Shreerupa Mitra-Jha | August 22, 2014
A Padma Shri award-winning theatre director, actress and impresario, Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry is also a Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee. Her recent directorial work was License – The Untitled Saga. She has also directed Ariel Dorfman’s Nachiketa Liberetto with the Opera Circus in London. Since 1990, Mansingh Chowdhry has been teaching at the Department of Indian Theatre in Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Here’s the subject, up close and personal.
The book I am reading now: And Then, You Act: Making Art in an Unpredictable World by Anne Bogart.
My favourite theatre production: Pina Bausch’s play Bamboo Blues
My greatest weakness: My two sons.
Person I admire the most and why: BV Karanth and Ebrahim Alkazi, both eminent theatre directors. Ebrahim Alkazi was the director of the National School of Drama, and I, as a student, learnt from him the intricacies of playmaking. Karanth taught me that theatre was a celebration and by nature improvisational. Both were masters in the art of play-making.
The person I despise the most and why: I hate communalist, racist and sexist people (the reasons are fairly evident). I despise countries that bomb schools, and kill children. I despise men who rape children and brutalise women, discriminate in the name of religion and caste; people who use their brute strength to terrorise the marginalised and the disfranchised members of society.
If I was not a theatre director… I would have been a lazy, non-motivated housewife.
My favourite quote: “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” Bertold Brecht.
I am at present busy with… Teaching, directing and looking after my home.
I would like people to remember me as: Someone who was passionately curious and translated that quality into telling stories.
The interview appeared in the August 1 to 15, 2014 issue of the magazine.
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