Distinguished Theatre Personalities of India

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Alyque Padamsee:

Alyque Padamsee, known as the “Advertising Guru of India”, is a well-known Indian theatre personality and advertising professional, who headed the advertising company Lintas. Of the 70-odd plays that Padamsee has directed, several are adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, such as ‘Othello’, ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Hamlet’. He also has to his credit productions like ‘Evita’, ‘Tughlaq’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘PDialogues’ and “Broken Images – the scandal behind a world famous novelist”. He is remembered for playing the role of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Richard Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’. He is the author of a book, ‘A Double Life in New Delhi’. He is a recipient of several honours and awards including Padma Shri and Karmaveer Puraskaar.

Feroz Khan :

Feroz Khan is one of the most accomplished contemporary playwrights and actors of the Hindi theatre. He has given memorable performances in plays like ‘Mahatma vs. Gandhi’, ‘Equus’ and others. Among his directorial ventures, mention may be made of ‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun’, ‘Tumhari Amrita’, ‘Saalgirah’, ‘Eva Mumbai Ma Chaal Jaiye’ and ‘Salesman Ramlal’. He was associated with the Prithvi Theatre from 1984 to 1992 as an artist and director.

Girish Karnad :

Girish Karnad (b.1938) is an internationally renowned playwright, director, actor, poet and critic. His formidable works as a playwright include ‘Yayathi’ ​(1961), ‘Tughlaq’ (1964), ‘Hayavadana’ (1971), ‘Anjumallige’ (1977), ‘Hittina Hunja’ (1980), ‘Naga-Mandala’ (1988), ‘Tale-danda’ (1990) and ‘Agni Mattu Male’ (1995). All these plays were written originally in Kannada, but were translated into other languages including, Hindi and English. His other plays commissioned by reputed agencies include ‘The Dreams of Tipu Sultan’ (1997), ‘The Fire and the Rain’ and ‘Bali the Sacrifice’ (2002). He scripted and presented the film, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’, as part of the series, ‘Art that Shook the World’, for the BBC. Girish Karnad has acted in several renowned films like ‘Samskara’, ‘Vamsha Vriksha’ and ‘Kaadu’ in Kannada and provided the script and direction for many Hindi films including Utsav and Cheluvi. Karnad has received several honours and awards, including the Mysore State Award for ‘Yayathi’ (1962), Mysore Rajyotsava Award (1970), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1972), National award for excellence in Direction for ‘Vamsha Vriksha’ (1972), Padma Shri (1974), National award for the Best Kannada film for ‘Ondanondu Kaaladalli’ (1978), Padma Bhushan (1992), Sahitya Akademi Award (1994) and the Bharatiya Jnanpith (1999).


Habib Tanvir​:

​Habib Tanvir (1923-2009) was a renowned playwright and theatre legend who was credited with adapting Chhattisgarhi, Pandavni and Nacha folk dance song forms into modern theatre. He extensively explored content from the Sanskrit drama, Shakespeare and contemporary European satire for his plays. Habib Tanvir started his career as a producer in the All India Radio (AIR) Bombay in 1945. He became an integral part of Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) as an actor. In 1959, he founded the Naya Theatre in Bhopal.

Some of his famous plays include ‘Mitti Ki Gaadi’, ‘ Gaon Ka Naam Sasural’, ‘Mor Naam Damaad’, ‘Charandas Chor’ (1975), ‘Kamdeo Ka Apna, Basant Ritu Ka Sapna’ and ‘Shaajapur Ki Shantibai among others. Tanvir acted in over nine feature films, including Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ (1982). He was a recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Padma Bhushan. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1972-1978.


Mahesh Dattani:

Mahesh Dattani (b.1958) is one of the leading contemporary playwrights of India, who has produced several noteworthy plays like ‘Dance Like a Man’ (1989), ‘Bravely Fought the Queen’ (1991), ‘Final Solutions’ (1993), ‘On a Muggy Night in Mumbai’ (1998) and ‘Tara’ (1990). He has also produced Radio Plays for the BBC including ‘Do the Needful’ (1997).

Pearl Padamsee:

Pearl Padamsee was a noted theatre and film personality who directed several upcoming stage artists in the musical ‘Godspell’ and in another popular play ‘Rise and Fall of Arturo Ui’. Her other notable directorial ventures in theatres include Gieve Patel’s ‘Princes’, Van Italy’s ‘Serpent’ and Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’. She was also a versatile film actress, who is noted for her performance in ‘Khatta Meetha’, ‘Baaton Baaton Mein’, ‘Junoon’, ‘Staying On’ and ‘Such a Long Journey’. She died in April 2000 at the age of 69.

Vijay Tendulkar​:

Vijay Tendulkar (1928-2008) was a renowned playwright, screen and television writer and literary essayist. He was among the select group of playwrights such as Girish Karnad, Habib Tanvir and Badal Sircar, who gave a new direction to the Indian theatre by dealing with contemporary social issues. Some of his important plays include ‘Gruhastha’ (1947), ‘Gidhade’ (1961), ‘Shanata! Court Chalu Ahe’ (1967), ‘Ghasiram Kotwal’ (1972), ‘Sakharam Binder’ (1972), ‘Baby’ (1975), ‘Kamala’ (1981), ‘Kanyadaan’ (1983), ‘Safar’ (1991), ‘The Masseur’ (2001), ‘Mitrachi Goshta’ (2001) and ‘His Fifth Woman’ (2004). His prolific writing spanning over half a century includes thirty full-length plays, seven one-acts, and six collections of children’s plays, four of short stories, two novels, and seventeen film scripts. Tendulkar wrote screenplays for several movies including ‘Nishant’ (1974), ‘Akrosh’ (1980) and ‘Ardh Satya’ (1984). He is the recipient of several honours and awards including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1970), Padma Bhushan (1984), Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1988), Kalidas Samman (1999) and Katha Chudamani Award (2001).

Zohra Sehgal​:

​Zohra Sehgal (b.1912) is a well-known stage artist and film actress, renowned for her acting in the famous play ‘Ek Thi Nani’ and tele-serials like ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ (1984), ‘Tandoori Nights’ (1985–87), ‘Amma and Family’ (1996). She acted in several films including ‘Bhaji on the Beach’ (1992), ‘The Mystic Masseur’ (2001), ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (2002), ‘Dil Se’ (1998) and ‘Cheeni Kum’ (2007). She is a recipient of several honours and awards including Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1963), Padma Shri (1998), Kalidas Samman (2001), Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2004) and Padma Vibhushan (2009). She was felicitated as the ‘Laadli of the Century’ at the UNPF-Laadli Media Awards held in New Delhi in 2008.

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