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As part of the Prithvi festival we decided to commemorate the doyen of theatre -Zohra Sehgal. Known for her vivacious personality and zest for life, Zohra Sehgal has become a force to reckon with. There is so much written, spoken and available on Zohra Sehgal that it almost feels like she is amongst us. At Mehfil we decided to pick up interesting elements of her life, which are lesser known to people and discuss her long illustrious career.

The evening commenced with a brief introduction. We were privileged to have amongst us, Sujata Sehgal – who is the grand daughter of Zohra Sehgal.

Salim Arif Saab started by introducing Zohra Sehgal and her Uday Shankar days. Uday Shankar was a well-known choreographer and Zohra Sehgal was part of his esteemed team. We went on to discuss her early film career and this introduction was accompanied by video clips of Zohra Sehgal in Prithvi where she had recited poems and spoken about Prithviraj Kapoor.

We played two songs from films “ Baazi” and “CID” produced by Guru Dutt Productions to showcase Zohra Sehgal’s choreography skills. There was a conversation about her contribution to films as an actress and then people from the audience shared their experiences of Zohra Sehgal. Iqbal Niyazi read a small piece of his interview with her, which had interesting anecdotes.

Rare photographs of Zohra Sehgal were projected and then Sujata Sehgal spoke about her Nani in a casual and nonchalant manner. The audience was very intrigued to learn about the real ‘Zohra Sehgal’ behind closed doors when the curtains come down.

This was followed by a documentary film directed by Anant Raina which had interesting information about Zohra Sehgal in her own voice. She has spoken about her sisters, her life, her marriage and her career quite candidly. The evening ended with Zohra Sehgal’s recitation of Faiz Ahmed Faiz nazm “ Mujhse pehli si mohabbat ”

The audience was mesmerized by the recitation and the Legend. Very rarely do we come across such personalities in our lives that by their mere existence teach us how beautiful life can be and how to make the most of it while you are still here.