[An] absolutely delightful read. It captures the mischief, courage, perseverance and the indomitable spirit of Zohra Segal.’—The Indian Express

Zohra Segal (1912-2014) spanned an Indian century of the arts, and this elegant biography traces her remarkable journey.

Born into a family with connections to the nawabs of Rampur, Zohra Mumtazullah Khan chose adventure over tradition when she was 18, travelling to Germany to learn modern dance. For the rest of her life, she continued to defy convention and was associated with transformative initiatives in the arts. In 1935, she was recruited by the bohemian genius Uday Shankar and toured the world with his dance troupe. In 1943, she set up a unique dance school in Lahore with her husband Kameshwar, eight years her junior. In Bombay two years later, she joined Prithvi Theatres, founded by the legendary Prithviraj Kapoor, and travelled across India, taking socially relevant plays to the people—through the turbulence of Partition, the heady idealism following Independence, and the tragedy of Kameshwar’s suicide. In 1962, Zohra went to London on a drama scholarship and stayed on for 25 years, becoming part of a tiny band of Asian artistes who would change the complexion of British theatre. From here to pioneering roles in TV series and films like Doctor Who and Bhaji on the Beach was a natural progression. Back in India, she found Bollywood at her door when she was well past eighty. Playing the unconventional grandmother—by turns charming and crusty—she became a star, unlike any other before or since.

Author's Name
ImprintSpeaking Tiger
Pages272 + 16-page photo insert


Added to wishlist!