March 10, 2020

I was the first Indian theatre transgender who did many plays as a woman on the stageーBal Gandharva

Young Balgandharva 
The early life of Balgandharva was very fascinating and challenging, born with the name Narayan Shripad Rajhans in a typical brahmin family was not an ordinary boy. Maharashtra’s talent was first discovered by Tiak in a cultural program when he caught Rajhans singing passionately. Lokmanya Tilak, the great freedom fighter named him Balgandharva patting his back after his stunning performance where all the cheerful audience applauded. Though Rajhans was an expert in singing but had hearing problems, Shahu Maharaj from Kolhapur noticed his art and decided to help him overcome his hearing aid. His hard work and dedication led him on a successful path and brought him to the stage when he played many woman characters on the stage.
Indian women were not allowed to perform on the stage at that time, due to his beautiful face cut he was the only popular stage actor between 1905 to 1955 was also praised by Indian theater actor of Indian cinema Prithviraj Kapoor.
A fine painting of Balgandharva in his
female performance
(Image credit - Youtube)
His family life was a bit of unsuccessful and went through crises especially when he got married a second time. Since he was from a Brahmin family, he got married at a very young age, arranged by his family to beautiful Laxmibai. It lasted longer and went well, but due to his wife’s health issues, Laxmibai died after a successful 35 years of marriage. Life got him another surprise and after eleven years of loneliness he had fallen in love with Gauharbai Karnataki sister of Amirbai Karnataki,
she was a singer by profession, an assistance stage actor and from a Muslim community.
The second marriage had many crises and never been accepted by both families. Their life went through childless with many curses. While performing on the stage as a woman many Marathi praised him and thus he got many opportunities. He acted in 25 Marathi dramas, his song greatly appreciated. He also got the President and Padmabhushan awards from the government of India.
Among the most famous roles he played are as below, Bhamini, Rukhmini, Sindhu. Sharada, Vasantsena
Beautiful face of Rajhans
while performing
(Image credit - Youtube)
In Pune, a big Balgandharva Rang Mandir was built in 1968 inaugurated by the home minister of India Yashwant Rao Chauhan and Pu la Deshpande, popular Maharashtra's writer and humorist.
The original recording and voice of great Balgandharva

It is very hard to spend hours of reading, researching in-depth, and writing on this site, and I also have to spend a lot of money to exist online. Need your support by making a one-time payment or set a monthly donation. You can consider between tea and lunch, Donate here. Brain Figuring participates in the Amazon affiliate program where I can earn my fee on your purchase. Consider this link to buy anything from  Amazon.