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Indian theatre legend Ebrahim Alkazi, mentor of Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, dies at 94


Alkazi, who is credited with revolutionizing theatre in India, was the longest-serving director of the National School of Drama in Delhi.

Photo: Courtesy of the National School of Drama on Twitter

Our Correspondent

Indian theatre legend Ebrahim Alkazi died this afternoon after suffering a heart attack. He was 94.

"Dad died this afternoon 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 the Press Trust of India news agency.

Alkazi, who is credited with revolutionizing theatre in India, became one of the more prominent theatre artistes in Mumbai in the 1940s and 1950s. He went on to become the longest-serving director of the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi.

During his tenure as director of the NSD from 1962 to 1977, Alkazi mentored some of the best artistes of Indian stage and cinema, including Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Rohini Hattangadi and Vijaya Mehta. He also produced plays such as Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq and Dharamvir Bharati’s Andha Yug.

Several NSD alumni, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, expressed their grief at Alkazi's death on Twitter.

Recipient of the Padma Shri in1966, the Padma Bhushan in 1991 and India's second-highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 2010, Ebrahim Alkazi was also a noted art connoisseur and collector. At 50, he quit the NSD and theatre and set up the gallery Art Heritage with his wife in New Delhi, and built his collection of art, photographs and books.