Akademi Award: Direction
Born in 1947 in Bombay, Shrimati Veenapani
Chawla is one of the foremost directors in contemporary Indian theatre.
A self-taught artist, she has evolved a new language for theatre practice
through a process of intensive training in various forms of performing
arts under traditional gurus and modern masters. Thus she learnt Chhau
from Guru Krishna Chandra Naik, Dhrupad from the Dagar brothers, and
Kutiyattam from Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar. On the other hand, she
took voice training from Patsy Rodenberg at the Royal Shakespeare Company,
London, and attended Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret in Denmark.
In 1981, she founded the Adishakti Theatre Company in Bombay, where
she creates new theatre and imparts training to performers. She holds
post-graduate degrees in history and political philosophy from the Universities
of Delhi and Bombay.
Shrimati Veenapani Chawla started her career as an actor-director in
1979 with Sita, where she played the lead role. Her subsequent productions
include Oedipus, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Trojan Women,
A Greater Dawn, Impressions of Bhima, So What’s New?, The Awakening
Ray, Khandava Prastha Agni Ahooti, and Brihannala. Her productions such
as Rhythm, Ganapati, and The Hare and The Tortoise have had leading
actors including Naseeruddin Shah, Deepa Lagoo, Alok Nath, Neena Gupta,
Sohaila Kapoor, and Javed Jafri on their casts. She has herself acted
in several plays including
Roshomon directed by Amol Palekar and Jasma Odan directed by Shanta
Shrimati Chawla has been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the
Department of Culture, Government of India, and has co-authored a book
titled Early Indian Political History. She has travelled widely on various
research projects, and has conducted theatre festivals, workshops and
seminars within and outside the country.
Shrimati Veenapani Chawla receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for
her contribution to Indian theatre as a director.