Sulabha Deshpande, one of the finest actors of Indian theatre and cinema, passed away at her Mumbai residence after a prolonged illness. The veteran actor, considered to be one of the pioneers of the experimental theatre movement that swept Bombay in the 1970s, was 79. She had also acted in memorable roles in movies like Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978), Gaman (1978), Bazaar (1982) and Ijaazat (1987). Among the recent movies, she had appeared in the Gauri Shinde-directed English Vinglish (2012).
She was associated with Rangayan, a leading Marathi experimental theatre group of Mumbai. In 1971, she co-founded the theatre group Awishkar with her husband Arvind Deshpande and Arun Kakade.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal described her as “one of the great figures of Marathi cinema”. According to him, she was equally well-known for her work in Hindi movies as well as in Marathi and Hindi theatre.