(Last Updated on : 25/07/2009)
Manohar Singh was a renowned actor in Hindi theatre. He was born in Kawada village near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh in 1942. He entered the services after matriculating in 1958. On developing an interest in theatre, he joined the state troupe in 1962, and gained admission to the National School of Drama
in 1968. His impressive personality, rich voice, and wide range made him most suitable for the roles of classical heroes, which he specialized in at the School. After graduation, Manohar Singh joined its repertory company in 1971. He won a scholarship to the Royal Shakespeare Company, UK in 1975 and returned in 1976 to head the repertory till 1985. During this period he acted in over thirty productions, mostly in major parts. He is remembered for his Tughlaq in Girish Karnad
's play, Nana in Jaywant Dalvi's Sandhya chhaya i.e. 'Evening Shadow' in 1978 and Da Saheb in Mannu Bhandari's Mahabhoj or 'Great Feast' in 1982. He led the repertory on its European tour for the Festival of India in 1982.
For a few years, Manohar Singh devoted more time to films and television serials. He also received acclaim in roles of unsympathetic characters like the headman in Prakash Jha's Damul i.e. 'Bonded until Death' in 1984. The role of the prizewinner in Govind Nihalani
's cinematization of Mahesh Elkunchwar's Party in 1984, the newspaper owner in Ramesh Sharma's New Delhi Times in 1985, and the food dealer in Kumar Shahani's Kasba in 1990. All of these roles are masterpieces. The second phase of his theatre career started in 1989 with the Theatre and Television Associates' adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, directed by Amal Allana
, in which he acted Lear's Hindi counterpart. He took up a new challenge, female impersonation, as the lead in Himmat mai i.e. 'Brechts Mother Courage' in 1993. In Satish Alekar
's Begum Barve in 1996 and Karnad's Naga-mandala in 1998 respectively he performed the man enacting female roles and the snake that visits a woman every night in the garb of her husband. His powerful portrayal of these difficult characterizations, all under Allana's direction, re-emphasized his versatility. Manohar Singh died in 2002.
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