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Balwant Thakur Padma Shri Awarded In 2013

Balwant Thakur

Balwant Thakur

Award Name : Padma Shri

Year of Award : 2013

Award for : Arts

Location : Jammu, Kashmir, India


Balwant Thakur is an Indian theatre personality and scholar, known for bringing Dogri theatre to international notice. He was honoured by the Government of India, in 2013, by bestowing on him the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, for his contributions to the field of theatre. He was born on 25 December 1960 in Jammu and Kashmir, India. He graduated in Business Management and Economics from MAM college, during this period he started writing for Radio Kashmir, Jammu and presented talks, short stories, poetry, and short plays in their Yuva-Vani service. He continued acting, directing and writing plays for the inter-collage competitions. Thakur showed his taste for theatre at an early age when he, along with six of his friends, formed a children's theatre group called Seven Stars. The group staged a few plays such as Sabhya Saanp and Kanyadaan. During his student days, he was also active at college level theatre activities as well as in Radio Kashmir, writing and presenting various items in their Yuva Vani service. Years later, in 1983, at the age of 23, he founded Natrang, to pursue a career in theatre.

Thakur has written many plays such as Suno Eh Kahani, Aaj Ki Aurat, Is Gran Gi Surg Banai Lo, Anpaden Da Hall, Jalo Khala, Mere Bi Ehen Kish Khaab and Aag and children's plays, Aap Hamare Hain Kaun, and Bhag Beta Bhag. The plays brough Natrang nationwide fame and the group travelled in many parts of India like Chandigarh, Shimla, Delhi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Goa, and Bhubaneshwar. The rigours of managing a full-time job as the Secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages along with his commitment towards Natrang made him quit the job in 2003, and started to devote his time entirely to theatre.