Amit Ohdedar


NameAmit Ohdedar (he/him)
Country of BirthIndia
Place of ResidenceTāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Decades Active2010s, 2020s


Amit Ohdedar is a director and a founding member of Prayas Theatre Company, a community-led South Asian theatre company based in Tāmaki Makaurau with a particular focus on producing both classical and contemporary South Asian work while supporting the next generation of theatre makers.

Ohdedar grew up in Calcutta, where his father worked as a librarian, first at the National Library and then at Jadavpur University. “I would probably have been better suited to the fields of history, or literature,” he has reflected, “yet all around me, people studied engineering… in India engineering meant better job security.” Despite pursuing this career himself, he maintained a connection to his interests by joining the university drama club and film society. “But in India, when you start your working life, the pressure of day-to-day life becomes quite overwhelming and the hobbies have to stop.”

In 1994, at age 35, Ohdedar migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand with his wife and son. “Back then, because I regularly went to Delhi for work, during one of those trips, I asked the taxi driver to take me to the New Zealand High Commission. It was 9.30 in the morning, and nobody was there. The taxi stopped, a person opened the gate and in I went. They gave me a self-evaluation form. You got so many points for your age, your degree, your work experience, so I filled it in and gave it to the receptionist. She looked it over and said, "you qualify, so you can apply", and she wished me the best of luck.”

Living in Aotearoa, Ohdedar sought to maintain a relationship to his culture, and joined a Bengali society that eventually started putting on plays. The success of these annual productions led to them performing in English to reach a larger audience, challenging the “myopic vision of [Indian culture] as Bollywood, Bhangra dance, and butter chicken”. It was through this impetus “to share the rich tradition of Indian theatre with the wider New Zealand society” that Prayas — which roughly translates to ‘endeavour’ or ‘attempt’ — was formed.

As a director, Ohdedar has worked on eight productions with Prayas Theatre Company, including co-directing Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem’s Dara (2018), based on the true story of Shah Jehan, the Mughal emperor most famous for building the Taj Mahal, and the competition between his two sons over who would succeed him; A Fine Balance (2015), based on Rohinton Misty’s novel set during The Emergency in India; and Rudali (2013). Based on Mahasweta Devi’s Bengali short story of the same name, it follows a professional mourner navigating the world of India’s ruling class.

Outside of his work with Prayas, Ohdedar works for a refrigeration and air conditioning company.


Key works / presentations

As a director:

Dara (co-director)
TAPAC, Western Springs, Tāmaki Makaurau
Jun 14-24, 2018

A Fine Balance (co-director)
TAPAC, Western Springs, Tāmaki Makaurau
Oct 8-18, 2015

Rudali (co-director)
Herald Theatre, Tāmaki Makaurau
Oct 17-26, 2013

TAPAC, Western Springs, Tāmaki Makaurau
May 19-28, 2012

Khoj — The Search
TAPAC, Western Springs, Tāmaki Makaurau
Aug 27-30, 2009

As an actor:

Dhaba on Devon Avenue
TAPAC, Western Springs, Tāmaki Makaurau
May 26-June 5, 2022

Artworks Theatre, Waiheke Island, Tāmaki Makaurau
Mar 31-Apr 1, 2023

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Last updated: 29 February 2024 Suggest an Edit


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