M.S. Sathyu



Born on 6 July 1930 in Mysore, Shri M.S. Sathyu did his schooling in Bangalore. He chose to leave college in 1952 while studying for his BSc degree and moved to Mumbai to work in films. Apart from being considered one of the important designers and directors of the progressive movement in theatre and of experimental theatre, Shri Sathyu’s film Garm Hava (1974) is considered an important contribution to Indian cinema. The film was the National Award winner and was also the Indian entry at the Oscars. Shri Sathyu has been a witness to the rise of experimental and progressive theatre movement in India in the mid-50s which believed that the future of Indian theatre lay in indigenous forms with relevant themes. Closely associated with Habib Tanvir and Begum Qudsia Zaidi who established Hindustani Theatre in 1957-8, Shri Sathyu created works in his own style – mingling aesthetics with activism. He designed and directed productions for many theatre groups including Hindustani Theatre, New Delhi (stage design for Mitti ki Gaadi [1958], and Mudrarakshas [1963], costume and stage design for Shakuntala [1959], design and direction for Amrapali [1960], Khalid ki Khala [1962], Sufaid Kundali [1963]). A reputed stage designer, Shri Sathyu has also designed sets and lighting for productions of Alyque Padamsee’s Theatre Group, Alkazi’s Theatre Unit, Herbert Marshall’s Civic Theatre, Balraj Sahni’s Juhu Art Theatre, etc. In Bangalore, he has worked with Samudaya, Nataranga, ADA and other groups. His major works have come from Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), such as stage design for Rajinder Singh Bedi’s Ek Chadar Maili si (1966), Sagar Sarhadi’s Bhagat Singh (1970), directed by Shama Zaidi; Ramesh Talwar’s Darindey (2015), direction for Balraj Sahni’s Sookshmaroop (1972), Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena’s Bakri and Bakri.Com, to name a few. He has also designed and directed plays for other groups in Kannada and Hindi, such as Dara Shikoh and Mudra Rakshas for Impresario Asia, Delhi, Matash Raja for Rangayana, Mysore, etc., besides producing and directing many television serials, documentaries, feature films, etc. Shri Sathyu has been felicitated with numerous awards and honours, such as the Padma Shri (1975), Karnataka State Rajyotsava Honour (1982), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1993), SACF (South Asian Cinema Foundation) Award, London (2004), and Honorary Doctorate from Mangalore University (2005), etc. Shri M.S. Sathyu is elected Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contribution to Indian theatre.