Habib Tanvir

Other names of Habib Tanvir: Habib Ahmed Khan
Birthday: 01-09-1923
Date of death: 08-06-2009
Star sign: Libra


Habib Tanvir was an acclaimed poet, actor, theatre director in the 20th century; also an Urdu and Hindi playwrights. He was born on 1st September 1923 in Raipur, Madhya Pradesh. He studied till 10th at Laurie Municipal High School in Raipur; and took his degree from the Morris College, Nagpur in Bachelor of Arts, in the year 1944.

Later he mastered from Aligarh Muslim University. Tanvir married Moneeka Mishra; she died in the year 2005. They have two children Nageen and Anna. In 1945, Tanvir moved to Mumbai, then Bombay; there he joined to All India Radio (AIR); there he became a producer. During that period, he acted in some films and wrote songs for Urdu and Hindi films. By joining Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA) as an actor, he became a part of Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA).

He took over the organisation after the notable IPTA members were imprisoned because of their protest against British rule. In 1954, when Tanvir came back to his hometown, New Delhi, he worked at Hindustani Theatre of Qudsia Zaidi and worked with Children’s theatre too. There he wrote many plays.

His first play came up on works of 18th century prominent Urdu poet, Nazir Akbarabadi; the play was named ‘Agra Bazar’. He brought residents, folk artists from the village Okhla, situated in Delhi and students from Jamia Millia Islamia together for the play; such scenario appeared the first time in an Indian theatre.

This play was performed at a marketplace than on stage. Tanvir went in the year 1955 to England. There he took training in acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and also trained in a direction at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 1956. Later he travelled in Europe for two years.

During this period, he stayed in Berlin for about eight months, where he saw many play performances of Bertolt Brecht. He was too influenced by these plays. Habib came back to India in the year 1958. He produced a play, which was based on Sanskrit work of Shudraka’s; the play was named ‘Mitti ki Gaadi’.

It was the first Chhattisgarhi production of him. In this play, he worked with six Chhattisgarh folk actors. In 1959, he founded a theatre company named ‘Naya Theatre’. Further, he produced famous plays like ‘Charandas Chor’ (1975); this play marked the new style in modern Indian theatre; it received Fringe Firsts Award in 1982, ‘Gaon ka Naam Sasural, Mor Naam Damaad’ which was based on the comic folk tale and many more plays.

Tanvir also collaborating with Shyam Benegal made a play based on a film. He has also acted in more than ten films. Few of the films are ‘ Gandhi’ (1982) and ‘ Black and White’. Tanvir’s Chhattisgarhi play ‘Ponga Pandit’, a religious hypocrisy play became controversial in 1990 due to the social mode created, which was created by the demolition of Babri Masjid.

The Hindu fundamentalists like Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) agitated the play; still he continued to perform the play. Tanvir’s work included the work from all genres throughout his career. In 1969, he was honoured with Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. In 1983, he received Padma Shri.

Later in the year 1990, he was honoured with Kalidas Samman and also Padma Bhushan in 2002. Tanvir died on 8th June 2009 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. At the annual theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav of NSD (National School of Drama), an exhibition was displayed to pay tribute to Habib Tanvir and B V Karanth.

Ajit Dalvi Hindi Actor

Ajit Dalvi

Ajit Dalvi is a Marathi writer, who started his career in Chandrakant Kulkarni’s ‘Bindhaast’ in the year 1999, along with his brother Prashant Dalvi. The duo won the Best Screenplay and Best Dialogue Awards at the Maharashtra State Film Awards in the year 2000 for his brilliant work in the film. Since then, they have worked with Kulkarni in almost all their films. Ajit and Prashant were a writer-duo, who predominantly worked in Marathi cinema. Ajit was born in Murud Janjira and studied in Mumbai in his initial years. His family shifted to Aurangabad, where he studied in college. He obtained a degree in MA in Political Science and subsequently became a professor in the same college that spanned for over 40 years. He started writing plays since 1980. He penned ‘Doctor Tumhi Suddha’ in 1990, following with ‘Gandhi Viruddh Gandhi’ in 1995 - 1996, which was translated into several languages. Back in his early days, Ajit and his brother used to be social activists and theatre practitioners. Their social inclinations started because of their father, M. Y. Dalvi, a well-known journalist and socialist, from where they formed intellectual contemplation at a very young age. During the 70’s, Ajit was involved in a youth movement called “Yuvak Karanti Dal” and in 1978, he started working in theatres. Ajit lives in Aurangabad while Prashant dwells in Mumbai. Because of their distance, they penned plays individually and come together when working on films. He penned his very first full-length play entitled ‘Muktidham’, to oppose on the hypocrisy of the government. Since then, he started writing continuously for his theater group called “Parivartan”. He and Prashant were chosen in Playwright’s Workshop by the Ford Foundation. He wrote a play, which was enacted and helmed by Dr. Shriram Lagu in 1985, and since then, he formally started writing regularly. Ajit never had a formal training or education in screenwriting. He wrote through his experiences and observations only, and with the help of the books he read. The Dalvi brothers penned the screenplay and story of the Marathi film, Tukaram in 2012. This film is a biopic about the life of Saint Tukaram. In 2013, they worked in the Marathi drama film, Aajcha Divas Majha. Prior to this, he also penned the dialogues in the Hindi film, Meerabai Not Out in 2008. In 2014, they penned the fictional-biopic film, Dusari Goshta, which is also helmed by Chandrakant Kulkarni.