RIP Begum Razia Baig: Artists mourn loss of Hyderabad’s guiding light of theatre

`Her presence inspired two generations’: Hyderabad artists remember Begum Razia Baig of Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival

By Anoushka Caroline Williams  Published on  19 April 2024 3:45 AM GMT
RIP Begum Razia Baig: Artists mourn loss of Hyderabad’s guiding light of theatre

Hyderabad: In the realm of theatre, there are individuals whose presence transcends the stage, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of audiences. Begum Razia Baig, a distinguished figure in Hyderabad's theatre scene, recently bid farewell, left behind a legacy of grace and inspiration that resonates not only within the city but across the globe.

A Quiet Observer with Enduring Impact

Described as an elegant Hyderabadi lady, Begum Razia Baig possessed a quiet demeanor that belied her profound influence. Whether at forts, palaces, or luxurious venues, she exuded an air of noble etiquette, draped in pastel chiffons and silks with pearls. Her presence, though unassuming, spoke volumes, inspiring two generations of theatre performers and audiences alike.

Tehzeeb and Etiquette: A Bygone Era

Begum Razia Baig epitomized the old-world charm of Hyderabadi tehzeeb and noble etiquette. Her poised demeanor reflected a bygone era, evoking images of a time when manners and refinement were paramount. She represented a legacy that transcended the stage, embodying the essence of Hyderabadi culture with every gesture.

A Patron of the Arts

Nivedita Baunthiyal, Vice-President of Mumbai’s premiere theatre group, hailed Begum Razia Baig as a stalwart patron of the arts.

“Her dedication to nurturing and promoting theatre in Hyderabad, across India, and abroad was truly inspirational. Through her tireless efforts, she ensured that the flame of creativity continued to burn brightly, illuminating the path for future generations of artists” said Nivedita.

A Flagship Festival and Prestigious Productions

Under her stewardship, the annual 'Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival' emerged as the state's flagship theatre event, garnering acclaim on the national and international stage. Known for producing heritage-oriented historical spectacles, Begum Razia Baig captivated audiences with plays like 'Quli: Dilonka Shahzaada' and 'Savaan-e-Hayat,' staged at palaces and forts around the world.

A Family of Artists

Begum Razia Baig's legacy extended beyond the stage, permeating the lives of her children. Her eldest son, Moin Ali Baig, pursued his passion for theatre, studying at the National School of Drama in Delhi and New York University. Meanwhile, her second son, Padmashri Mohammad Ali Baig, was honored for his contributions to the arts in 2014.

A Loss Reverberating Through the Theatre Community

The passing of Begum Razia Baig leaves a void in Hyderabad's theatre community—a void that is keenly felt by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Padmashri Mohammad Ali Baig, reflecting on his mother's legacy, expressed the profound impact she had on his life and the entire theatre fraternity.

“Her absence is mourned not only as the loss of an outstanding mother but also as the departure of a guide, mentor, critic, and friend,” said Mohammad Ali.

A Lasting Legacy

As actress and director Juhee Babbar of Ekjute Theatre aptly puts it, Hyderabad's theatre community has lost a true icon in Begum Razia Baig.

Her legacy of grace, commitment, and generosity will continue to inspire generations of artists. In her, we find a testament to the enduring power of artistry and the profound impact one individual can have on an entire community. Though she may have taken her final bow, her influence will echo through the annals of theatre history for years to come” concluded Juhee.

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