Sudha Shivpuri



Born in 1938 in Indore, Shrimati Sudha Shivpuri is among the foremost actors to have emerged from the National School of Drama in the 1960s. She is witness to the era when Hindi theatre was taking on a new life in the 1960s and '70s, shaped by currents in the contemporary world. That was the time Shri Ebrahim Alkazi was shaping up the National School of Drama, and pathfinders in Indian theatre such as Sombhu Mitra, Badal Sircar, Habib Tanvir, and Mohan Rakesh, were at the height of their creative life. Shrimati Shivpuri started her theatre career as a radio artist with AIR at Jaipur, under the guidance of Shri Ganga Prasad Mathur. She also acted in a few stage plays from 1955 to 1960. She was trained in Thumri- singing by Shri Afzal Hussain. She learnt painting from Shri Ramgopalan Vijayvargi. The urge to be a stage actress brought her to the National School of Drama in Delhi, where she completed her diploma course in acting in 1963. A founder-member of the National School of Drama Repertory Company in 1964, Shrimati Sudha Shivpuri went on to establish the theatre group Dishaantar in 1966 with her husband Shri Om Shivpuri, which became one of the leading avant garde groups in Delhi at the time. During her days at NSD, she established her reputation as one of the most sensitive and versatile actresses of the Hindi theatre through her emotional portrayal of characters such as Mallika in Aashad ka Ek Din, Sundari in Lahron ke Rajhans, Ladki in Pagla Ghora, Leela Benare in Khamosh! Adalat Jari Hai, Savitri in Adhe Adhure, and Gandhari in Andha Yug. She is also remembered for her roles in Antigone, Father, Kanjoos, and The Trojan Women. In a later phase of her career, Shrimati Sudha Shivpuri has acted in television serials and films such as Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Pinjar, Maya Memsaab, The Burning Train, and Swami. She has received many honours including the Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1992. Shrimati Sudha Shivpuri receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to the theatre as an actress.