My first experience of Zohra Sehgal’s exuberance was when I saw her perform at Prithvi theatre many years back. At the age of 92 she performed a play called ” Ek Thi Nani” with her sister Uzra Butt. Watching them perform together was the highlight of the Prithvi Festival that year.
The play tells the story of two sisters — one who emigrated to Pakistan, the other who stayed on in India to dedicate her life to her career in acting and dance. The story loosely follows the real-life thread of the two sisters’ lives; and in doing so it follows, in some ways, the destinies of the two nations.
After the show, there was a standing ovation for the stellar performance. When the audience refused to leave the auditorium, Zohra Sehgal sat down and wowed the audience with a poem from her memory, if i remember correctly it was “Hawaa bhi khushagawaar hai/gulon pe bhi nikhaar hai/tarannumein hazaar hai/bahaar purbahaar hai…“
I remember leaving the theatre feeling completely in awe of this vivacious woman whose energy and spirit was so contagious that it inspired everyone who was present that evening.
Urduwallahs salute and pay tribute to Zohra Sehgal. A woman who lived a long life full of cheer and laughter.
Given below is a the poem ‘Mujh se pehli si Mohabbat’ by Faiz recited by Zohra Sehgal