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Monday, August 02, 2021

Take a Bow

Film screenings, theatre, puppetry, folk music and dance to light up Zohra Sehgal’s 106th birth anniversary

Written by Dipanita Nath |
Updated: May 3, 2018 12:05:34 am
Zohra Sehgal’s 106th birth anniversary    Zohra Sehgal (left); a still from the film Mazhabi Laddoo

All that the child of a sweet maker wants, in the film Mazhabi Laddoo, is a delicious, saccharine mouthful of laddoos. When he comes across the sweet being distributed as prasad by a local temple, he takes two. “One for me and one for my Ammi,” he says. His mother hits the ceiling when he gives it to her and the child is confused. In the 25-minute film by Mumbai-based Saurabh Tyagi, the Muslim boy’s simple yearning for a sweet treat opens up a dark labyrinth of gunah and hell — and sheds light on the depths of communal divide in India. When Tyagi had met Zohra Sehgal in Lucknow, she had expressed the wish to have the film screened in Delhi. It is now a part of the third Zohra Sehgal Festival of the Arts, which marks the late actor’s 106th birth anniversary in Delhi from May 3 to 5. The festival is also dedicated to Joy Michael of Yatrik theatre group who passed away in March.

“She was fond of the arts so this is the best way we can remember her,” says Kiran Segal, Zohra’s daughter. The festival has been curated to include recitals by Rimpa Siva, one of the few women tabla players in the country, and Odissi dancer Aruna Mohanty. Films had cemented Zohra’s position in the mainstream imagination and audiences can watch her in Cheeni Kam, by R Balki, on May 5. In the foyer, there will be a display by Delhi Blue Pottery Trust and puppets by Dadi Pudumjee. “Ma had started with dance and ended with theatre, so we always have these in the festival,” says Kiran. The second day includes a performance of Lawani dance from Maharashtra while the third day brings back Naya Theatre of Habib Tanvir, performing their classic Charandas Chor. The play, about a thief who vows to tell the truth, had been a part of the Zohra Sehgal Festival of the Arts in 2016.

The festival will be held from May 3 to 5 at CD Deshmukh Auditorium, India International Centre

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