It is double celebrations at Mohd Ali Baig’s household with his recent Padma Shri award and an impending marriage

When the prime minister of the country acknowledges your work, it is a momentous occasion in any individual’s life. Theatre personality Mohd Ali Baig experienced this recently when he went to receive the Padam Shri award. “All the Padma awaradees had gathered for a high tea ceremony when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh walked in with his wife. It is customary for the prime minister to walk around and greet everyone. He saw me, looked up and said, “You are doing a great job. We are proud of you,’” Baig exults.

Appreciation is special

He says, the ‘appreciation is special because as he is neither a Bollywood star nor a cricketer.’ “I was taken aback as it is common for individuals from cinema or cricket to hog the limelight. It is also significant as it is a tribute to my father who wanted Hyderabad’s theatre scene to be on par with the vibrant theatre scene of other cities,” he says and adds, “It was also special as I was accompanied by two special women in my life – my mother begum Razia Baig and my wife-to-be Noor.” Baig says at the Padma award ceremony, ‘Hyderabadiyat’ took centrestage. “The ceremony was overwhelming as Hyderabad was in the spotlight,” he states. The Padma ceremony is also a tryst with history for all awardees. “The stage at Ashoka Hall in Rashtrapati Bhavan where we received the award from President Pranab Mukherjee is a historic venue where the power of imperial British was transferred to independent India amidst stalwarts of Indian independence,” he says.

Is Baig shifting from one glorious event to another – his impending marriage? , Baig smiles, “It is frighteningly exciting. I used to be footloose and an independent guy. My family and friends would envy my independent status. My mother keeps telling Noor about my independent streak. Now I am ready to enter the sober stage of my life.”