Thank you for the laughs, Dinyar Contractor
Veteran actor and Padma Shri recipient leaves a void in Mumbai's theatrescape
From his role as Mr Lobo in the 2006 movie 36 China Town to playing a judge in Khichdi four years later, Dinyar Contractor’s endearing screen presence was one that struck an instant chord with Indian cinema lovers. But with the 79-year-old actor passing away this morning due to age-related illnesses, it will perhaps be the stage where his absence will be most sorely felt.
Though his ill health in the recent years kept him from being as active in Parsi theatre — he acted in several hit plays including Aadoshi vs Padoshi and Laughter in the House — as he used to be, he continued to play his part as a veteran thespian even outside the proscenium. Mid-day had got a glimpse of it in December 2015 while covering a finalist group’s preparation for the theatre competition, Draame Bawaas. The rehearsal was taking place at Contractor’s Rustom Baug residence in Bycull; there he was, seated in a corner of his living room, soaking in the joys of the live medium. “I am happy when I am watching theatre. I have been acting for 55 years. Watching these young actors fills my heart with hope for Parsi theatre,” he had said.
In January this year, Contractor was conferred with the Padma Shri. Recuperating from a spinal infection, he had to undertake an arduous journey to New Delhi. With all awardees invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the Independence Day celebration in August, he was keen on travelling back to the capital, Contractor had said in an interview. That, and his plan to do a mega production this year only leaves his audience grappling with a void that would hard to fill.
Contractor’s last rites will be performed later in the day at the all faith crematorium in Worli.
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