Mahesh Dattani, born in Bangalore on 7 August 1958, studied in Baldwin’s High School and St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Science, Bangalore.
He has worked as a copywriter in an advertising firm and subsequently with his father in the family business. His theatre group Playpen was formed in 1984, and he has directed several plays for them, ranging from classical Greek to contemporary works. In 1986, he wrote his first full-length play, Where There’s a Will, and from 1995, he has been working full-time in theatre. In 1998, he set up his own theatre studio dedicated to training and showcasing new talents in acting, directing and stage writing, the first in the country to focus on new works specifically.
In 1998, Dattani won the Sahitya Akademi award for his book of plays, Final Solutions and Other Plays, published by East-West Books, Chennai, thus becoming the first English language playwright to win the award.
Dattani teaches theatre courses at the summer sessions programme of Portland State University, Oregon, USA, and conducts workshops regularly at his studio and elsewhere. He also writes radio plays for BBC Radio 4.