An exquisite evening of Theatre and Performing Arts held in Hyderabad National icons light up the stage

June 26, 2024 19:24:46 IST
MTG editorial

A magnificent homage was paid to Hyderabad's cultural maven Begum Razia Baig, who passed away in the city on March 24th. From the opening address of playwright Noor Baig: "It's hard to pay tribute to someone whose presence is felt all around. Harder to acknowledge a loss that has caused a void not just of a person, but of a way of life, of a safe harbor, of an enduring stability" to the closing poetic verses of celebrated theatre actor-son Padmashri Mohammad Ali Baig reciting Gehwara by Urdu poet Ali Sardar Jaffery, the stage came alive with memorable performances of Ila Arun, Mita Vasisht, Mohan Agashe, Rashmi Seth and Telugu actor Sreedhar Beecharaju. It was a poignant emotions-filled evening at packed ballroom Radisson Blu Plaza at the upscale Banjara Hills in Hyderabad.

Mohan Agashe read out a scene from Marathi play Durinchanthe Thimir Zavo and played Bal Kolhatkar's famous song, Aai Tujhi Aathvan Yete, spoke about the natural bond of a mother which he termed as 'the only real blood relation' in this world. Ila Arun superbly enacted a touching scene from her adaptation of Henrick Ibsen's Peer Ghani, where a mother and son's bond was remarkably centrestage. In her address before her performance, she called Begum Razia Baig a Shanth Moorat, who would from her seat in the first row, radiate a strong presence sitting quietly. She praised son Mohammad Ali Baig's efforts of putting up this evening in memory of his mother. The ever-so-talented and striking Mita Vasisht did her piece from Lal Ded and drew the similarity in the lives of the Kashmiri sufi poetess and Begum Baig's. She noted that, "Begum Razia Baig always welcomed the performing artistes to her huge theatre festival and remained out of the limelight herself. One never believed that she ran such a big theatre organization for two decades, taking on after her husband's memorable plays of the 1970s and 1980s". Lillete Dubey aptly summed up Begum Baig, "She was so beautiful, soft spoken, full of old-world grace that hid an indomitable spirit. Her warmth and sincerity was unmistakably, and had astute and insightful observation on theatre that kept her husband's legacy alive. Thank you Begum Razia Baig for keeping the grace and nuances of bygone era intact and the flame of Baig legacy burning bright. She always made sure you are well-looked after and especially well fed!" The statuesque Bharat Natyam dancer from Bangalore Vani Ganapathy set the stage on fire with her performance based on the poem of Tamil poet Subramania Bharti, sung by Bombay Jayashree. She recalled her close association with the late doyenne and said that "We are today celebrating her life".

Veteran actress Rashmi Seth brought the full-house audience to tears when she spoke about Raziaji in tears, and her enacting scenes from Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation's acclaimed period spectacle Swanneh Hayat got a rapturous applause.

The evening's performances with the theme of a 'Mother and a Woman of a Substance' was an apt tribute to a person who nurtured and propogated theatre, and made the annual Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival "an annual get-together of the country's theatre family," as late Bengali theatre veteran Usha Ganguli had once rightly said. Begum Razia Baig, wife of Hyderabadi theatre doyen late Qadir Ali Baig passed away in March this year in Hyderabad at the age of 73. The classy event titled 'Remembering Razia Baig' was a deeply moving tribute that filled every theatre lover's heart with emotion and left everyone with the cherished memories of the matriarch whose loss will be felt but her memory will inspire generations with her deep impact on the theatre and Hyderabad's social fabric. It shall continue in Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation that she formed and the annual prestigious Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival that have become a benchmark for global theatre.

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

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