Anjum Katyal's work is the first comprehensive study on the life and contribution of Habib Tanvir to Indian theatre history. A playwright, director, actor, journalist and critic, Tanvir is perhaps best kwn for the play Charandas Chor. However, his real significance in the history of post-Independence Indian theatre is that he signposted an important path for the development of modern theatre. His productions with Naya Theatre using Chhattisgarhi folk actors established how one could do modern theatre integrated with age-old-yet equally contemporary-folk culture on a basis of equality. Habib Tanvir: Towards an Inclusive Theatre explores various important aspects of Tanvir's theatre philosophy and practice as he experimented with both content and form. Starting with his early life and work, Katyal charts his professional trajectory from Agra Bazaar to Gaon Ka Naam Sasural, when he was searching for his true form, to Charandas Chor, which portrayed the eventual maturing of his style, and beyond, to cover his entire oeuvre.
Anjum Katyal has been involved with theatre publishing for decades as an editor, writer, translator and critic. As Chief Editor of Seagull Books, Kolkata (1987-2006), she was responsible for their New Indian Playwrights series, which featured post-Independence Indian playwriting in English translation, as well as several theatre studies titles. She was Editor of Seagull Theatre Quarterly (1994-2004), the only national theatre journal of its time, which focused particularly on the voices of practitioners. She has translated Habib Tanvir's Charandas Chor (Charandas the Thief) and Hirma ki Amar Kahani (The Living Tale of Hirma) as well as Usha Ganguli's Rudali (Funeral Wailers) and stories by Mahasweta Devi and Meera Mukherjee; she is currently translating Habib Tanvir's Bahadur Kalarin. As Editor of Art and the City (www.goethe.de/artandthecity), a web magazine on the contemporary arts, she has commissioned and edited pieces on contemporary theatre in urban India. Apart from theatre in particular, she has worked on publications on Indian arts and culture and been involved in organising several exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as writing catalogues for exhibitions by Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Somnath Hore, Manu Parekh, Madhvi Parekh, Reba Hore and Nasreen Moochhala. She has a background in education and teacher training. A published poet, she also sings the blues and reviews and writes on theatre and the visual arts. She is presently Consultant (Publications) with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKAIAS), a research institute based in Kolkata. She is also a Consultant with Oxford Bookstore. Katyal is currently writing a book on Badal Sircar (SAGE Publications, Forthcoming).