Former IAGB President, Theater Enthusiast and Hindi Manch Co-Founder Mohan Dali Passes Away at 82

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Mohan Dali (Photo: Hindi Manch)

BROOKLINE, MA-Theater enthusiast Mohan Dali, who served as president of the Indian Association of Greater Boston and was one of the founders of Hindi Manch, passed away on Wednesday. A resident of Brookline, MA, he was 82 years old and died of old age.

He is survived by his son, Rugved Dali.

“It is still unbelievable that a man with so much energy and life is no more. He is and always will be a true inspiration for hundreds of his disciples like me,” said Preetesh Shrivastava, who founded Hindi Manch with Mr. Dali in 2009.

Mohan Dali (left). Photo: Hindi Manch

Mr. Shrivastava said that funeral arrangements are currently being made. Once the information is available, INDIA New England News will update the story.

“He started his work in theater in Bollywood and worked with almost all big names that you can think off from that era – Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Raj Kumar, Vijay Anand, Basu Bhattacharya, Gurudatt – the list is endless,” said Mr. Shrivastava. “He had so many inspiring stories about his career that we all wished that his story telling sessions would never end.”

Mr. Dali, who served as IAGB President from 2009 to 2011 and on its board for many years, worked as director and mentor for many theater enthusiasts in New England.

Mr. Dali trained many artistes and directed several Hindi Manch plays like Ballabhpur Ki Roopkatha, Thief Police, Bin Bulaye Mehmaan, Mirchi-Cola, Meer Kallu Ki Gawahi, LaiIlaaj Ilaaz, Gruhdasha Ki Dasha, Hari Ghaans Par Ghante bhar, Sipahi Ki Maa and many more, said Mr. Shrivastava. He also directed several plays for other organizations and groups, including Shatranj Ke Mohare for IAGB.

In a 2003 interview with local community portal Lokvani, Mr. Dali talked about how he got interested in theater.

“In 1953, I was in college in Bombay and I was friends with Vijay Anand (Goldie, brother of Dev Anand). He had written a play and wanted me to act in it. I was also interested in theater, so I took it on and the play went on to win the inter- collegiate competition in Bombay. We were invited to perform in Delhi too and there also we won awards and we met Nehru ji and the president Dr. Rajendra Prasad gave us the award,” Mr. Dali told Lokvani. “I was bitten by the theater bug! But I was more interested in directing that in acting and I started looking around. Very soon I became involved in the Hindi Theater scene in Bombay.”

Mr. Dali also served as assistant director to Basu Bhattacharya for the filmTeesri Kasam, starring Raj Kapur and Waheeda Rahman.

“It was a great experience. Basu wanted me to act in his film but I told him that I would act only if he let me assist him in a film. I remember, one day Basu wasn’t at the sets and we had to start shooting. We were filming the famous song from Teesri Kasam  “Sajan re jhoot mat bolo” on Raj Kapoor. The backdrop was of a moving road and Rajji was in his bullock cart singing. Somehow, he wasn’t being framed into the shot, so I began to guide him to move so that we could film the shot. At first he was a little shocked that who is this stranger who is so much younger directing me? But we soon started chatting, and became friends. Then he would invite me often to the RK studios. And incidentally, I did act in Basu’s film as promised. My heroine was Anju Mahendru.”

Dali told Lokvani that he moved Boston in 1973. His wife was a scientist at the National Chemical Laboratory in India and she was approached by Dana Faber to move to Boston to continue her research on cancer cure.

“When my wife passed away in 1990, I was a little depressed and at a loss of what to do. That’s when I got an opportunity to direct a Marathi play. Soon I was acting in plays and since then I have been very active in Marathi Theater,” Dali told Lokvani.

Mohan Dali in white with theater enthusiasts (Photo: Hindi Manch)

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