An exhibition focused on the work of eminent theater exponent of India- Ebrahim Alkazi will be held at Jawahar Kala Kendra from 27 March to 6 May. Entitled, ‘The Theater of E. Alkazi’, the exhibition is a retrospective of Ebrahim Alkazi’s theatre work, which spans a period of 50 years. It has been curated by Amal Allana and designed by Nissar Allana. The exhibition will be inaugurated as a part of the celebrations of Rajasthan Divas & World Theatre Day.
Alkazi is a legendary figure of Indian theatre whose remarkable achievements have earned him the Padma Vibhushan, among a vast number of Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Alkazi’s story runs parallel to the Independence Movement and the birth of Indian modernism in the theatre. He introduced revolutionary idea in theatre as early as the 1950s 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 about new ethics and philosophy in theatre.
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.
The exhibition will be inaugurated by the eminent theatre director, Mohan Maharishi, on 27 March, at the Museum Galleries of JKK, followed by a film on Alkazi. Seema Biswas,trained by Alkazi, will present a solo act, ‘Jeevit Ya Mrit’ directed by Anuradha Kapur. The play willbe staged in the auditorium at JKK later that evening.
As a part of the exhibition, a seminar will be organized on 28 March. The seminar participants include eminent theatre personalities Amal Allana and Hema Singh. Theatre professionals Ashok Banthia and Vishal Vijay will also participate.
In the words of DG, JKK, ‘We are honored to have the exhibition on the works of E. Alkazi here at JKK. Alkazi is the doyen of theatre who pushed the boundaries of India theatre and brought it in line with its international counterparts.’
Amal Allana, curator and daughter of E Alkazi shares a personal glimpse into the life of her father, “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.”
In the words of Nissar Allana, ‘My greatest challenge in designing an exhibition on a great legend like Alkazi, was to be able to live up to the high standard of what Alkazi stood for, and to be able to communicate that greatness, in a manner befitting Alkazi.’
The exhibition will be on display at the refurbished Museum Galleries of Jawahar Kala Kendra till 6 May (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays). These Galleries are equipped with state of the art lighting systems matching the international galleries standards.