Ebrahim Alkazi: A guru who was a father figure, say NSD alumni

An eminent theatre actor and drama teacher whose name is forever etched in the world of theatre, Ebrahim Alkazi, passed away on August 4, at the age of 94. The legend was an institution who groomed his students into becoming his masterpieces. These students have been emotional since the news of Alkazi’s demise broke. Actor-singer Ila Arun, who did a short term course at the National School of Drama (NSD) — with which Alkazi was associated as a director for about 15 years — says, “It’s a great loss. I still remember the time when I was in NSD, and performed in King Oedipus under the guidance of Alkazi sa’ab and it became a life long bond. I was always in touch with him and his family. All his teaching will be with me, forever. He was like a father to me. He made a difference to all those who came in his touch. Humare liye it’s the end of an era, an institution. His disciples must be feeling like orphans today.”

Known to be one of the greatest teachers of his time, Alkazi believed in living with his students. Actor-director Satish Kaushik says, “He was a man who made personalities; one of the greatest teachers. The kind of status we have achieved today, he deserves kudos for that. Our training under him was not just about becoming an actor, but he also taught us how to walk in real life, and on the stage. He carved out personalities from us. All great actors, be it late Manohar Singh, Anupam Kher, Naseer bhai (Naseeruddin Shah), and late Om Puri, all learnt under him. I’m blessed that he taught us.”

 

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A treasured photograph, of a very precious time. Early 1987. Just the day after the NSD silver jubilee celebration week, Mr E.Alkazi invited us, (the two batches still studying and our just graduated senior batch) to his farm house for a picnic. He had seen out recent play Kalidasa's Abhignana Shakuntalam in which I had played Shakuntala. He would ask me a lot of questions about what I had studied in these 3 years at NSD. ..and listen carefully to my answers… We were truly lucky to have been given this time by him..what a wonderful, brilliant and affectionate person..and such an elevating presence. A few weeks later he personally invited me to his home for dinner with him and his lovely wife, and our discussions continued….I was too wonderfully naive to be nervous, (and so passionate about NSD, so was not tongue tied in his presence) …and we chatted the entire evening.He pulled out books on paintings to illustrate something we were discussing… Blessed indeed was I, by the great Guru himself!! #nsddelhi #ebrahimalkazi #actorslife

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Actor KK Raina also becomes emotional while talking about his guru. He recollects, “I came from a small town in Kashmir and knew nothing when I entered NSD. He was my father; that one person who taught me how to eat with cutlery on the table. I was like a child, and he taught me everything. It’s difficult to speak now because honestly I have no words. I shared a very personal and spiritual bond with him. Whenever I’m in confusion and have to deal with a trouble, I remember him, take his name and the problem gets solved. It’s a tragic loss for me.”

Author tweets @ruchikagarg271

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