Veteran theatrist Moti Lal Kemmu dies at 84

Veteran theatrist Moti Lal Kemmu dies at 84
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Srinagar: Moti Lal Kemmu, a veteran theatre activist, actor and playwright has passed away on Sunday in Jammu after an illness. He was 84.
Born in 1933 at Fateh Kadal, Moti Lal Kemmu had dedicated his life to Kashmiri theatre after receiving specialized training in Drama and theatre from Prof C C Mehta at Baroda University from 1961 to 1964.
A graduate of Jammu and Kashmir University, Kemmu also served in government on different positions between 1964 and 1991, during which he wrote, acted and directed plays in Kashmiri.
His plays include Teen Asangati Aikanki (1968), Lal Drayas Lol Re (1972), Trunove (1970), Tshai (1973), Natak Truche (1980), Tota Tol Aina (1985). Several of his plays were also translated and produced in Hindi.
Kemmu was also conferred with Padma Shri award in 2012.
He was actively involved in preserving the age-old, dying folk theatre of Kashmir, by re-organising Bhand artists into regular groups, now working in the valley under his guidance and support. He is the founder of many theatre groups such as Abhinava Bharati, Kashmir Bhagat Theatre, Shahwali Lika Rang, Luka Theatre Bombay, National Bhand Theatre, Wathora etc.
Kemmu has also written well-researched articles on folk theatre, music, dance and culture of Kashmir in Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi and English, which have been published in prestigious journals. Sidharth Kak’s documentary film The Bhands of Kashmir was produced under Kemmu’s expert guidance.
Later he served in different capacities, in the cultural establishment of Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir from 1964 to 1991, during which period he also wrote, acted and directed plays in Kashmiri. He emerged as an important Kashmiri writer with his plays: Teen Asangati Aikanki (1968), Lal Drayas Lol Re (1972), Trunove (1970), Tshai (1973), Natak Truche (1980), Tota Tol Aina (1985). Several of his plays were also translated and produced in Hindi.
He was actively involved in preserving the age-old, dying folk theatre of Kashmir, by reorganising Bhand artists into regular groups, now working in the valley under his guidance and support. He is the founder of many theatre groups such as Abhinava Bharati, Kashmir Bhagat Theatre, Shahwali Lika Rang, Luka Theatre Bombay, National Bhand Theatre, Wathora etc.
Kemmu has also been writing well-researched articles on folk theatre, music, dance and culture of Kashmir in Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi and English, which have been published in prestigious journals. Sidharth Kak’s documentary film The Bhands of Kashmir was produced under Kemmu’s expert guidance.
Kemmu was a senior fellow (Literature) of Govt. of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, devoting his time to the writing of plays and a book on the folk theatre of Kashmir. He has also organised a number of actor’s and playwrights’ workshops in Kashmir and made a significant contribution to the promotion and dissemination of Kashmiri arts and culture. In recognition of his service to Kashmiri arts and literature, Kemmu has been honoured with several awards by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Rashtra Bhasa Prachar Samiti etc. He received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1982 for his contribution to Kashmiri literature as a playwright
His death has been widely condoled by art and cultural fraternity.
Vice President of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages (JKAACL), Zafar Iqbal Manhas recalled his association with the noted playwright.
A condolence meeting was also held at K L Saigal Hall in Jammu today which was chaired by Secretary JKAACL, Dr Aziz Hajini.