Padma Vibhushan Zohra Segal is remembered for her joie de vivre, for being the one with a child-like smile, infectious energy and repertoire of work in the field of arts. In Delhi, at the second edition of The Zohra Segal Festival Of The Arts, a fest dedicated to the late actor, you can get a glimpse into her life.
Born on April 27, 1912, Zohra was an actor, dancer, and choreographer. She died at the age of 102 in 2014.
The two-day festival will have a photo exhibition, From Zohra’s Albums, besides the screening of a documentary on her, directed by Anant Raina. There will also be a screening of Gurinder Chaddha’s film, Bhaji on the Beach; a Kathak recital by Pandit Vishal Krishna, and a Children’s Puppet Theatre performance. “My mother enjoyed theatre,” says Kiran Segal, festival curator and Zohra’s daughter, talking about the inclusion of dance and theatre in this year’s edition.
“The exhibition has archival images from her album, which she clicked from her little Brownie camera. These give a glimpse into her chequered life, where she faced a lot of difficulties such as her husband’s death that made her the sole caretaker of her two children,” says Oroon Das, curator of the exhibition.
Das adds that it will be a delight for the viewers to see Zohra with personalities such as Uday Shankar (dancer) and Prithviraj Kapoor (filmmaker). “There are significant chapters of her life such as a photo of her on a ship to Germany, where she first went to study. These give us a sense of the sheer scale and size of the lifestyle she lived to become the iconic figure she is in popular imagination.”
Incorporating multiple art forms, the fest will also see a pottery exhibition by Shehla Hashmi Grewal. Bringing all this together wasn’t easy. “We’ve managed with the help of donations from people. Visitors requested us to make it an annual event, but we need financial help for the years to come,” says Kiran.