A retrospective exhibition of Ebrahim Alkazi’s theatre works

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Jaipur, March 27 (IANS) An exhibition focused on the work of eminent Indian theatre exponent Ebrahim Alkazi takes a retrospective view of his journey over 50 years.

Curated by Amal Allana and designed by Nissar Allana, the exhibition, a part of the celebrations of Rajasthan Divas and World Theatre Day, will be on display till May 6 at Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) here.

Alkazi is a legendary figure of Indian theatre whose remarkable achievements have earned him the India’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, among a vast number of Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The exhibition features multiple rooms of rare photographs, objects, archival documents, models of stage sets, using a multi media approach to exposing Alkazi’s vision and ideas. The exhibition shows, for the first time, Alkazi’s work from the 1940s and 1950s — work that has rarely been seen anywhere in India, and brings a vast treasure of archival material into the public domain.

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“A hushed silence enveloped our home. Beethoven, Stravinsky, Begum Akhtar, Ravi Shankar — the gramophone playing 45’s winds on. My father absorbed in the music, eyes shut, a notebook and a well-sharpened pencil are neatly placed in front of him, aligned at a perfect 90-degree angle to the corner of the table! His body, in the pose of Rodin’s ‘Thinker’, is relaxed, but at the same time suffused with a contained energy. Daylight breaks with its soft, pink light, the sound of the sea and the sparrows melt away to be overtaken by the cacophony of BEST buses. He has been awake since at least 5 a.m., reading, and has already made himself a pot of tea. In a few moments he will offer a fresh cup to my mother, in bed, a small luxury that she appreciates without fail,” said curator Amal Allana, Alkazi’s daughter.

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Alkazi’s story runs parallel to the Independence Movement and the birth of Indian modernism in theatre. He introduced revolutionary ideas in theatre as early as the 1950’s in scenic design, lighting, modern ideas of acting drawing from international traditions and linking these ideas to the performing folk traditions of India. He evolved new training methodologies for student actors, directors and stage designers and spoke of a new ethics and philosophy in theatre.

“We are honored to have an exhibition of works by E. Alkazi here at JKK. Alkazi is the doyen of theatre who pushed the boundaries of Indian theatre and brought it in line with its international counterparts,” said Pooja Sood, Director General, JKK.

The exhibition will be on display at the refurbished Museum Galleries of Jawahar Kala Kendra. These Galleries are equipped with state of the art lighting systems matching international gallery standards.

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