On 15 January 1944, Prithviraj Kapoor, already a film star, realized a long-cherished dream, and Prithvi Theatres was born. Over the next 16 years, Prithviraj Kapoor s repertory toured the country, giving one remarkable performance after another: Shakuntala (1945), Pathan (1947) and Paisa (1953) among them a total of 2662 performances over 5982 days in 112 places! This was theatre history in the making, as stars were born and legends created. Uzra Mumtaz, her sister, Zohra Segal, Prithviraj s cousins, Premnath, Rajindernath, Sajjan and Mohan Saigal, L.V.
Prasad, and the young Kapoors Raj, Shammi and Shashi, made sterling appearances on the Prithvi stage. It remained for Shashi, his wife Jennifer and their children, Kunal and Sanjna, to fulfil Prithviraj s last dream and give Prithvi Theatres a home of its own. On 5 November 1978, the curtain rose on G.P. Deshpande s Uddhwasta Dharmashala, directed by Om Puri, and Prithvi Theatres, the travelling theatre company, was reborn as Prithvi Theatre, the building that has become a landmark in Mumbai.
The passion that drove Prithviraj continues to inspire one hallmark performance after another from actors and directors like Naseeruddin Shah, Nadira Zaheer Babbar, Feroz Khan, Dinesh Thakur, Makarand Deshpande and a host of others who form the galaxy of stars in the world of theatre. This book is the story of a theatre that has become a living legend, and the men and women who made it happen.
Author : Deepa Gahlot
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