A force to reckon with in the field of theatre,Prof NC Thakur was the founder member of Abhinet,the oldest theatre group of Chandigarh. A Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee,noted Persian scholar,theatre director and academician,Prof Thakur passed away last week,a loss which Vijay Kapoor of Abhinet says is irreplaceable. Abhinet was formed in 1974 with a commitment to bring on stage good-quality theatre,with all its members getting equal opportunities and a freedom to function. Having staged close to 65 plays,the repertory of the groups work is wide,having staged plays by eminent playwrights such as Kalidasa,Shakespeare,Badal Sircar,Mohan Rakesh,Girish Karnad,Samuel Beckett and Arthur Miller. Thakur directed many Indian and English classics such as Macbeth, Antigone and Konark. His contribution to theatre was recognised by National Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2008. In 1962,while working as an Oppenheimer Awardee,Thakur was awarded a Masters degree in literature by Oxford University for his dissertation,Symbolism in the novels of Virginia Woolf. He retired in 1974,the same year when Abhinet was founded. He directed the groups debut production by Mohan Rakesh,called Ashadh Ka Ek Din. He was a great human being,and guided Abhinet through a successful journey of 39 years and will be missed, says theatre person Kamal Arora,who is a senior member of Abhinet.