Dr. Jamshed Bhabha (left) with tabla and sitar legends Allarakha and Ravi Shankar © NCPA Archives

Men of Substance

Ahead of the second Jamshed Bhabha Memorial Lecture, Chairman Mr. Khushroo N. Suntook reflects on the qualities that make Dr. Bhabha and Dr. Farokh E. Udwadia, the distinguished speaker for this year, kindred souls.

August 21 marks a date when our beloved founder Dr. Jamshed Bhabha would have been 107 years old. Yet, it seems like yesterday when he walked through the corridors of the NCPA. His spirit still pervades the organisation and guides us.

In Mr. Khushroo N. Suntook, Dr. Jamshed Bhabha saw a friend and an irreplaceable colleague © NCPA Archives

He would have been deeply distressed at the closing of the theatres and I am glad he is not here to see this gloomy period but I am sure he would have confronted it with the fortitude he always showed.

Dr. Bhabha was not only a man of art but also of science. He would have thoroughly approved our foray into the digital world. The movement we are now making to reinvent our business — all on account of a small virus — would certainly have had his tacit approval.

There is nothing he liked better than a new idea and the telephone would ring immediately after one was brought to his notice. “Let’s have breakfast on Sunday to discuss it,” he would say.

Dr. Jamshed Bhabha (right) with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Neils Bohr, J.R.D. Tata and Homi Bhabha © NCPA Archives

Dr. Bhabha spoke most admiringly of his friend and his doctor of choice Dr. Farokh E. Udwadia. They were in many ways kindred souls — two personalities with largely the same values and philosophy of life, and both, matter-of-fact persons. Dr. Bhabha had desired that after he had been cremated there would be no ceremonies to continue the mourning process. Typical of the man.

Dr. Udwadia, who needs no introduction, is a complete person. He is not only a distinguished physician but also a personality who embraces the city with his extraordinarily prominent contribution to it. His love of art and music must be mentioned and particularly music, which he makes a part of his life in spite of working nine days a week.

We request you to hear Dr. Udwadia’s profound interpretation of the importance of art in everyday life. Without this, we are nothing but calculators.


The lecture will be broadcast on the NCPA YouTube channel and Facebook page on 21st August 2021. For more details, please log on to www.ncpamumbai.com.

This piece was originally published by the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai, in the August 2021 issue of ON Stage – their monthly arts magazine.