A two-day festival celebrating the life and career of dancer-actor Zohra Segal, who was known for her quirky characters in films and theatre, will be held here starting April 23. Apart from commemorating an acclaimed career spanning seven decades, the second edition of 'The Zohra Segal Festival of the Arts' will also mark the actor's 105th birthday, which is on April 27, at India International Centre. Speaking at the festival's announcement, Zohra's daughter and eminent Odissi dancer, Kiran Segal said that it will remain an annual event despite the financial obstacles. "We received an amazing response from people last year, they asked us to make this an annual event. But funding was a big issue, so we are partly being sponsored by Sangeet Natak Akademi and we also ran a fundraiser, where about 22 people came forward. "Despite these financial obstacles, we will not stop from holding this event every year. We hope people will be more interested eventually," Kiran said. Zohra Segal, who died in 2014 at an age of 102 years, is remembered by her daughter as a "strict disciplinarian". "I and my mother used to fight so much. Although she never hit me, I was mortally scared of her.
She was a very strict disciplinarian when it came to taking care of me. "She would always take me to Prithvi theatre where she spent most of her time, and would yell at me if I disappeared even for a minute. It is because of those theatre visits that I still feel at home inside a theatre despite having pursued a different career," Kiran said while reminiscing her early years around her mother. Echoing Kiran's thoughts about her relation with Zohra, eminent theatre actor and director M K Raina also remembered being scared of her on film and theatre sets. "We were to do an early morning shoot so I offered Zohra aapa to stay at my place, but she refused. And when I reached the location in the morning while it was still dark, she was already there. I feared she would shout at me for coming late but thankfully no such thing happened," Raina said. The two day event will open with a photo exhibition 'From Zohra's Albums' curated by Oroon Das, followed by a conversation, 'Archiving The Greats', on the art of recording India's legacies attended by M K Raina, writer Ritu Menon, Anant Raina and Samina Mishra. To be attended by several eminent personalities from the art and culture circles, the first day of the festival will also see the screening of documentary film "Zohra Segal on Zohra Segal" by Anant Raina and film "Bhaji on the Beach" by Gurinder Chaddha, and a Kathak recital by Pt Vishal Krishna. "We will have a puppet show, 'Kalpatru, The Wishing Tree', directed by Dadi Pudumjee, especially for kids on Sunday," Kiran said. The festival will conclude on Apr 23 with 'Ghalib in New Delhi', a drama written and directed by M Sayeed Alam of Pierrot's Troupe.