Bollywood is one of the largest centres of film production worldwide. Having a rich and diverse history, it has held a soft corner in every Indian’s heart since its very beginning. What makes Bollywood even greater are the actors it has given to the world. Bollywood has countless actors who have contributed to cinema notably. Through timeless movies and shows, these actors have conquered our minds and souls completely.
One of the facts that only a few people know about is that many established Bollywood actors did not directly just debut in the film industry. So many actors have imported their talents from the theatre stage, onto the big screen.
By the end of this article, you will know some of our favourite actors who have a theatre background. So let us have a look at who these gems are and their history of stage acting.
Irrfan Khan: The worldwide famous and loved actor, Irrfan Khan, worked hard to earn his reputation. The fame, both in Bollywood and Hollywood, is the result of his constant and consistent efforts throughout the years.
He earned a scholarship to study at the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi in 1984. This way, he was involved in theatre. After graduation, he moved to Mumbai. He performed various television and theatre gigs, along with occasional movie roles. Having a theatre background, Irrfan Khan never failed to amaze the audience with his brilliant performances. His beautiful work is widely famous and is respected all around the globe.
Anupam Kher: An actor who has worked in multiple projects in India as well as abroad, Anupam Kher has his acting roots in theatre. He learnt acting from the National School of Drama or NSD. His play Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai is based on his own life.
The actor recently opened his own acting academy known as Actor Prepares in 2005. Giving acting classes to students and being an acting teacher interested him ever since he started off. With the aim of spreading his vast knowledge, Anupam Kher is all set to guide the budding actors with his teaching.
Jimmy Stark: The truth behind Jimmy John shark photo is still a puzzle for many. Some of them are calling it fake while someone posted similar photos of him with other animals.
Kangana Ranaut: She moved to Delhi at the tender age of 16, where she used to do modelling assignments at first. Along with that, she started her journey in the theatre world under the training of Arvind Gaur. Kangana played several roles in Arvind Gaur’s theatre workshop at the India Habitat Centre. One of the plays included Taledanda, which was scripted by Girish Karnad. One of the remarkable incidents in her theatre stint is from a play where a male actor suddenly went missing. Kangana, along with her original role of a woman, played the missing male character too.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Do we even need to introduce him? The answer is NO! This versatile actor has struggled for a long time before gaining massive recognition. He joined the NSD and graduated in 1999. After that, Siddiqui worked with the Sakshi Theatre Group for some time. He did theatre acting, drama, method acting and much more. He was working there alongside Manoj Bajpai and Saurabh Shukla.
Nawazuddin worked as a watchman and a chemist, before gaining the name and fame. He faced extreme tough times, but what kept him going was his strong will and love for drama and acting. All of it has paid off now, and absolutely very well!
Shabana Azmi: She has won the National Award five times to date. Not only is she a great film star but also equally famous for her stage shows. The veteran actor’s role in the evolution of modern Indian theatre is huge. She has played various roles and has been a stage actor almost all her career. Some of the remarkable roles would be in plays like Safed Kundali by M. S. Sathyu, A Doll’s House and Tumhari Amrita by Feroz Abbas Khan.
Shabana Azmi is one of the most significant forces in Hindi cinema. The fact that she has graced both Bollywood and Theatre World alike is legendary in itself.
Manoj Bajpayee: He had a keen interest in drama and acting from a young age. After coming to Delhi for his college education, he tried to take admission in the NSD, Delhi. Unfortunately, he got rejected. However, he stuck through and with the support of Barry John, he began his career in theatre. He did theatre at Barry’s Drama School. Later on, he also created the One Act Theatre Group with NK Sharma. The actor has been growing constantly since the start of his journey.
Today, Manoj Bajpayee has received many awards and achievements. He has truly succeeded in achieving the biggest goal as an actor – entertaining the audience to the fullest.
Kalki Koechlin: This actress has been winning hearts with her performances. The versatile roles in movies like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Shanghai, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Margarita With A Straw have thoroughly impressed the audience.
It would be very interesting to know that Kalki is not just involved in filming for the big screen. She has been a theatre actress too. The Real Inspector Hound, Hair and Trivial Disasters are some of her plays. She even co-wrote the script for one of her works with Prashant Prakash. Apart from being a fine actress, Kalki Koechlin has been breaking the stereotypes of a ‘white girl’ in India. She indeed has what it takes to be a proper influencer and actor.
Shah Rukh Khan: The heartthrob of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, has a history in theatre. He was a theatre actor back when he was just getting started with acting. King Khan was a fine artist from the beginning.
He worked in the theatre and drama long back when he studied at Delhi University. He trained under Barry John at the Theatre Action Group. He has achieved huge milestones after many years of struggle and hard work.
Even the ‘King of Bollywood’ has a history and background in theatre acting. How amazing is that! We now surely know how a theatre background can mould your acting techniques and skills.
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