Ebrahim Alkazi, Arab – Indian theatre legend passes away at 95

Al Kazi was born to a wealthy Saudi Arabian father and a Kuwaiti mother. They lived in Pune. When his family moved to Pakistan, he decided to stay back in India.

New Delhi: Ebrahim Alkazi, a name known for revolutionizing theatre in India passed away at the age of 95 on Tuesday. He died of a heart attack at Escorts Hospital in New Delhi.

Al Kazi was born to a wealthy Saudi Arabian father and a Kuwaiti mother. He along with his nine other siblings lived in Pune. Al Kazi’s family moved to Pakistan after Partition, but he decided to stay back in India.

Al Kazi was student at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai. He joined Sultan “Bobby” Padamsee’s Theatre Group company. Then, he headed to London in the late 1940s and joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

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After completing his course, he returned back to India and became one of the most prominent theatre artistes in Mumbai during the 1940s and 1950s. Alkazi then moved to Delhi and served as the director of National School of Drama (NSD) for the next 15 years (1962 to 1977) — the longest tenure ever in the history of the institute, told The Indian Express.

As director of School, he revived the course and established links between traditional vocabulary and modern idiom. In Bombay, Alkazi did powerful plays on Greek tragedies, Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, Chekov and August Strindberg, the paper said.

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Being a noted art connoisseur and collector, at 50, Alkazi quit the theatre and set up the gallery Art Heritage with his wife in New Delhi, and built his collection of art, photographs and books. He was close to the members of the Progressive Artists’ Group such as FN Souza, Akbar Padamsee and MF Husain.

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