He was an Indian theatre director and drama teacher who was a strict disciplinarian. He has been a noted art collector and gallery owner. He founded Heritage Gallery in Delhi, in collaboration with his wife Roshan Alkazi. In his life span, he staged more than 50 plays using both proscenium stages and open-air venues.
This man of talent was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London in 1947 and won the BBC broadcasting award in 1950. His famous production includes Girish Karnad’s- Tughlaq, Mohan Rakesh’s Ashadh ka Ek din, Dharmveer Bharti’s Andha Yug and various Shakespeare and Greek plays.
He started the theatre Unit Bulletin in 1953 in addition to his directing. This magazine was published monthly and reported theatre events around India. He established The School of Dramatic Arts and became the principal of Bombay’s Natya academy.
When he was the director of NSD, he revolutionized Hindi theatre with his magnificent vision and meticulousness which inculcated in a technical discipline. He is associated with training many of the well-known theatre and Bollywood personalities such as Om Shivpuri, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Balraj pandit, Vijaya Mehta, B. Jayshree, Jayadev, Rohini Hattangadi, Anupam Kher, Suhas Joshi, Jyoti Subhash, Uttara Baokar and Manohar Singh.
His prestigious awards are included Roopwedh Pratishtan’s Tanvir award for lifetime contribution to theatre. He received Padma Bhushan in 1991 and India’s highest second civilian award Padma Vibhushan in 2010. He has been awarded twice by The Sangeet Natak Akademi for direction in 1962 and also Academics highest award the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to theatre.