One of the major exponents of alternative theatre, Padma Bhusan awardee, theatre trainer, film producer, playwright and director Heisnam Kanhailal passed away in Manipur on Thursday. He was 75 years old. In the initial years, the founder-director of Kalakshetra, the theatre laboratory in Manipur, worked with the noted theatre director and playwright Badal Sirkar, but continued to experiment with his brand of alternative art-theatre.
Born in Imphal, Kanhailal’s major collaborator was Heisam Sabitri, the renowned actress and his wife. The duo developed “an individualised system of theatre, which remained indigenous throughout”, said a statement issued by his well-wishers. “He conducted experiments to locate theatre in the people of different strata,” the statement added.