Alkazi: Saudi-Indian theater icon star attraction at Dammam fest

Updated 18 February 2015
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Alkazi: Saudi-Indian theater icon star attraction at Dammam fest

It is a classic case of believe it or not. Ebrahim Alkazi, the celebrated Indian theater director, has his roots in Unaiza in Qassim.
Alkazi’s businessman father, Hamad, came from Saudi Arabia and did business in India in the 1960s and 1970s. That was before the oil boom changed the face of Saudi Arabia.
Alkazi, now 90, went to St. Vincent’s High School in Pune and St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He went to London for training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
On Feb. 20, when Alkazi will be honored at the 2nd Saudi Film Festival in Dammam, it will be like a homecoming for the prodigal son.
“We want to honor pioneers in the field of theater,” said Ahmed Al-Mulla, director general of the festival. “And Alkazi is top on that list.”
Alkazi has played the role of a bridge between Indian and Arab cultures. “We consider him as a treasure and a maker of history. We want to present him as a role model to our Saudi youth,” said Al-Mulla.
He said a documentary on Alkazi will be screened during the opening ceremony, and a book is also being published illustrating his remarkable life and achievements.
Early on in his career, Alkazi got associated with the Bombay Progressive Artists Group, which included M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza, Akbar Padamsee, Tyeb Mehta, artists who were later to paint from his plays and design his sets.
As the director of the prestigious National School of Drama, Alkazi revolutionized Indian theater by the magnificence of his vision, and the meticulousness of his technical discipline. He trained many well-known film and theater actors and directors, including Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Rohini Hattangadi. He also founded Art Heritage Gallery in Delhi.
Alkazi’s father spent his life trading between Pakistan, India, Turkey, Kuwait and Lebanon. He settled for some time in India, when his son Ebrahim was born in 1925 in Pune.
His daughter Amaal and son Faisal are also associated with theater.
Alkazi speaks highly about his father and takes immense pride in his Saudi roots and considers his early days in Pune as “the richest moments in my life.”


Ali called Marvel about ‘Blade’ after ‘Green Book’ win

Updated 21 July 2019
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Ali called Marvel about ‘Blade’ after ‘Green Book’ win

  • After winning his second Academy Award for “Green Book” earlier this year, Ali set up a meeting with the superhero studio
  • Within 10 minutes, Ali asked what was happening with “Blade” and said he wanted to play him

SAN DIEGO: Mahershala Ali made the first move with Marvel Studios and “Blade.” Comic-Con audiences learned on Saturday night that Ali would be playing the Marvel Comics character in a reboot.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says right after winning his second Academy Award for “Green Book” earlier this year, Ali set up a meeting with the superhero studio.
Within 10 minutes, Ali asked what was happening with “Blade” and said he wanted to play him.
Wesley Snipes played the half-vampire in three films for New Line Cinema and in a recent cameo in “What We Do in the Shadows.”
Although there were rumors that Snipes would return over the years, nothing had officially progressed with the property on the big screen since the rights reverted to Marvel Studios in 2012.