Vithabai Bhau Mang Narayangaonkar
|Died||15 January 2002 (aged 66)|
Vithabai Bhau Mang Narayangaonkar (July 1935 - 15 January 2002) was a Tamasha artist.
Vithabai was born and grew up in a family of artists. She was born in the city of Pandharpur, Solapur district, Maharashtra. Bhau-Bapu Mang Narayangaonkar was the family troupe run by her father and uncle. Her grandfather Narayan Khude set up the troupe. He was from Kavathe Yamai, in Shirur taluka of Pune district. Since childhood, she was exposed to the various forms of songs like Lavanya, Gavlan, Bhedik, etc. As a student she did not fare very well in school, although she performed with effortless beauty on stage, right from a very young age without any formal training.
She received medals from the President of India in 1957 and 1990 for her art. It is written that despite her fame and the honours she earned she is said to have been in financial distress and was uncared for. Her hospital bills after her death were met by contribution from donors.
She achieved high appreciation and thereby her troupe was honoured with the most prestigious President's award in the Tamasha genre of art. She was called "Tamasha Samradini" (Tamasha Empress) by her fans and also honoured so by the government.
Government of Maharashtra has instituted annual "Vithabai Narayangavkar Lifetime Achievement Award" in her memory in 2006. The award is conferred on those who had extensively contributed to the preservation and propagation of the Tamasha Art. The award is being conferred since 2006 and noted recipients of the awards are Smt. Kantabai Satarkar, Vasant Avsarikar, Smt Sulochana Nalawade, Haribhau Badhe, Smt Mangala Bansode (doughter of Vithabai), Sadhu Patsute, Ankush Khade, Prabha Shivanekar, Bhima Sangavikar, Gangaram Kavathekar, Smt Radhabai Khode NAshikkar, Madhukar Nerale. '''Lokshahir Bashir Momin Kavathekar''' has been conferred with this award in 2018 for his lifelong contribution to the filed of Tamasha .