Thursday, February 18, 2016


                                ( Vijay Malla  in action performing for his Monday Theatre  (NUKKAD ))
 (The blogger with Vijay Malla at a live performance)   

VIJAY MALLA  ( Born 1950 )

He is Vijay Malla  . Born at  Malik Angan Fateh Kadal in Srinagar city   , Malla has devoted his entire life to Theatre.

“ Avtar Ji , I am a law Graduate of 1973. My family came to Jammu   in 1950. The inspiration to work in Theatre came from my elder brother  S K Malla who worked in Rajya Sabha New Delhi . He was connected with Theatre for more than 50 years .I believe it was 1965 when i did my first play. I have written ,directed and acted in so many plays that I myself do not know the exact number .Starting from Radio dramas in 1970, I have come down to Monday Theatre  ( Nukkad ) . This journey has been fascinating , satisfying and inspiring.Money never remained my aim. I wanted to learn and pass on whatsoever I learnt.
Initially ,  C Parwana and Vaishno Bhardwaj ( Radio kashmir jammu ) were my Gurus . They taught me the skill of writing Radio Dramas and plays for Theatre. Both were real masters  at that point of time.This is possibly a period around 1970. And then came  Kavi Rattan sharma  from NSD. He was my second teacher .Later I associated with Parveen kesar and Raman Kesar who organized IPTA in Jammu , may be around 1974. I have also observed some great performers  live and that has helped me a lot  in learning naunces of stage acting . Among these great performers /theatre artists I include  Shambu Mitra , A K Hangal  and Habib Tanveer “

“ Let me add more . I scripted a play  “GORI  MAA  KE KAALE  BACHAY “. It won 13 awards in Drama Festival. I had directed the play. It had 38 actors . I also won Best Director award.I also scripted a play  “NA KHUDA HI MILAA NA VISAALE   SANAM “ for theatre  festival . A play on Swami Vivekananda  titled  “ SAB  KE   SWAMI  JI “  was also well received. A play on BEGUM AKHTAR  titled MALIKAA  E TARRANUM   BEGUM  AKHTAR  was scripted and  directed  by me for Theatre Festival.I also scripted and directed “ AIRRAY GAIRRAY  NATHU KHAIRRAY “ for Dehradun Theatre Festival. It was also well received by the audience. I must have acted in more than 40 radio plays  .I have also written about 10 features for AIR apart from scripting about 10 radio dramas . My radio  drama  “Honey Moon”  was quite poplular .Where can we get those talented radio drama writers like Puhker Nath BA? That class is nowhere to be seen now . There can be no other Veer Saxsena in AIR. I learnt a lot from him .I scripted two Features for DD titled BABA CHAMLIYAAL ( based on life story of this great saint and healer revered in India and Pakistan. His shrine is on Indo Pak border near Ramgarh In Jammu) and SHAHDARA SHARIF ZIYARAT OF RAJOURI. These features  are like archival records . I had to do a lot of research  work for these  features. For DD Kashir , I have scripted a Urdu  tele serial TAMANNA . I have also acted in some TV serials produced by DDK, Srinagar . SHAHAR NA PRETCHHAN, HAA’R  TA   TO’TAA, VARAQ AND VYAATH  of Ravi Raaz come to my mind at the moment. I scripted a Kashmiri play MOOLAN  DROA'T  TA PATARRUN  SUG for SHUHUL TAAF drama festival held in Delhi last year.“

" You are right .Many people confuse me with singer Vijay Malla. He was younger to me. A friend .Loved him like my younger brother. Very talented. A real carefree and  Mastaana type artist.I remember how beautifully he sang "Maayoos na ho Aey meray wattan" when we held IPTA convention in January 2012 at Jammu .We had invited Balkar Sidhu , a  thespian IPTA stalwart of Punjab. Even Balkar was moved.Miss him. I was with him the day he died. And my family received 100 calls from friends all over India next day. Everyone thought I was no more."

Malla won the prestigious ' Cultural Academy Theatre Festival Award ' in 1973 for his play” Tumhaare Chehare “. He scripted the play and it was directed by Upinder Khashu . He won the lead actor award for this play as well .

Malla has scripted and acted in more than 180 Nukkad plays   on  various subjects including National Integration. More than 20 tele serials have been scripted by him . Fluent in Dogri and Punjabi, he  does not remember how many plays he has scripted  for mainstream theatre.

He has acted in more than 30 tele serials and feature films / documentaries latest being Ravi Kemu’s  “Hamaare Gaaon Koyee Aayega” .

And for his work in theatre , Govt of India honoured him with a 'Senior Fellowship  Award' in 2009 . This fellowship is awarded to 12 eminent persons all over the country every year. And for this fellowship , he wrote a  wonderful research based book ( 475 Pages ) on ancient Ramleela in Duggar hills  ( Hindi.. Duggar Ki Pracheen Ram Leela ). The Book has been published by Govt of India .

Since 1990, He is president of  IPTA ,J&K chapter for sixth term now . 

Married to a girl from Garyaali family of  Rainawari, Srinagar  ( His father in law was GM Thappar Mills Punjab ),   he  lives in Jammu with his family.

“Theatre was not a regular activity in Jammu. It had a cost. We would wait for the 'Academy Festival 'and keep on practicing . Yes Ram Leela was very well organized in Jammu. Kot Bhalwal had the oldest Ram Leela theatre . So was Basholi.  Seri Panditan , a  village near Kot Bhalwal has produced many Ram Leela artists . You will be surprised to know that residents of Seri Panditan are  actually Kashmiri Pandits who have migrated to this place via Poonch and Akhnoor sometime in 18th century . Some residents of this place worship Sharda as their Kul-Devi. Some worship Jwala Ji of Khrew Kashmir.This applies to Raina community  of Jammu as well.”

" As I told you,  I have never thought  of material comforts  , personal favours , monetary gains or rewards  for my work .Money may come or not, work has to go on .The river of action has to flow , irrigate and pass on what it brings with flow. It never looks beyond that .And for me, nation comes first , both in thoughts and deeds .That is my belief and conviction."

" I can't tell you much about everybody connected with Theatre in Kashmir. Yes I know most of the  state level artists . You see , my Karam Bhoomi has been Jammu and and Punjab.  I keep training   youngsters from our state   . Some of them are really brilliant and original. They need grooming .They need to remain focused.They should not run after fame, awards, money or short lived popularity. Theatre can be their best teacher. And the essence of theatre is struggle. Struggle to be relevant to you audience. Struggle to remain connected to your audience. Let me not talk about the monetary struggle. You should remember how Water from all directions flows towards depth. So they need to create depth in their work, be patient  .Things will travel towards them.Theatre alone can teach them voice modulation, language skills , body language skills, pronunciation skills and the skills  of  dialogue delivery .Remember there is no dubbing or retake in theatre. " 

 He has lived and done theatre in many cities that include  Delhi and Mumbai. He has  also worked and done  theatre in many cities of Punjab.A former employee of TOMCO ( Tatas ) , Malla is totally devoted to his "MONDAY  THEATRE" ( NUKKAD )  now. For this, he has his own theatre group known as 'EK  SAATHH  RANG  MANDAL 'or  ESRM . 

                    (  Vijay Malla with  versatile Theatre actor Anjan Shrivastava and Mr Prassana  Ex chairperson NSD )

" Let us meet tomorrow once more. Come tomorrow only as I am going to Banni (Basholi ) thereafter for about 6 days. Yes NUKKAD. See I am 66.I also have problems of health.I also have family issues. I also have issues of existence .This passion for theatre keeps me going at this age also.. I do not seek rewards. My work may find no recognition. I am not bothered nor am I going to stop it. I am really grateful to my people for the love and respect I get from them.That is my cherished reward in life. Let me sum up this  through a couplet of Jigar Moradabadi..

Ya Rab! hujoom-e-dard ko de aur wusatein,
daaman to  kyaa abhi meri aankhein bhi nam nahin. "

In 2015,  he was awarded Bhagat Singh Samaan or   the prestigious  Uttarakhand Theatre award.

More on him  very shortly.

( Avtar Mota )

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