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The Parsi dramatic companies laid the foundation for the modern Gujarati and Urdu theatre in the late 1870s. These companies traveled widely abroad and assimilated the western techniques and themes with Indian folk theatre and music to form a vernacular theatre. The Gujarati theatre which has been dominated by translated or transcribed commercial plays for a long time saw the growth of original plays like Kumar Ki Chhat Par and Kahat Kabira by renowned playwrights like Madhurai, Vinayak Purohit, Shiv Kumar Joshi and others.

The developments of the modern drama movement in Hindi began with Bharatendu Harishchandra during the last decades of the 19th century.  His best-known plays, which enjoy great popularity even today, are Satya Harishchandra, Andher Nagari and Bharat Durdasha. Between 1900 and 1925, the playwrights who dominated the Urdu and Hindi stage were Agha Hashr Kashmiri, Pandit Radhe Shyam Pathak, Narayan Prasad 'Betab', Tulsi Datt 'Shaida' and Hari Krishna 'Jauhar'.  Most of their plays were written for the Parsi Theatre. In the recent years, Jayashankar Prasad has also written some outstanding plays like Skandgupta, Chandragupta and Dhruvswamini. 

Dramatic activity increased both in volume and in quality in the post-Independence period with the coming onto scene of talented playwrights like Dharmaveer Bharati (Andha Yug), Mohan Rakesh (Ashadha Ka Ek Din), Surendra Verma (Quaid-e-Hayat), Feroz Khan (Tumhari Amrita, Mahatma Vs.Gandhi) and others.

The city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh gained much fame as an important centre of the Urdu theatre, which flourished on the theme of humour.  Babban Khan's Adrak Ke Panje and Abid Ali's Dedh Matwale are two outstanding specimens of humorous plays.  Adrak Ke Panje, which is a satire on corruption in daily life, is acclaimed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest one-man show.  In the past 35 years, the play has been staged 10,000 times in 65 towns and cities in India and in 60 countries across the globe.

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