Fancy a distinctively flavored dance into mid-twentieth century India in the upcoming of an eloquently insightful critic?  You’re in luck. Have a look at Habib Tanvir—Memoirs.

The Book

Habib Tanvir—Memoirs is an English translation by Mahmood Farooqui of an Urdu original by the man in the title. It is a chronicle of Tanvir’s memories, spiced with enthralling descriptions, candid conversations and scholarly observations.

The Writer

The stalwart of Indian theatre, Habib Tanvir (1923–2009) refined the indigenous folk forms to devise a new theatrical language for modern Indian theatre. An active member of IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association), Tanvir founded the Naya Theatre in 1959 and pioneered the Chhattisgarhi nach style to create iconic plays such as Charandas Chor, Agra Bazaar, Gaon ka Naam Sasural, Ponga Pandit and many more.

The Read

Tales of Tanvir’s childhood. His struggle, his passions, the people around him. Observations on cinema in artistic vignettes like his views on the three Devdas and his adulation for K L Saigal, V Shantaram and Satyajit Ray. The high point is a rip-roaring recollection of watching ‘Toofan Mail’ at Babulal Cinema. 

The Voice

The narration is vivid and sharp with Tanvir recounting personal memories that he weaves into a backdrop of historic landmarks.

The Translator

Mahmood Farooqui says the book is a “mouthwatering peek into mid-twentieth century India and an invaluable chapter of our cultural history.’ Farooqui’s introduction to the book and his deft translation bring both Tanvir and his book to life in a special way.

Good For You

Theatre groupies, movie sluts, trivia whores, connoisseurs of history and culture, shameless devourers of memoirs and autobiographies, and anyone interested in India’s early coming of age. (If you didn’t make that list, get a life.)


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