All the world is a stage, famously said Shakespeare, and women are an integral presence on it. In Mumbai, India’s film hub, theatre has a lasting legacy that permeates its atmosphere and forms the very bedrock of the city’s rich entertainment legacy. How have women on stage -and off- contributed to enriching and enlivening this burgeoning thespian culture in the city and develop stagecraft to what it is today? In celebration of Women’s Day 2019, NGMA Mumbai and Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Avid Learning present a panel discussion which will take a closer look at the Thespian history and legacy of the city with a focus on the women of theatre in Bombay. Theatre Director and Current Director, Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi Amal Allana, Stage Actor and co-Founder of Theatre Company Rage, Shernaz Patel, Stage Actor and Founder of Theatre Company Ikigai Ishitta Arun and Film and Theatre Director and Founder, theatre group, Rangayan Dr. Vijaya Mehta will be in conversation with Theater and Film Critic and Author Deepa Gahlot.
Amal Allana is a theatre director, scenic designer and costume designer and presently she is in her second consecutive term as the Chairperson of National School of Drama, India's premier institute of Theatre training, she also runs the Dramatic Art and Design Academy (DADA), New Delhi, with her husband Nissar Allana, which they co-founded in 2000. As a theatre director, she has directed over 55 plays in Hindi, including notable plays like, Aadhe Adhure (Mohan Rakesh), Khamosh, Adalat Jari Hai (Vijay Tendulkar adaptation of 1956 short-story, 'Die Panne' (Traps) by Friedrich Dürrenmatt), Ashadh Ka Ek Din (Mohan Rakesh), Tughlaq and Hayavadana (both by Girish Karnad), Mahabhoj (Mannu Bhandari) (1982), King Lear, Himmat Mai (Mother Courage), Nati Binodini (2006) and Begum Barve (Satish Alekar), many of which are known to have set trends in Indian theatre. She was awarded the 1998 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Direction, given by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama.Read more
Deepa Gahlot writes extensively on cinema, theatre, the arts, women's issues for several publications and websites. She has won the National Award for Best Film Criticism, edited several cinema journals. Her work has appeared in anthologies on women's studies and cinema--Bollywood Popular Indian Cinema, Behind the Scenes of Hindi Cinema A Visual Journey through the Heart of Bollywood, Janani among others. Her books published include The Prithviwallahs (co-authored with Shashi Kapoor), biographies of Shah Rukh Khan and Shammi Kapoor, Take 2: 50 Films that Deserve a New Audience and Sheroes: 25 Daring Women of Bollywood. She headed the Theatre and Film department of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai for seven years, where she curated festivals and produced path-breaking work.Read more
Shernaz Patel has been a part of English theatre in India for the past 35 years. She is a partner in one of India’s leading theatre groups, Rage Productions and has helmed their playwriting initiatives, Writer’s Bloc and Class Act. Aside from theatre she has also been successfully acting in Indian cinema ever since she worked in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Black in 2004. A Charles Wallace scholar, she holds a Masters degree in Acting from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She is also an established voiceover and a television actress. Also a teacher, she was Head of Acting at India’s premiere film school, Whistling Woods International from 2013-2017. She is currently Artistic Director for the Aditya Birla Group’s theatre initiative, Aadyam.Read more
Ishitta Arun is a stage actor and founder of Ikigai & Co.- a theatre, performing arts and humanities platform. Dancer, Veejay, lyricist and Interior/furniture designer, Ishitta, has donned various hats to give expression to her creativity.Ishitta appeared on television when she did her first commercial at the age of three for ‘VICKS’.She has performed in over a 100 live stage shows as a host and folk dancer across the world and acted in three major theatre productions.Ishitta has also penned lyrics for Dhruv Ghanekar, Atif Aslam & Mahir Zaine, Mahindra, Tata Steel, Brittania to name a few. She conceptualised and Produced “GAA RE MAA” - a music based slice of life comedy that opened at the Prithvi Festival 2018 as part of 40 years of Prithvi. Ikigai & Co.’s GAA RE MAA has also been staged at the Old world theatre festival 2018 Delhi, and has completed 20 shows over four months since its opening in cities such as Calcutta , Pune, Mumbai and Delhi. She is also an interior and furniture designer having designed 4 restaurants and residences and offices for Terence Lewis, Wah Wah Studios and has had independent exhibitions under her brand ‘Kishmish’.Read more
Padmashree award winning Dr. Vijaya Mehta is a living legend of Indian theatre. Known for her path breaking theatre work as an actress and director, she founded Rangayan which was a revolutionary theatre movement in the 1960s. She has taken Indian theatre to the world more than forty years ago by doing several Indo German productions as well as collaborations in the USA. With more than 80 productions to her credit, almost all her work was award winning or received the highest critical acclaim. National recognition of her work includes the Sanger Natak Academy award, the Kalidas Samman and the prestigious Tagore Ratna Fellowship. The Government of Maharashtra bestowed its Gaurav Puraskar and also the Lifetime Achievements Award for her work in theatre, films and TV. International recognition followed when the East German Government presented the ‘Friend of the People’ Award for her extensive Indo- German collaborations in theatre. It is significant that she won national awards for every single film, Telefilm and TV serial she directed or acted in. And she has received several international awards for her film work as well. Dr. Mehta was the Chairperson of the National School of Drama and also of the Film and Television Institute of India. Her association with the NCPA began when shedid Kalidas’ Shakunatala, which was staged for the inauguration of theTata theatre. She went on to becoming the Executive Director of the NCPA under the chairmanship of Dr Jamshed Bhabha. She headed the NCPA for fifteen years and introduced many artistic collaborations with world renowned performers in every artistic faculty. Dr. Vijaya Mehta or ‘Bai’, as she is fondly referred to, will always be remembered as the leading lady of Indian theatre.Read more