Heisnam Kanhailal
Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship to Shri Heisnam Kanhailal, at the investiture ceremony of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards-2011, at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Born(1941-01-17)17 January 1941
Died6 October 2016(2016-10-06) (aged 75)
Imphal, Manipur, India
OccupationArt theatre
Spouse(s)Sabitri Heisnam

Heisnam Kanhailal (17 January 1941 – 6 October 2016) was an Indian art theatre personality.[1] For his work, he was awarded the Padma Shri civilian award in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan civilian award in 2016 by the Government of India.[2] He was the founder-director of Kalakshetra Manipur, a theatre laboratory established in 1969 that explores a new vocabulary in the existing language of theatre.

Kanhailal was born in Keisamthong Thangjam Lairak, Imphal.

Kanhailal was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Direction in 1985, given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.[3] In December 2011, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Award, the highest ranked and most valued Akademi award.

Kanhailal was married to Sabitri Heisnam, his theatre associate and a fellow Padma Shri awardee.[4] He died after an illness in Imphal on 6 October 2016.[5]


  1. ^ "Manipur's Heisnam Kanhailal for Tanveer Sanman award". DNA. 2 December 2011. ..Manipur's Heisnam Kanhailal for Tanveer Sanman award ...
  2. ^ "Padma Awards". Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Archived from the original on 29 April 2012.
  3. ^ "SNA: List of Akademi Awardees". Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012.
  4. ^ "Heisnam Kanhailal". E Pao. 27 July 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  5. ^ Theatre veteran Heisnam Kanhailal dies after brief illness