The longest-serving director Ebrahim Alkazi, who is considered to be the “Father of Indian Theatre” passed away on 4th August 2020 at the age of 95 due to cardiac failure. Besides being a theatre doyen he was also an art connoisseur and a collector.
As reported by his family members, he had been in the hospital for the past two days. Although he was quite “sturdy” for his age, he suffered from memory issues, as was reported to indianexpress.com by his daughter. Amal Allana, Ebrahim Alkazi’s daughter is one of the noted Indian theatre directors and costume designers.
Feisal Alkazi, his son, who is also a noted theatre director said that a “great void has been left in the space of art and theatre”.
Ebrahim Alkazi joined Sultan “Bobby” Padmasee’s English theatre company at a very young age. After that, he got his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) which is located in London. He was honored by the English Drama League as well as British Broadcasting Corporation. In his early career, he became associated with the Bombay Progressive Artists’ group.
Apart from being a director, he was also the founder of the Theatre Unit Bulletin in 1953. Not only that, he later established the School of Dramatic Arts. He also became the principal of Bombay’s Natya Academy.
He is a revolutionary figure in the context of Hindi theatre. With his magnificence of vision and meticulousness of technical discipline, he recreated an important aura in the face of Indian Theatre. He has also trained many renowned film and theatre directors including Naseeruddin Shah, B. Jayashree, Jyoti Subhash, Om Puri, and many more.
Ebrahim Alkazi and his wife, Roshan Alkazi together founded the Art Heritage Gallery in Delhi in the year 1977. He has dedicated his time and resources to establishing the Art Heritage Gallery and has encouraged scholars and artists to work on plastic arts and has organized over 500 exhibitions.
He had even put efforts into enlarging the audience for contemporary arts by launching many huge projects that include international exchange exhibitions, a lot of publications, and many scholarship awards.
A four-part series of exhibitions and publications, which was named ‘India: Myth and Reality’ has been one of his most visible and noted programs. This program was done in association with David Elliott and Victor Musgrave, and took place at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford in the year 1982.
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Other Works of The Father Of Indian Theatre
Ebrahim Alkazi had worked with many Indian playwrights such as Girish Karnad and Mahesh Elkunchwar. His works also include several adaptations of Shakespeare. Apart from these, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (1952), Mohan Rakesh’s Ashadh ka Ek din (1958; One Day in Ashadha), Dharamvir Bharati’s Andha Yug (published 1953; The Blind Age), and Karnad’s Tughlaq (1964) also falls under his finest and distinguished directorial.
He had always looked forward to sharing his experience and knowledge with many people out there in the fields such as theatre, art, photography, and all other creative aspects like them. In his perception, the source of art is always appreciable. He always focused on bringing change through his work of art.
Had Received Many Awards
For creating awareness of theatre’s sensibility and successfully blending Indian tradition with modern expressionism and its theories, Ebrahim Alkazi’s artwork received various prestigious awards including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1962 which he received twice.
Apart from that, there are the Padma Shri in the year 1966, the Padma Bhushan in 1991, Roopwedh Pratishtan’s Tanvir Award in 2004, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2010 that Ebrahim Alkazi’s work got.
With the death of this iconic figure, the world of theatre mourns. A lot of actors and theatre persons have shared their grievances on social media regarding the unfortunate death of Ebrahim Alkazi and continue to do so on his death anniversary.