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School kids pay tributes to Shastri
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 2
The 102nd birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri was celebrated at Shastri Model School here today. The staff and students of the school participated in the function. A hawan and prayer were also organised on the occasion. Poems and speeches were also delivered by students and teachers on the occasion. Principal of the school R. Bala talked to the students about the life of the great leader.

Mr Ram Lal Sewak (Manager), while sharing his views said Shastriji was a great leader who embodied the three qualities— ‘vinamre, vaibhav and vibhor’.

Mr Rajinder Prasad Sharma, Municipal Councillor and Mr Kuljit Singh Bedi, President, Block Congress, and Municipal Councillor attended the function. Others who attended the function included Amrik Singh Bhatti, A.R. Kumar, B.K. Biala, M.M. Pathak, Indu Sehgal Joginder Singh Sondhi, Mahinder Chopra, P.S. Virdi and Mohinder Singh.



Seminar on financial restructuring
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
The Chandigarh-Panchkula chapter of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India organised a seminar on financial restructuring here yesterday.

Addressing the seminar, Mr B.P. Chopra, General Manager (North), Punjab National Bank, said the cost accountants played a major role in the economy of the nation.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were Mr Rajeev Mehrotra, Additional General Manager, Power Finance Corporation, New Delhi, and Mr Saurabh Srivastava, Deputy General Manager, ITI Limited, Lucknow.



At 89, Uzra’s romance with theatre continues
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Uzra Butt
Uzra Butt

Chandigarh, October 2
The feistiness is evident in word and spirit and at the age of 89, Uzra Butt is the quintessence of grace and vivaciousness. While the essence of her older sister, the matchless Zohra Sehgal, hangs gently over her words, Uzra Butt's tales, lush with reminiscences, are a remarkable demonstration of an exceptional artiste with an incomparable relish for life.

In the city to participate in the 'Sada-e-Aman Adakar International Theatre Festival' organised by the Adakar Manch, Mohali, she is a part of the joint venture production between Pakistani and Indian theatre artistes in Madeeha Gauhar's 'Dukh Dariya' to be staged on October 7 and 8 at the Tagore Theatre.

What makes Uzra's story unique is that born in India she moved to Pakistan with her husband Hamid after the Partition and stayed on there. Yes, she admits the initial years were difficult but "today when I come here I feel I have been here all my life and when I am there I feel I am in my 'old' or shall I say 'new' life. But whichever way one sees it, it is life, is it not?" she asks.

However, the move never curbed her passion for theatre. "It is not difficult to be a woman theatre actor in Pakistan. I was lucky to find Bengalis in Pakistan interested in theatre and dance like me and we started a small group and performed extensively on stage."

However in theatre aficionados' eyes, it was her moving performance with sister Zohra in Madeeha Gauhar's 'Ek Thi Naani', first staged in Lahore in 1993 and bringing the two sisters together, on stage, for the first time. Was it an emotional moment? "Not really, because we were both doing our roles," she replies adding in the same breath how her sister has always been a source of inspiration for her.

The play is based on the two sisters' lives but despite having lived across the border from her family, Uzra insists, "I am just like anyone of you except that I read the Koran because there are some many beautiful teachings in it," she smiles.

Her life is a richly carved book spanning almost a whole century of living and which began in Dehra Dun in 1917 where she was born. It was only when she was in her teens that Uzra's career on stage with Uday Shankar's ballet company began in 1935, but quite by chance.

‘‘I had never really thought of being a performer. I was a sportswoman and would have been a tennis player except that 'Biyappa' sent me a letter saying Uday Shankar needed someone for his troupe and that I should join. I was 18 then."

Uzra performed with them till the Second World War broke out a few years later. Then in 1943 the grand old man of theatre, Prithviraj Kapoor, was looking for someone to play 'Shakuntala' in Kalidasa's play of the same name and chanced upon her while she was rehearsing with Damyanti Sahni (Balraj Sahni's wife) in Delhi. Kapoor had actually come to speak with Damyanti but ended up handing the script over to Uzra. "I was not sure. In those days I used to play male roles because I was tall," she laughs but Uzra learnt the script in two days flat and surprised even the formidable Kapoor with her talent for the craft. "However, when I saw Prithviraj Kapoor on stage in all his regalia, his towering personality had me frozen. Luckily for me the role demanded a demure woman in the beginning but even my husband said I was standing there like a block of ice," she laughs at the memory.

The cheer comes easy as she talks of her favourite things like eating in 'thalis' with 'katoris' and loving coconut chutney but so does the quiet confidence, of someone who has seen it all and cherished it all. "Even when people come to congratulate me after a performance, I think to myself 'kasar reh gayi' (something is lacking) and it is that 'kasar' that keeps me going. I am here to get that right and until I do not, I will go on."

Her 'Dukh Dariya' at the age of 89, is proof of that indefatigable spirit.



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