Ebrahim Alkazi: The biggest star in India’s theatre galaxy - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Ebrahim Alkazi: The biggest star in India’s theatre galaxy

Sunit Tandon

Published

on

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.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Falguni Pathak remarks ‘Wish I could take action’ over Neha Kakkar’s ‘Maine Payal Hai’ remake

Published

on

By

The renowned singer Falguni Pathak is not happy with Neha Kakkar’s recreation of her iconic song ‘Maine Payal Hai Chhankai’. She said in a recent interview that neither the producers nor Neha made an effort to get in touch with her prior to or following the release of the new song, ‘O Sajna’. The veteran singer also said that she wished to take action against the Neha Kakkar song but was unable to do so since she did not have the song rights.

Neha has come under fire from several fans for ‘ruining’ the original. The original singer of the 1990s hit song, Falguni, reshared fan posts on Instagram Story, subtly criticising Neha’s rendition of the song titled “O Sajna.”

“How long you can go Neha Kakkar? Stop ruining our old classics for us. Falguni Pathak is the OG. Stop with it already,” one of the posts on Falguni’s Instagram Story read.

The actors Vivan Bhatena and Nikhila Palat were featured in the original song, which was launched in 1999. At a college festival, the song was performed as a puppet show. The song was a resounding hit. Recently, the updated version was unveiled.

The music video for “O Sajna” features Dhanashree Verma and Priyank Sharma. “O Sajna” was written by Tanishk Bagchi, who is renowned for reinventing classic Hindi melodies.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Ayan Mukerji says that Sharukh Khan’s cameo looks like Iron man

Published

on

Brahmastra has been a great hit on the box office and people have loved the movie. Ayan Mukerji recently spoke about Shahrukh Khan’s cameo in the movie which has been the highlights of the fantasy-drama. The actor is seen as Mohan Bhargav, a scientist who wields Vanarastra. While discussing Shah Rukh’s cameo, Ayan compared his scenes in the film to Iron Man.Ayan Mukerji was quoted as saying in a recent report, “If you actually look closely, you will see the tonality of that scene is a little bit Iron Man-like. We always thought Vanarastra will always exist in the world of science, which is why we have shown him to be a scientist.”The filmmaker added, “The tonality of that scene, because it is a bit of an item sequence at the beginning of part one, is different from the tonality of the rest of the film. Brahmastra has a romance between Shiva and Isha, it has some sincerity in its tonality. But Shah Rukh Khan is kind of a hero, cracking jokes. So, I knew that that tonality is different, even when we were shooting it, we were like this is very exciting. We were also having fun while shooting that part as it was very playful.”Recently, Ayan had shared that not only Shah Rukh’s fans, but the makers have also been thinking about a spin-off for his character in Brahmastra. Ayan teased that the spin-off might tell the origin story of the scientist. Ayan had told in an interview, “Before the fans were saying it, we were also saying that ourselves. When we were shooting the sequence in 2019, we were also saying on sets. As we discovered the personality of the scientist, we said, ‘Yaar, we have to do stuff. We have to do the origin story of the scientist!'”The sci-fi drama was launched on 9 September in the cinemas and has been performing well.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Amitabh Bachchan reveals about his bonding with Aaradhya Bachchan

Published

on

Amitabh Bachchan

After a contestant from Amitabh Bachchan’s famous show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, asked a question from the host, he revealed that he is not able to spend much time with his granddaughter Aaradhya Bachchan, but he often gifts her pink-coloured hair bands and clips whenever she’s upset.When Amitabh informed the audience on KBC 14 that Vaishnavi is a reporter, she told him that it was her desire to interview him. She asked how he manages to spend time with granddaughter Aaradhya, since he is busy with work on so many films and shows. Amitabh said, “Yes, I am not able to spend much time with her. I leave around 7-7:30am, she leaves for school around 8am. She returns after 3-4pm and then she has homework and all to complete. Her mother (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) helps her with those. I return home around 10-11pm. She is already asleep by then.””Thanks to technology, we stay connected through facetime. It is only Sundays when she is free, and if I get the time, I play with her for some time. When she gets angry or upset with me, I gift her chocolates. And, what is it that women wear in their hair? Bands. Pink is her favourite colour so I gift her pink hair bands and clips when she gets upset. She becomes happy then.”The contestant also asked Amitabh to share his weirdest fan encounter and Amitabh told her, “It is weird when I say it but every fan is curious. We were once shooting in near a lake near Botanical Garden in Kolkata. We had to cross a lake and found 20-30 people standing on the other end. We were in a boat and I saw a man waving a paper and he kept screamed ‘one autograph please’. I called him. He carried the paper and pen in his mouth and swam over to our side. I hugged him and I also got wet. He was very happy when I gave him my autograph. But then he jumped back into the water to swim and the paper as well as the autograph washed away.”

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Entire Bollywood mourns on the legend Raju Shrivastava’s death

Published

on

Raju Srivastava

The legend of stand-up comedy, Raju Shrivastava, who won many hearts as a stand-up comedian and an actor, passed away at the age of 58 on Wednesday.He took his last breath in Delhi’s AIIMS hospital.He was admitted after suffering a heart attack on August 10 while working out at a Delhi hotel gym. Several Bollywood celebrities grieved his death on social media platforms and paid tribute. Taking to his Instagram Stories, Anil Kapoor posted a photo from their film together and wrote, “Om Shanti.”Film director Vivek Agnihotri shared a video message on Twitter. He credited Raju for solely shouldering the trend of stand-up comedy. He wrote in Hindi, “There is no such friend or stranger whom Raju Srivastava did not make laugh. Raju brother, gone too soon. You were a true legend of stand-up comedy. Om Shanti #RajuShrivastava.” Actor Ajay Devgn posted a black and white photo of Raju on Twitter. He said, “In your lifetime you gifted us laughs & more laughs, on & off the screen. Your untimely demise makes me very sad. RIP Raju. Om Shanti. May the Almighty give your family strength in this hour of bereavement.”Sudhir Mishra tweeted, “Raju Srivastava has gone! Hopefully, the lesson that he leaves behind is that irreverence should be our default state. To laugh in the face of authority is a fundamental right. Alvida (Goodbye)!” Rajpal Yadav shared a photo of Raju on Instagram and wrote, “I have no words to describe this loss. You have left us all too soon. You will be missed my brother. I just can’t believe this.#RajuSrivastav #RIP.” “Raju Srivastava Om Shanti RIP,” wrote filmmaker Rakesh Roshan on Instagram. Sanjay Gupta said, “Rest In Peace Raju. Thank you for all these years of fun and laughter.”Mika Singh tweeted a photo of Raju and wrote, “The great comedian, the most humble and respected @iRajuSrivastava bhai has sadly left us with his memories. May God bless his soul, rest in eternal peace. Om Shanti.” Shekhar Suman said on Twitter, “Wat I was dreading for the past one month has happened.Raju Srivastava has left all of us for his heavenly abode.Devastated to hear the news.May God grant him eternal peace. #OmShanti.”Nimrat Kaur tweeted, “Deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Late Raju Srivastava ji. May God bless his journey into the light #RIPRajuSrivastava.” Divya Dutta wrote on Twitter, “Heartbreaking to hear about the sad demise of #rajusrivastava. My first film had him in an integral part. Thank you for all the smiles. laughs and warmth. RIP. May God give your family strength.”Raju Shrivastava’s brother, Dipoo Shrivastava told that he got call from the hospital at morning and he was told that Raju is no more. The legend is succeeded by his wife and two children. He was declared dead at 10:20 a.m.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

MP minister wants a ban on the film “Thank God”

Published

on

Vishvas Sarang, the education minister of Madhya Pradesh, has urged Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur to prohibit the upcoming film ‘Thank God’ starring Ajay Devgn and Sidharth Malhotra. In a letter to Thakur, Sarang claimed that the film depicts Chitragupta, a Hindu deity who, according to mythology, accompanies Yama, the god of death, in an inappropriate manner.

Sarang said that “for the past many years, many filmmakers and actors in Bollywood are making objectionable comments on the deities of Hindu society and including obscene scenes.”

According to the minister, Chitragupta is shown in the recently released trailer surrounded by “half naked” women, and objectionable remarks are made on his behalf by Devgn.

“Due to the objectionable remarks made by the hero of the film, Ajay Devgan, there is a lot of anger in the entire Hindu society along with the Kayastha society,” he wrote.

“It is requested to kindly prevent the sentiments of the entire Kayastha/Hindu society from being hurt by giving directions to immediately stop the telecast of the said film,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, the ministry of information and broadcasting has yet to issue an official statement. Chitragupta is said to have been assigned the task of punishing or rewarding humans based on their actions in Hindu mythology.

‘Thank God’ is a forthcoming family entertainer film starring Ajay Devgn, Sidharth Malhotra, and Rakul Preet Singh.

The film tells the story of a common man (Sidharth Malhotra) who, after an accident, finds himself in a world between life and death and meets Chirtagupta (played by Ajay Devgn). Chitragupta and Sidharth Malhotra play a game he calls the “Game of Life.”

The trailer and first song, ‘Manike,’ were recently released, and the audience responded positively.

While Sidharth and Rakul will appear as a new on-screen couple, this is Rakul’s third collaboration with Ajay Devgn, following ‘De De Pyaar De’ and ‘Runway 34.’ The film will be released in theatres on October 25th of this year.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle & Entertainment

First time in 3 decades, J&K LG inaugurates a multiplex in Srinagar

Published

on

New dawn in Kashmir: First multiplex opened three decades after cinemas were shut

For the first time in three decades, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, inaugurated a multiplex in Srinagar on Tuesday.

Continue Reading

Trending