Marathi playwright Ratnakar Matkari breathed his last on May 17, 2020, at the age of 81. He was diagnosed with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. According to The Hindu, Ratnakar Matkari went through a routine health check-up at the Godrej Hospital. However, he tested positive for COVID-19, and was transferred to the Seven Hills Hospital.
Mourning his demise, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray tweeted, "We have lost a precious gem from the world of literature. He wrote for children and for grown-ups as well." He added, "His immense contribution in various forms such as plays, short stories, novels has enriched the world of Marathi literature."
महाराष्ट्राच्या साहित्य विश्र्वातील अमुल्य असे एक साहित्य 'रत्न' निखळले, अशा शब्दांत मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांनी ज्येष्ठ साहित्यिक, नाटककार रत्नाकर मतकरी यांना श्रद्धांजली वाहिली आहे. रत्नाकर मतकरी गेल्याची बातमी मनाला खूप वेदना देऊन जाणारी आहे.— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) May 18, 2020
Ratnakar Matkari was a celebrated playwright in Marathi literature. His first one-act play, Wedi Manase, was aired on All India Radio in 1955, when he was just a teenager. He has over 90 plays to his credit, around 20 of them are children's plays. Aranyak, Dubhang, Lokakatha 78, Ashwamedh, Ghar Tighanche Hawe, Jawai Maaza Bhala, Chaar Diwas Premache, Indira, and Khol Khol Paani are some of his most popular plays.
Matkari is also credited for writing a number of short stories, essays, and his theatre autobiography, Maaze Rangaprayog. He favoured exploring the suspense thriller genre through his plays and stories. One of his books, Gahire Paani, was converted into a television serial.
Ratnakar Matkari's film Investment had won the Best Marathi Feature Film award at the 60th National Film Awards.
The playwright is survived by his wife Pratibha, son Ganesh, and daughter Supriya Vinod.