Sunday, December 15, 2013



                                                                ( Mrs. Roshen Alkazi )

Reading “ Ancient Indian Costume ” by Roshen Alkazi ( Died 2007 ). This is a wonderful book for any serious reader more particularly for people connected with Films , Television, Theatre , Art and Costume / Dress designing .The book covers Dresses and costumes of India right from Ancient Mauryas to Gupta period . The period thus covered happens to be the glorious period of Indian Civilization. The illustrations and drawings in the Book help the reader to understand the contents with elaborate and reasoned methods used by the author .

The book under review takes you to Maurya and Shunga periods and details the dresses and Ornaments used by the Royals and the ordinary people of that period. It also draws heavily from Kushan, Gandhara ,Sanchi , Satavahana civilizations. Ajanta Cave Drawings have also been extensively covered by the author to bring home her point of view . The author has covered the dresses and ornaments of Soldiers , Milkmaids , Budhist Monks ,Kings , court Dancers , gate keepers , Administrators , Ministers , Village Girls during various civilizations . A reader also understands the origin and usage of various dress /Ornament related items like Angrakha , Nupur , Kangan , Kantha , Chudamani , Panchlari Haar ,Mukut , Lehanga ,Ratanavali ,Mauli , Pulakbandh ,Neelibandh , Chogaa , Choli and Kurta etc. etc.

I have also read Roshen’s both Poetry Books “Seventeen Poems ”and “Seventeen More Poems.” Apart from these books she has also written another scholarly book “ Medieval Indian Costume: India and Central Asia ”. I am informed that her Books on Indian Costumes are a study material in various universities world over .

Roshen Alkazi belonged to the talented Padamse Family of India and married Ebrahim Alkazi ( Born 1925 ) , Doyen of Indian Theatre and Ex Director of National School of Drama . Ebrahim Alkazi has trained Vijaya Mehta, Om Shivpuri, Sai Paranjpye, Surekha Sikri ,Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Manohar Singh, Uttara Baokar, Rattan Thiyam, Jyoti Subhash, Suhas Joshi, B. Jayashree, Anupam Kher ,Jayadev , Rohini Hattangadi , Amal Allana and many more actors connected with films or Theatre in the country .

Roshen is survived by her brilliant children Amal Allana and Faisal Alkazi . Both Amal and faisal are well known names in Indian Theatre. Roshen has been a costume designer for more than five decades and  has designed all the costumes for her husband’s Theatre Productions . She also set up Art Heritage Gallery at Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi.

The book has been dedicated to the memory of her brother Sultan Padamse ………….

( AUTAR MOTA 14.12.2013 )

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