.

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 8 Crazy Mohan

Crazy Mohan
Famous As: screenwriter
Birthdate: October 16, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tamil Nadu

 9 Bharatendu Harishchandra

Bharatendu Harishchandra
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 9, 1850
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Varanasi, India
Died: January 6, 1885

Bharatendu Harishchandra was a 19th-century Hindi writer and poet who is regarded as the father of Hindi literature as well as Hindi theater. He authored numerous dramas, travel accounts, and life sketches. He mainly wrote about the issues faced by Indians, such as poverty, exploitation, and class struggles. A nationalist, he urged Indians to prioritize Indian-made products. 

 10 Shiv Kumar Batalvi

Shiv Kumar Batalvi
Famous As: Author, Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 23, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Barapind
Died: May 7, 1973

Shiv Kumar Batalvi was an Indian writer, poet, and playwright who predominantly wrote in the Punjabi language. In 1967, he became the youngest person to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award for his epic verse play Loona, which is regarded as a masterpiece in Punjabi literature. The Shiv Kumar Batalvi Auditorium, which is located in Batala, was constructed in his honor.

 11 Piyush Mishra

Piyush Mishra
Famous As: Screenwriter, Music director, Actor, Singer, Lyricist, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: India

 12 Michael Madhusudan Dutt

Michael Madhusudan Dutt
Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: January 25, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jessore District
Died: June 29, 1873

Michael Madhusudan Dutt was an Indian poet, dramatist, and writer who predominantly wrote in the Bengali language. A pioneer of Bengali drama, Dutt is widely considered the most skilled poet in the history of Bengali literature. His life and career inspired the 1950 drama film Michael Madhusudhan, in which Dutt was played by Indian actor Utpal Dutt.

 13 Aśvaghoṣa

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0080 AD
Birthplace: Ayodhya, India
Died: 0150 AD

Aśvaghoṣa was an Indian Buddhist philosopher, poet, dramatist, and orator. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Indian poets of all time, Aśvaghoṣa was the most popular and important poet among a group of Buddhist court writers. He is credited with writing two of the most important Sanskrit-language poems held dear by the Buddhist community—Buddhacharita and Saundarananda.

 14 Bhisham Sahni

Bhisham Sahni
Famous As: actor, writer, children's writer
Birthdate: August 8, 1915
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rawalpindi
Died: July 11, 2003

 15 Anand Gandhi

Anand Gandhi
Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 26, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mumbai

 16 Bhāsa

Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: 0200 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0300 AD
Bhāsa was an Indian playwright whose works in the Sanskrit language predates Kalidasa. Regarded as one of the most celebrated Sanskrit-language playwrights of all time, Bhāsa based most of his plays on the Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. His manuscripts, which had been lost for many years, were rediscovered in the 20th century.

 17 Sukumar Ray

Sukumar Ray
Famous As: Photographer, Poet, Writer, Illustrator, Playwright, Children's writer
Birthdate: October 30, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: September 10, 1923

Sukumar Ray was a 19th-century Bengali writer and poet born in British India. He is most remembered for his writings for children. He was born into a prominent family as the son of a famous writer, painter, and instrumentalist. Sukumar Ray worked during the pinnacle of the Bengal Renaissance and was close friends with Rabindranath Tagore. 


 18 Gollapudi Maruti Rao

Gollapudi Maruti Rao
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 14, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vizianagaram, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died: December 12, 2019

Gollapudi Maruti Rao is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of Telugu literature and cinema. Initially a journalist with Andhra Prabha, he later also acted in plays and worked for All India Radio. He has won multiple Nandi Awards, both as an actor and as a screenwriter.

 19 Abhijat Joshi

Abhijat Joshi
Famous As: writer, screenwriter
Birthdate: January 12, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ahmedabad

 20 C. Narayana Reddy

C. Narayana Reddy
Famous As: Author, Politician, Poet, Lyricist, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 29, 1931
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Karimnagar district

C. Narayana Reddy was an Indian writer and poet who predominantly wrote in the Telugu language. A prolific writer, Reddy produced more than 80 literary works including ghazals, lyrical plays, prose-plays, poems, and translations. In 1973, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his work Mantalu Manavudu. In 1988, he was honored with the prestigious Jnanpith Award for Viswambhara.    

 21 Jeyamohan

Birthdate: April 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nagercoil

 22 Joy Mathew

Joy Mathew
Famous As: film director, playwright, actor
Birthdate: December 30, 1951
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Thrissur

 23 Abhinavagupta

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0950 AD
Birthplace: Kashmir
Died: 1016 AD

Abhinavagupta was a 1st-century philosopher, mystic, and aesthetician from Kashmir. He was also known as a musician, dramatist, theologian, and poet. Born into a family of scholars and mystics, he received his training from multiple teachers. His best-known work is Tantrāloka, an encyclopedic treatise covering a wide range of topics. Despite traveling widely, he was not a wandering monk. 

 24 Bhavabhuti

Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India

Eighth-century scholar Bhavabhuti spent most of his career as the court poet of Yashovarman, the king of Kannauj. Best known for his plays Mahāvīracharita, Malatimadhava, and Uttararamacharita, Bhavabhuti displayed fine characterization and suspenseful climaxes in his works. He was often compared to Kalidasa, another classical Sanskrit author.

 25 Javed Siddiqui

Javed Siddiqui
Famous As: Screenwriter, Playwright, Journalist
Birthdate: January 13, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: India

One of the best-known screenwriters of Indian cinema, Javed Siddiqui had worked with the stalwarts of the Indian film industry, such as Satyajit Ray and Yash Chopra. The two-time Filmfare winner had penned dialogues for blockbusters such as Umrao Jaan and Baazigar. A part of IPTA, he had penned plays, too.

 26 Bishnu Prasad Rabha

Bishnu Prasad Rabha
Famous As: Politician, Writer
Birthdate: January 31, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Died: June 20, 1969

Remembered as a cultural icon of Assam, Bishnu Prasad Rabha is popularly known as the Assamese Leonardo da Vinci and Kalaguru. A musician known for composing Rabha Sangeet, he also penned poems and was a skilled dancer. He was later associated with the Revolutionary Communist Party of India.

 27 Habib Tanvir

Habib Tanvir
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: September 1, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Raipur, India
Died: June 8, 2009

Habib Tanvir was an Indian playwright, poet, theatre director, and actor. A pioneer in Hindi and Urdu theatre, Tanvir is best remembered for his iconic plays like Charandas Chor and Agra Bazar. During his illustrious career, which spanned more than six decades, Habib Tanvir received several prestigious awards like Padma Bhushan, Kalidas Samman, Jawarharlal Nehru Fellowship, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.

 28 Rajinder Singh Bedi

Rajinder Singh Bedi
Famous As: Playwright, Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 1, 1915
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sialkot
Died: November 11, 1984

 29 Ratnakar Matkari

Ratnakar Matkari
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mumbai
Died: May 17, 2020

 30 Ali Sardar Jafri

Ali Sardar Jafri
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 29, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: August 1, 2000

Padma Shri- and Jnanpith Award-winning Urdu poet Ali Sardar Jafri completed his education from Zakir Husain College after being expelled from Aligarh Muslim University for his Communist activities. Known for works such as Manzil and Patthar Ki Deewar, he had also penned lyrics for films such as Pardesi.

 31 Santha Rama Rau

Santha Rama Rau
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 24, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chennai, India
Died: April 21, 2009

 32 Ajit Das

Ajit Das
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 20, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Karanjia, Odisha, British Raj India
Died: September 13, 2020

 33 Asit Bandopadhyay

Asit Bandopadhyay
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: September 17, 2020

 34 Jaideep Sahni

Jaideep Sahni
Famous As: Screenwriter, Musician
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: New Delhi

 35 Juhi Chaturvedi

Juhi Chaturvedi
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: 1975 AD
Birthplace: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

 36 Makhanlal Chaturvedi

Makhanlal Chaturvedi
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 4, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Babai, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: January 30, 1968

 37 Vishakhadatta

Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0750 AD

 38 Vishnu Prabhakar

Vishnu Prabhakar
Famous As: Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: June 21, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Miranpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: April 11, 2009

Hindi author Vishnu Prabhakar created history when he became the first from his state Haryana to win a Sahitya Akademi award, a coveted literary award in India. Primarily known for his novels and stories, he had also penned poems. Awara Masiha and Ardhanarishwar remain two of his best-known works.