Theatre Community Pays Tribute to Begum Razia Baig

April 11, 2024 11:57:15 IST
MTG editorial

Doyenne of Hyderabad theatre, Begum Razia Baig passed away a month short of her 74th birthday and 20 years of the formation of Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation that she founded. She was a mother not to just to two acclaimed theatre personalities Moin and Mohammad Ali Baig (a Padma awardee)), but to almost the theatrescape of the country.

The annual Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival that she chaired and mentored became the state's flagship theatre festival and one of the country's three most prestigious theatre-get-togethers with 18 unstinted editions. She was known for producing heritage oriented historical spectacles at Palaces and forts around the world with plays like QULI : DILON KA SHAHZAADA, SAVAAN-E-HAYAT, SPACES, UNDER AN OAK TREE and others, which in addition to being staged at prestigious global theatre festival had the distinction of being invited to the revered University of Oxford and Edinburgh Festival. In the 1970s and 80s, her adaptations of plays UDHAR KA PATI, SAKHARAM BINDER, AADHE ADHURE and several others for her legendary husband's New Theatre Hyderabad are remembered even today.

Her son Padmashri Mohammad Ali Baig, who was groomed by her, said "How do you grieve the loss of a person, an entity around whom my entire universe revolved. She meant the world to me and the family. It's a loss of not just an outstanding mother but of a guide, mentor, critique and friend not just to me but for the entire theatre fraternity of the country. An extremely noble and magnanimous person, she devoted her entire life to an invaluable cause."

The theatre and film fraternities paid tributes to her:
Legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy's son Joy Roy said, "I have the fondest memories of her pouring tea from a beautiful silver tea set in her house in Jubilee Hills. She had the grace and deportment of a queen". Her columns on authentic Hyderabadi cuisine were as popular as her plays. Begum Razia represented the old-world, bygone era of Hyderabadi tehzeeb and noble etiquette with her poised demeanor. Veteran local actress Rashmi Seth encapsulates it, "Her poise, dignity and charm epitomized her graceful personality. Her smile will be etched in our memory forever."

IPTA Mumbai's Ramesh Talwar said, "Very sad news. Begum Razia has been in the forefront in patronising and encouraging theatre in Hyderabad and all over India along with her family." Actress Dolly Thakore says, "Begum affections for you never fade."

While Tamil actress Suhasini Maniratnam sent her heartfelt condolences, Telugu theatre director of TTRC Vijay Kumar said, "She is the matriarch of a great theatre family. Begum Razia Baig, the great wife of the late legendary actor and director, she laid the foundation of Hyderabad's theater. Moreover, as a mother, she is a matriarch who has given a great actor legacy to Indian drama. The sudden demise of that matriarch left Indian theater in deep grief."

Former Culture and Tourism Minister Dr. Geeta Reddy said, "Having known her personally, I remember her as a kind and warm person. May God give the family the strength to cope up with her loss."

Ram Gopal Bajaj Former Director National School of Drama, New Delhi, "We'll miss the graceful affection of a large-hearted cultural persona."

Actress and director Lillette Dubey, said "Shocked at this unbelievable passing away. Her dignified approach to theatre was inspiring. A genuine person with rare old-world values."

Cinema and theatre actress and singer Ila Arun, said, "I can't forget her face. A very pleasant personality. RIP."

Actress Juhi Babbar, said, "In my theatre journey, I saw a very few people as honest and loving as her. I would say, it was my fortune that I spent time with her so closely."

*Mumbai Theatre Guide takes no responsibility for change in schedule.

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