Theatre doyen Ebrahim Alkazi passes away at 94

File Photo: Theatre doyen and legendary teacher Ebrahim Alkazi was 94 years old.   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

Theatre director Ebrahim Alkazi, who revolutionised Indian theatre and was the longest-serving director of the National School of Drama, passed away on Tuesday here at the age of 94.

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Alkazi was remembered for his contribution towards modern Indian theatre, including bringing in technical aspects of the craft and making the NSD the premier training institute for theatre. In his tenure as director of NSD from 1962 to 1977, he mentored students who went on to become great actors, including Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri.

Alkazi’s son, theatre director Feisal Alkazi, said he passed away on Tuesday afternoon after suffering a massive heart attack. He had been admitted to Escorts Hospital on Sunday night, Mr. Feisal Alkazi said.

Speaking about his father’s legacy, Mr. Feisal Alkazi said: “Everybody remembers him as the father of Indian theatre. He was the first person to bring regional language plays to NSD, he built a strong institutional structure and brought Indian theatre to the world.”

Among the over 50 plays he directed were Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq and Dharamvir Bharati’s Andha Yug.

“NSD family deeply mourns the passing away of theatre legend, Padma Vibhushan Shri Ebrahim Alkazi, ex-director of NSD from 1962-77. This is a great loss to the country and specially to the theatre world,” NSD said in a tweet.

NSD Director In Charge Suresh Sharma said Alkazi, who founded the NSD Repertory Company, was not only a renowned director, he was also a great administrator who would inspect students’ hostels and teach classes, making his tenure as director “the NSD’s golden years”.

Condolences for Alkazi poured in from political leaders, eminent theatre personalities and fans on social media.

“Ebrahim Alkazi, doyen of Indian theatre, mentored and inspired generations of artists. His death leaves a void in the world of performing arts. A Padma Vibhushan recipient, his legacy will live on. My condolences to his family, students and art lovers,” the official Twitter account for President Ram Nath Kovind said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet that Alkazi would be remembered for making theatre more popular and accessible across the country.

Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui said of Alkazi via a tweet: “The true architect of the Modern Indian Theatre. The Doyen who possessed the extreme knowledge in all the aspects of ART. The magician who nurtured many greats of theatre. May your brightest spark from the heaven keeps us enlightening.”

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 8:39:45 AM |

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