Chandigarh, January 19
Celebrated drama critic CL Ahuja passed away at a New Delhi hospital on Tuesday night.
He was 88.
The researcher spent his life dedicated to teaching English drama and appreciating Indian theatre. He was associated with the daily ‘The Tribune’ as drama critic for more than 20 years.
‘Contemporary Theatre of India’ and ‘Theatre Thinking in India’ are his well-known books on the subject.
For the past 15 years he was engaged in writing Urdu poetry. He was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his overall contribution to the art of drama and theatre.
Renowned Punjabi playwright and theatre director Atamjit says, “He was an honest and dedicated person, without any agenda except his academic integrity, who writing on theatre. He was a hardworking man. For two of the books he has written, he might have approached about 400 theatre writers, directors and actors across the country visiting them, recording their interviews and making notes. It was a laborious work to be done by organisations but he could individually do it, which speaks volumes about his dedication.”
Playwright and theatre director Kewal Dhaliwal remembers Ahuja as one of the first few who worked on Punjabi theatre post Partition. “He treasured Punjabi theatre through his articles and registered its presence at the national level, contributing significantly to treasure it,” says Dhaliwal.
Theatre actor and director Sudesh Sharma remembers Ahuja as the foremost critic from the region. “At that time the only main newspaper in the region was ‘The Tribune’. Every Friday theatre artistes would wait for Ahuja’s column in which he would have reviewed all the plays of the week. Each play would get only two to three lines but it was so significant, people would be opening dictionaries to understand it.”
Sharma says Ahuja’s feedback meant the world to artistes. “We would carry the newspaper cuttings in our pocket gloating over the fact that Ahuja had written about us.”
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