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Enter Stage Right- The Alkazi: Padamsee Family Memoir

Feisal Alkazi (Author)

Bombay, 1943. The young Parsi actress who was playing Salome in the newly founded Theatre Group's production of Oscar Wilde's eponymously titled play drew the line at performing the Dance of the Seven Veils, a sort of 'Biblical striptease? So director Sultan Padamsee's 19-year-old sister Roshen stepped in. And met the handsome, intense Arab who played the male lead-Ebrahim Alkazi. In 1946, they were married.

Thus was forged one of the greatest alliances in the world of theatre and art in post-Independence India. Ebrahim Alkazi took English theatre from its early beginnings in Bombay to national and even international acclaim as he directed and acted in more than a hundred plays, ranging from Oedipus Rex, Murder in the Cathedral and Macbeth in the 1950s, to Ashadh Ka Ek Din, Andha Yug and Tughlaq in the '60s and '70s. As director of the fabled National School of Drama from 1962 to 1977, he launched some of the finest actors of our times, including Om Shivpuri, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Rohini Hattangadi, Manohar Singh and Uttara Baokar. Chief costume designer and seamstress for all his productions was Roshen Alkazi.

In 1977, when Ebrahim and Roshen decided to open Art Heritage in Delhi, it gave a new dimension to the world of art, as the leading artists of the day, including M.F. Husain, Krishen Khanna, F.N. Souza, Tyeb Mehta, K. G. Subramanyam and Laxma Goud, flocked to this space that was not just a commercial gallery, but a foundation for documenting and preserving the arts.

While the story of the Alkazi and Padamsee families may read like a mini history of contemporary theatre, Feisal Alkazi laces it with stories that only an ‘insider would know—why his grandmother, Kulsumbai of Kulsum Terrace, never exchanged a word with her husband for twenty years; how Alyque and Pearl Padamsee met, and what happened; how Ebrahim Alkazi and Nissim Ezekiel ended up as bedmates in à London flat; and the unique relationship Ebrahim shared with Roshen and the other woman’ in his life.

With more than fifty rare photographs, Enter Stage Right is the story of theatre in India as it has never been told before...to be treasured by theatre buffs, and savoured by anyone who loves a good story.

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About the author

Feisal Alkazi

Feisal Alkazi is an educationist, trainer, and theatre director. After a master’s in social work, he headed Ankur, a society for alternatives in education for ten years, and taught at the Jamia MCRC centre for six years. He now heads Creative Learning for Change (CLC), an NGO that designs, carries out and documents innovative educational projects in gender, environmental, and heritage education. Alkazi has co-authored twenty books including Exploring an Environment; The Riverfront of my Town; Discovering Jaipur; and Discovering Kashmir. A well-known theatre director, he has directed over 300 plays for adults and children alike. His other solo publications include Forever Friends; Rang Biranga Rangmanch; and the soon to be published Tagore for Today.

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Bibliographic information

Title Enter Stage Right- The Alkazi: Padamsee Family Memoir
Author Feisal Alkazi
Format Hardcover
Date published: 06.07.2021
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Speaking Tiger
Language: English
isbn 9789390477029
length 278p., 13 B/W & 41 Colour Illustrations.