Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Astad Deboo Awarded Padma Shri

The phone hasn’t stopped ringing at the Antia residence in Parsee Colony for a couple of days. Not that anybody minds.

After all, one of their kin, noted choreographer Astad Deboo, has just been conferred with the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian awards in the country. “There is definitely jubilation in the family and we are waiting for him to come back,” said an excited Kamal Antia, Deboo’s sister, the only family member still residing in the steel city.

Deboo, who is in Spain right now on a trip to Europe, was born and brought up in Jamshedpur and is a former student of Loyola School.

Speaking to The Telegraph over phone, the virtuoso said: “It’s a recognition of my contribution in the field of performing arts for the last three decades. I am genuinely happy to have received this coveted honour.”

Prior to this, the dancer has been honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He has also been invited to perform at the John F. Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, USA, besides being commissioned to choreograph a dance by Gallaudet University, Washington DC, on the deaf dancers. The artiste also works regularly with The Action Players, a group comprising hearing-impaired actors in Calcutta. And that’s not all. Deboo has also given command performances for the royal families of Japan and Thailand besides performing at the Great Wall of China and with at the Chelsea Town Hall, in London with Pink Floyd.

He was also filmed by Channel Four of London for his innovative work.

But amid the happier moments, a sense of resentment is brewing strong among his family and friends. “We think he deserved this recognition much before,” said Antia.

Deboo, though, preferred to leave the past behind. “In the last few years, I have seen a lot of my juniors getting this award but let’s not remember the bygones. The names are selected by an eminent jury and I am told that I was an unanimous choice,” he said.

So what next for the maestro? A trip back to hometown, perhaps? “At the moment, I am totally tied up with my shows. So I will not be able to return home now,” said Deboo.

But that’s not stopping his family from painting the town red. “Nothing has been planned yet but we might accompany him to Delhi for the ceremony,” Antia signed off.

Here is a complete bio on Astad.

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