Nadira Babbar (Urdu: نادرہ ببّر , Hindi: नादिरा बब्बर) is an Indian theatre actress, director and an actress in Hindi cinema, who is the recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2001. A leading name in Indian theatre, Nadira founded a Mumbai-based theatre group called Ekjute, a known name in Hindi theatre in 1981.
Nadira Babbar was most recently seen as the mother to Aishwariya Rai in Gurinder Chadha's film Bride and Prejudice (2004), and M. F. Hussain's Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities (2004). She is also being portrayed as the mother of Chhotu Ali in Sohail Khan's Mental, releasing in 2014.
Nadira Zaheer was born to communist leader Syed Sajjad Zaheer and Urdu writer Razia Sajjad Zaheer, Nadira is third amongst four sisters, Najma Ali Baquer, Naseem Bhatia and Noor Sajjad Zaheer. Her parents were actively associated with Progressive Writers' Association, and IPTA, giving her an upbringing strongly rooted culture and theatre.
She graduated from National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi in 1971. Nadira was a Gold Medallist at NSD and went to Germany on a scholarship, and later got a chance to work with renowned directors like Grotovisky and Peter Brooks.
She started her theatre group in Ekjute (Together) in 1981 in Delhi, which came out with its first production Yahudi ki Ladki in 1981, which revived the Parsi theatre style, and is considered one of its finest. The group has also been performing the Bhavai-based musical, Jasma Odhan, written by Shanta Gandhi for several years now. Nadira moved to Mumbai in 1988, and reestablished her theatre group.
Over the last 30 years Ekjute has given Indian theatre over sixty plays including, Sandhya Chhaya, Look Back in Anger, Ballabpur Ki Roop Katha, Baat Laat Ki Halaat Ki, Bharam Ke Bhoot, Shabash Anarkali, and Begum Jaan; apart from directing plays written by herself: Dayashankar Ki Diary (1997), Sakku Bai (1999), Suman Aur Sana and Ji Jaisi Aapki Marzi. It has worked with actors like Raj Babbar, Satish Kaushik and Kirron Kher.
In 1990, Ekjute started the 'Ekjute Young People's Theatre Group', which has given productions like, Aao Picnic Challen and Azdak Ka Insaaf. The groups celebrated 30 years of its foundation in 2011, with a week long theatre festival, 30 Years Caravan 2011, at Prithvi Theatres, Mumbai which began on April 14, 2011.
It was at NSD that she met her husband, actor, politician Raj Babbar. They have a son, Arya Babbar, an upcoming actor in Hindi cinema, and a daughter Juhi Babbar, a fashion designer by profession who also acts and designs costumes for Nadira's plays.
- "Three decades of drama". Mint (newspaper). Apr 14 2011.
- NSD Graduates
- Nadira Babbar at indiatimes
- Indian theatre at the crossroads The Tribune, Sunday, 25 June 2000.
- "Stagecraft". The Times of India. Jul 10, 2003.
- Mission to stage The Tribune, Chandigarh, 26 June 2005.
- "Magazine: Mumbai", The Hindu, 2003-05-11, retrieved 2010-07-12, "Snippet: ... Prithvi hosts two performances of Nadeera Babbar's "Shabash Anarkali" ..."
- "Turning thirty". Hindustan Times Mumbai. April 14, 2011.
- "Nadira Babbar's theatre group celebrates 30th anniversary". DNA (newspaper). Apr 14, 2011.
- Nadira Babbar at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website of 'Ekjute'
- Sandhya Chhaya in Pakistan