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For the love of theatre, TV, film and life — Bhakti Barve birthday special

On her 68th birth anniversary, we remember the news anchor-turned-actor who seemed to excel without effort.

Mayur Lookhar

Bhakti Barve started out with acting on stage and read news on All India Radio. But she entered the hearts, minds and homes of people across the country when she began appearing as a news anchor on Doordarshan, the only TV channel in the Seventies.

Shortly thereafter, in 1983, Kundan Shah’s cult comedy, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, added film glamour to Barve’s fame, making a star out of the young artist.

Broadcast journalists are adept at facing the camera, and so it wasn’t surprising when a news anchor made the switch to the silver screen.

Yet, in spite of this phenomenal film debut, Barve stuck to her first love: theatre. She was associated with leading groups like Theatre Unit, Indian National Theatre and Rangayan, and is remembered for performances in plays like Ti Phularani, Nag Mandala, Aayee Retire Hote Aahe and Hands Up.

Barve married actor Shafi Inamdar and co-star from the hit TV comedy show Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi. She returned to cinema with the 1998 critically-acclaimed film Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa.

She was left devastated after her husband’s death in 1996. Five years later, Barve herself died in a road accident on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. Barve while returning to Mumbai after performing a solo act Pu La Fulrani Aani Mee, her tribute to writer, humourist, actor, musician P L Deshpande.

Barve was 52 when she passed away. Yet she had already accomplished more than most artists would have by that age.