Indian theatre doyen, director and legendary drama teacher Ebrahim Alkazi, who has been synonymous with Delhi’s National School of Drama, died on Tuesday afternoon after suffering a heart attack, his son said. He was 94.
Alkazi, who took charge of the National School of Drama in 1962 and was its longest serving director, produced plays such as Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq and Dharamvir Bharati’s Andha Yug, as well as many Greek and Shakespearean plays. He mentored generations of actors, including Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. “Dad died this evening at 2.45 pm after a massive heart attack. He was admitted to the Escorts hospital the day before yesterday,” his son Feisal Alkazi told PTI.
While at NSD, Alkazi trained actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Rohini Hattangadi, Surekha Sikri and Pankaj Kapoor, all of whom made it in Bollywood. Alkazi is best remembered for the important advance he made in scenographic design thanks to his extensive research before he produced a play. The former NSD directors is also remembered for his love of art, being a collector and for founding the Art Heritage Gallery in Delhi with his wife Roshan Alkazi.
E. Alkazi in action!
Alkazi completed his education from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and he even won the BBC Broadcasting Award in 1950. In fact, the thespian has a lot of accolades to his name and has won many of India’s most prestigious awards, including the Padma Shri (1966), the Padma Bhushan (1991), and India’s second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 2010. He was also the first person to ever receive Roopwedh Pratishtan’s Tanvir Award (2004) for lifetime contribution to the theatre. India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama the Sangeet Natak Akademi had also awarded him twice, once with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Direction in 1962, and later the Akademi’s highest award the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to theatre.
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