(Last Updated on : 17/05/2012)
Master Fida Hussain was born in the year 1899. He was an actor, singer, director and scriptwriter. He started his career in Parsi theatre
in 1918 and continued to be actively associated with the stage for fifty years. Born in a conservative Muslim family in Moradabad district
, in the Indian state
of Uttar Pradesh
, he was attracted to music and play-acting from childhood, withstanding strong disapproval and even severe corporal punishment in order to pursue his passion for theatre. At the age of 19, he ran away from home and joined the local Royal Dramatic Club, leaving it the same year for Manikshah Balsara's New Alfred Theatrical Company
. He began as a singer, and then played female roles. Groomed in acting by Radheshyam Kathavachak, he graduated to the status of leading man on Laila-Majnun i.e. "Laila and Majnun" in 1930.
Life in Theatre for Master Fida Hussain
After leaving the New Alfred in 1932, Hussain worked with several big and small companies in Ajmer
, Lahore, Indore
, and Kolkata
. He recorded music for His Master's Voice, Kolkata, and experimented with forming his own troupes. In 1939, his moving rendition of the devotee Narsi Mehta in the eponymous play inspired the Hindu guru, the Sankaracharya
, to confer the title 'Narsi' on him, which he proudly used throughout his life. He performed many spiritual roles subsequently. In 1948, he took charge of the Moonlight Theatre, Kolkata. He directed and acted the lead there for the next twenty years there. His histrionic skill, strong physique, and powerful singing made him immensely popular over a long career spanning about 300 highly successful productions, including memorable performances in plays such as Talib's Nal-Damayanti i.e. 'Nala and Damayanti', and Hashrs Yahndi ki ladki i.e. "Jew's Daughter", Khubsurat bala i.e. "Beautiful Trouble", and Sita vanvas i.e. "Sita's Forest Exile". Vir Abhimanyu i.e. "Heroic Abhimanyu", Narsi Mehta, Chaltapurza i.e. "Clever Fellow", and Parivartan i.e. Change each ran for over 1000 shows. He also acted in some films. Fida Hussain retired to Moradabad in 1968. During the last decades of his life, as the only surviving representative of a form that had disappeared, he was frequently consulted or interviewed by students and historians of Indian theatre
. For several years, he lectured, held workshops, and directed student productions at the National School of Drama
This scholarly person died in the year of 1999.