She is one of the senior most and respected artistes in the country, who has given her life to theatre. And today, she is happy that her work has been recognised. An actor, director, teacher, researcher and musician, Rani Balbir Kaur, who emerged on the professional stage in 1972, has been awarded for her overall contribution in theatre by the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
Describing it as a humble feeling, Kaur says that the award will inspire her to work harder in the field. She says that the stage is her home, a platform that gives her space to explore and experiment.
Apart from Kaur, four other artistes from Chandigarh were also the proud winners of prestigious award. One of them being Chandershekhar Prasad who was conferred the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for direction. Introduced in 2006 with the objective to identify and encourage young talents in the field of performing arts, the award is presented to artistes below 40 years of age.
Working as a theatre director for 10 years, Prasad has adapted stories, novels, folk tales and philosophical ideas in Indian context. In the face of contemporary imagery pattern, he enjoys incorporating elements of folk and traditional theatre, rituals, social events as well as music for crafting his productions. “I found myself as someone who can easily direct a play which can be performed anywhere. I strongly believe in expanding the accessibility of the performance.
This award is a recognition of my serious commitment towards evolving the new dramaturgy by doing research, project works and facilitating workshops.
After theatre and direction, it was the turn of folk musical artiste Mamata Joshi . Trained in Indian classical music, Joshi is known for her versalility and someone who has taken Punjabi folk music and sufiaana kalaams to a larger audience. She has also experimented to make music combining Western fusion and Indian classical music.
The other two who recieved the award was young Kathak dancer Divya Dikshit and Chaman Lal Ahuja who recieved the award for overall contribution in arts. “The feeling is great, and it’s still sinking in…I will continue with my riyaaz and I am looking forward to a tour to the south of India and perform,” smiles Dikshit.