By the time Ebrahim Alkazi finished his stint as the Director of the National School of Drama in 1977, he was already a legend. He had built up the NSD as an institution of the foremost calibre by any standards and become the acknowledged and revered guru of an entire generation of the most talented, motivated and exceptional theatre practitioners that has ever emerged in the compressed span of a decade-a-half.
Alkazi’s contribution was unquestionably the singlemost important impetus to modern Indian theatre, period. He imbued his students and disciples with a sense of deep professionalism, commitment, technical rigour and intellectual engagement that was attested by their extraordinary achievements. Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Manohar Singh, Uttara Baokar, Surekha Sikri and countless other true stalwarts of the stage, many of whom went on to achieve wider acclaim and fame on television and in films, were all of the generation that carried forward the legacy of their training at the NSD from the time of Alkazi. The NSD repertory productions of that time were of a standard that has not since been surpassed.
Alkazi’s own iconic production of Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq was definitive for most people who saw it. And so were countless other productions, such as that of Dharamvir Bharti’s Andha Yug. All his productions were imbued with his sensibilities, honed in a deep grounding in the literature and all the plastic and performing arts of the world, combined with intellectual integrity and an insistence on the most exacting standards. He himself was an artist of considerable merit, as evidenced by a recent exhibition of his prints, sculpture and other artworks mounted recently at Triveni Kala Sangam, home to Art Heritage, the gallery he founded along with his wife Roshan, who designed costumes for his plays.
My own induction into theatre took place about the time Alkazi’s long tenure at the NSD was ending, but there was no escaping his larger-than-life presence in the world of theatre and the influence he exerted as the hallmark of the highest standards. In earlier years, before his stint at NSD, he had acted in a play with Joy Michael, one of my own theatre gurus, in a Yatrik production of a Moliere play. Joy was extremely fond of “Elk”, the nickname she used for him. Years later, I was to dig out a photograph of that production and include it in a book about the Yatrik Theatre Group, of which I was then Director. Working in theatre in Delhi, one constantly heard stories about Alkazi Sa’ab. Many friends had trained under him and all of them, without exception, held him in awe. Having missed the bus as far as the great man was concerned, I was fortunate to work or be associated with his extraordinarily gifted progeny, Amal and Feisal, both of whom carried forward different facets of his genius. When it was time to celebrate Alkazi Sa’ab’s 90th birthday, Amal asked me to do the voice-over for a film she had made on his life and achievements. It was a privilege for me to do this, as a small gesture to the titan of Indian theatre.
At the celebration at which this was screened, he was present, sitting quietly in his wheelchair, while a veritable who’s who of theatre and films came up to him to pay homage. By then, he was a shadow of his former self, but in all our minds, he loomed as large as the body of work and the legacy that he blessed all of us with. There is a deep and generous fraternal feeling among theatre practitioners, very unique to this art form. That evening, one could revel in its camaraderie, as all of us gathered to pay tribute to the titan who more or less single-handedly moulded the Indian theatre of the late 20th and 21st centuries.
Sunit Tandon, a well-known TV journalist and former Director General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, is currently the president of the Delhi Music Society, as well as the former director of Yatrik, the capital’s oldest theatre group.
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AKSHAY KUMAR TO PLAY LORD SHIVA IN ‘OH MY GOD 2’
MUMBAI: Superstar Akshay Kumar has started shooting for ‘Oh My God 2’, directed by Amit Rai, and he will essay the role of Lord Shiva in the film. On Saturday, Akshay took to Instagram and announced the project. He also shared the first poster of the film wherein he can be seen donning Lord Shiva’s avatar. “Karta kare na kar sake shiv kare so hoye. Need your blessings and wishes for #OMG2, our honest and humble attempt to reflect on an important social issue. May the eternal energy of Adiyogi bless us through this journey. Har Har Mahadev,” he captioned the post.
Apart from Akshay, the movie also features Yami Gautam and Pankaj Tripathi. Akshay also shared a glimpse from the film’s set in Ujjain. Sharing a clip, he wrote, “brahmaand ka praarambh jahaan, brahmaand ka prasthaan jahaan, aadi aur anant kaal ke svaamee , bhagavaan mahaakaal ke aashirvaad lene tapasviyon ki nigari Ujjain pahunche main aur mere mitra @pankajtripathi #OMG2.”
VICKY CONGRATULATES ‘KOOZHANGAL’ DIRECTORS FOR FILM’S OSCAR ENTRY
NEW DELHI: Vicky Kaushal congratulated Tamil film ‘Koozhangal’s’ producers, Nayanthara and Vignesh Shivan, as their movie became India’s official entry to Oscars 2022. Taking to Instagram, Vicky wrote, “Congratulations Vignesh Sivan, Nayanthara, and Team #Koozhangal! Go for glory!”
On a related note, Vicky’s latest film ‘Sardar Udham’ along with Vidya Balan’s ‘Sherni’, Yogi Babu’s Tamil movie ‘Mandela’, and Martin Prakkat led Malayalam film ‘Nayattu’ were also shortlisted for India’s official entry to Oscars 2022. However, only Nayanthara and Vignesh’s ‘Koozhangal’ (Pebbles) could make the cut. Presented by Nayanthara and Vignesh’s Rowdy Pictures, it has been helmed by debutant director PS Vinothraj. The movie follows the journey of an alcoholic father and his son who are on their way to bringing back their wife-mother, who has left home. It stars actors Karuththadaiyaan and Chellapandi in the lead roles.
Elated about his film becoming India’s official entry for the 94th Academy Awards, Vignesh tweeted, “There’s a chance to hear this! And the Oscars goes to…. Two steps away from a dream come true moment in our lives. #Pebbles #Nayanthara @PsVinothraj @thisisysr @AmudhavanKar @Rowdy_Pictures Can’t be prouder, happier & content.”
JOHN CENA IN TALKS TO STAR IN ACTION-COMEDY FILM ‘FREELANCE’
WASHINGTON: Actor and former wrestler John Cena is currently in negotiations to star in Pierre Morel’s action-comedy film ‘Freelance’. It is due to start early next year in Colombia and will likely be among the in-demand packages at the virtual AFM, which gets underway on November Writer Jacob Lentz of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ fame will be making his feature writing debut. Cena is set to appear in ‘Fast and the Furious 10’, the sequel to Hulu’s ‘Vacation Friends’, and HBO Max’s ‘Suicide Squad’ spinoff series ‘The Peacemaker’ which will commence airing in January, as per Deadline.
RAJINIKANTH TO BE CONFERRED WITH DADASAHEB PHALKE AWARD
NEW DELHI: Megastar Rajinikanth will be conferred with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award on 25 October. He will receive the prestigious award for his stupendous contribution to the world of Indian cinema. The news was first announced by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Prakash Javadekar in April, this year. Reminding fans about the same, the official Twitter account of Directorate of Film Festivals, India wrote, “@rajinikanth fondly called as Thalaiva by his fans, will receive the 51st #DadasahebPhalkeAward, India’s highest film honour, on 25 Oct.”
For the unversed, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019 should have been announced last year but was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, as were the National Film Awards for 2019.
The prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke, awarded for excellence in cinematic achievement, is the highest honour in film and is awarded by the government. Rajinikanth who is also the recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, has featured in Bollywood as well as South Indian films and has a humongous fan following.
PRIYANKA SHARES CONDOLENCES FOR CINEMATOGRAPHER ACCIDENTALLY KILLED BY ALEC
MUMBAI: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, on Saturday, shared her condolences for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who lost her life due to the prop gun firing incident on the set of ‘Rust’, which involved Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin.
During the production on ‘Rust’, Baldwin had fired what was described as a “prop firearm” at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, resulting in the incident, where Hutchins died and the film’s director Joel Souza also got wounded. Priyanka took to her Twitter handle and shared a photo of the late cinematographer, and along with it shared a heartfelt note. She wrote, “I’m so shook. I cannot imagine what everyone involved in this tragedy is feeling. There are no words. No one should die on a film set. Period. My heart goes out to Halyna Hutchins family and everyone who knew her.”
Sources told a local newspaper that Baldwin was questioned by investigators following the incident. However, no charges have yet been filed in connection with the case, which is under investigation, Juan Rios, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said in a statement, reported Fox News.
TIGER, KRITI HEAD TO LONDON FOR ‘GANAPATH’ SHOOT
MUMBAI : Tiger Shroff and Kriti Sanon have headed to London to shoot Pooja Entertainment’s ‘Ganapath’. The two were all smiles as they stopped and posed for pictures to the paparazzi at the airport.
Produced by Vashu Bhagnani and Pooja Entertainment in association with Good Co., ‘Ganapath’ is being directed by Vikas Bahl. Touted to be an action-thriller, the film will be going on the floors soon.
‘Ganapath’ will see Tiger and Kriti sharing screen space again after their debut film ‘Heropanti’ and music video ‘Chal Wahan Jaate Hain’ Kriti will be seen in some high-octane action sequences and stunts for the film. ‘Ganapath’ will be released on 23 December 2022.
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