About Sohaila Kapur

About Sohaila Kapur

Sohaila Kapur is a reputed writer/playwright/actress /director, who started her writing career with the Times of India. She worked as a journalist with them for ten years at their head office in Mumbai, after which she took up the editorship of Care, a Free Press Journal publication. Subsequently, she devoted herself to free lance writing. She has published over a hundred articles in all the mainstream newspapers and journals, has authored a book on Indian esoteric rites, called Witchcraft In Western India, which was also the reason for her selection as the anchor for a National Geographic Channel film on the subject titled Indian Witch Hunt, that won the best NGC film award in 2004 and has been telecast several times on NGC & Discovery.
 

Playwright

She is also a playwright and her maiden venture, a musical called Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan, premiered at the prestigious Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in 2002, after which it was invited by the Arts Council of England to a six city tour of Britain. The play won the Herald Devil award and had favourable reviews in The Herald, The Scotsman, Visiting Arts and The Edinburgh Evening News papers. Subsequently it had a successful tour of Singapore.
It premiered in India in December 2008 as Mahim Junction and has performed at various venues in Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Dubai, Muscat, Abu Dabi, Kuala Lumpur, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Toronto & Vancouver.
She has authored other plays, many of which have been performed. Amongst them are Obsessions, A Club of Her Own, A Christmas Parable, Dracula Meets Page 3 and the musicals, The Monkey Man and The Great Indian Wedding, written for film maker Shekhar Kapur.She has also adapted the Ramayana for the American channel HBO.
Her plays for children are: Halloween, Panchatantra and Rich Boy, Poor Boy. She has adapted several European plays, which have been performed in partnership with the British Council, the Max Mueller Bhavan (Goethe Institute) & the Swedish Embassy.
 

As an Actress

Sohaila is also an actress and has worked with some of television’s and Bollywood’s top talents in approximately 20 television serials, including ones directed by Chetan Anand, Shyam Benegal, M.S. Sathyu, Parikshit Sahni, Satish Kaushik, Chandita Mukerjee and Jalal Agha; a national award winning feature film (Govind Nihalani’s Rukmavati Ki Haveli) and an equal number of theatrical productions, where she has worked with directors Amal Allana, Veenapani Chawla, Nadira Babbar, Tom Alter, Feizal Alkazi, Arun Kuckreja and actors Nina Gupta, Anupam Kher, Tom Alter, Nandita Das, Raj Zutshi, Sudhir Pandey, Ila Arun, Sanjana Kapoor, Sushmita Mukerjee, Javed Jafri and Satish Kaushik.

She was the main protagonist in National Geographic Channel’s Indian Witch Hunt, which won the best NGC Documentary Award.

Sohaila stepped into Bollywood in 2015 with her role in Kabir Khan's Phantom. She played a distraught Pakistani widow, who lost her son to the militants. She is also in Sudhir Mishra's Daasdev, Kumud Chaudhary's Chote Nawab and an international project Devbhumi, directed by European director, Goran Paskaljevic, which opened at the Toronto Film Festival. She has acted in a Dubai Tourism ad featuring Shah Rukh Khan, directed by Kabir Khan. She has featured in various television ads and a song video.

 

As a Theatre Director

Sohaila has directed several plays, with distinguished Delhi-based actors like Zohra Sehgal, Sunit Tandon and Danish Husain. She also directed Rumi: Unveil The Sun, which got critical and popular acclaim and was invited to perform in the U.K. The play was nominated as one of the best plays produced in the country (it won 11 out of 12 nominations) and she, as one of the best directors, at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards 2008, in New Delhi.

 

Television Production

Sohaila has scripted, anchored and coordinated shows for Doordarshan as well worked for Canadian Television in Toronto (CFMT, now Omni) as a writer, production coordinator and anchor. She has also made two short features titled Parinday and Anubhuti. The former was screened at the Persistence Resistance Film Festival organised in Delhi, by Gargi Sen's Magic Lantern Film Company. She was one of the star anchors at Lok Sabha TV for a decade. She quit her job to get into acting and direction, full time.  

 

The Web

Sohaila has her own music channel, Hidden Singers, featuring undiscovered talent. Being a trained singer, she has sung some of the songs too, in collaboration with Ajay Mathur, a 2017 grammy- nominee and popular singer, songwriter, settled in Switzerland. She also runs Silverstreak, a website which hosts culture-specific events, in collaboration with her flagship, Katyayani. The events were co-hosted by the Goethe Institute, the cultural arm of the German Embassy.  

 

Working with Young People

  • One of Sohaila’s major interests is working with children. Her company, Katyayani, has held several theatre workshops for them, including one with Amity School. The workshop concludes with a production by the students. What they imbibe from these are writing, theatre and communication skills; self confidence and poise. She has held workshops for children with the Shri Ram Centre, which resulted in full fledged theatre productions. She continues to work in collaboration with them.
  • Today, she teaches acting to young adults at the Frankfinn (FIMA) school of modeling and acting, in Delhi.
  • Sohaila has also taught journalism students the art of reviewing the performing arts, at the Times Media School, owned by the Times of India, New Delhi.
  • Some well known actors who worked with her at the early stages of their careers, are Huma Qureshi (Gangs of Wasseypur, Ek Thi Dayan), Kunal Nayyar (the American series, The Big Bang Theory), Tannishtha Chatterjee (Brick Lane & Road Show), Mantra (famous radio jockey and television actor), Danish Husain (Peepli Live & Dhobi Ghat), Raghav Chanana (24 on Colours) and Vidushi Mehra (No One Killed Jessica, Bajate Raho).

 

Member, Expert Committees

Sohaila was part of the Expert Committee for the first Ibsen Theatre Festival in Delhi and was also part of the Expert Committee for Production Grants under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture for two years. She has also been a judge for the National Television Awards consistently for 3 years. She is a member of the Arts & Culture Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and is on the advisory board of Meta Excellence in Theatre Awards (META), 2018.

Awards

She has been awarded the Art Karat Award for Excellence in Theatre, a Life Achievement Award in Theatre by Three Arts Club & the Nat Samrat Award for Excellence in Acting.

Katyayani

Katyayani was formed in the mid 90s and has performed many European plays, as well as their adaptations in an Indian setting. It has groomed many movie and TV stars at the initial stage of their careers. Katyayani has also produced many original plays such as Mahim Junction, O (the story of women saints Rabia & Karraikkal Ammaiyar), The One Percent Agency (on marriage tourism), Sohbat (a play on the saints Rumi & Shams) and Prem Deewanee, the story of Meera.

She has adapted the Ramayana for the American movie channel HBO and wasthe chief investigator cum anchor in Indian Witch Hunt, an award winning National Geographic Documentary that ran for years on NGC and Discoverychannels. She has also acted in four feature films.