Veteran theater artist Ibrahim Alkazi, known as the father of Indian modern theater, died at the age of 94. He was admitted to a private hospital in Delhi after a heart attack, where he breathed his last. Alkazi is credited with bringing revolutionary changes to Indian theater. There has been a wave of mourning in the arts and theater world following the death of Alkazi, a former director of the National School of Drama (NSD). Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mourned his death.
Abrahim Alkazi, who studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatics Art, participated in over 50 plays. In 1950 he was awarded the BBC Broadcasting Award. Alkazi’s list of achievements is very long. Among the plays he participated in are Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq, Aashad Ka Ek Din (Mohan Rakesh), Dharamvir Bharti’s Andha Yuga etc. In addition, he presented on stage the literature of the Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, Heinrich, Shekov and August Stringberg.
In the 1940s and 50s, Alkazi was one of the leading actors in the theater world. He moved to Delhi at the age of 37 and took over the responsibility of director of the National School of Drama. He held this position for 15 years from 1962 to 1977. This is the longest tenure in the history of the institute. While director of NSD, he shaped the course of Modern Indian Theater. In it, he incorporated traditional dictionaries and modern idioms.
A tribute to him was written by the Twitter handle of NSD – The theater legend, Padma Vibhushan is mourning the NSD family after the demise of Shri Ebrahim Alkazi. Was a director of NSE from 1962-1977. This is a huge loss for the country. Especially for the world of theater.
NSD Family deeply mourn passing away of Theatre Legend, Padma Vibhushan Shri #EbrahimAlkazi, Ex Director of NSD from 1962-77. This is a great loss to the country and specially to the Theatre World.@nirupamakotru @MinOfCultureGoI pic.twitter.com/s5vpoSXmqe
— National School of Drama (@nsd_india) August 4, 2020
Government of India gave Padma Award
In 1966, the Government of India honored him with the Padma Shri, the 1991 Padma Bhushan and the 2010 Padma Vibhushan. At the age of 50, he left NSD and set up a gallery called Art Heritage in Delhi with his wife, compiling art, photographs and books. Ebrahim was the child of Alkazi, Arabic father and Kuwaiti mother. He had nine siblings. The family did not lack money. Alcazi’s childhood was spent in Ashoram. Alkazi’s family moved to Pakistan after partition, but he stayed in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while paying tribute, wrote – Mr. Ibrahim Alkazi will be remembered for popularizing the theater in the country and reaching out to the people. His contribution to arts and culture is commendable. I am saddened by his death. My thoughts are with his family. May his soul rest in peace.
Shri Ebrahim Alkazi will be remembered for his efforts to make theatre more popular and accessible across India. His contributions to the world of art and culture are noteworthy too. Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and friends. May his soul rest in peace.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 4, 2020
He has also paid tribute to the French Embassy in India.
Deeply saddened at the passing of the legendary doyen of theatre, #EbrahimAlkazi.
Torch-bearer of the fine arts and culture, he received the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from France for his outstanding contribution to promoting these diverse fields. #RIP pic.twitter.com/zekAsGjdX4
— Emmanuel Lenain (@FranceinIndia) August 4, 2020
Bollywood paid tribute
Bollywood continues to pay tribute to Ebrahim Alkazi. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Madhur Bhandarkar, Randeep Hooda tweeted and paid homage to Shraddha Suman.
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 #EbrahimAlkazi
— Nawazuddin Siddiqui (@Nawazuddin_S) August 4, 2020
Sad to hear demise of #EbrahimAlkazi sir , A legendary theatre personality will be remembered for his contribution towards revolutionising theatre in India and was instrumental in shaping the career of generations of actors. #OmShanti 🙏#EbrahimAlkazi pic.twitter.com/tMi1UVtSR5
— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) August 4, 2020