World Theatre Day: 12 Theatre Personalities In India Who Made It Big In Bollywood

The theatre is the unsung hero of the acting world. When you go watch a play, you share the space with the actors who are only a few feet away from you. Plays are raw, live and dynamic. Unlike movies, you do not see an edited version on screen that is tweaked with technology. What you see the unadulterated performance that gives the actor only one chance to ace.

There are some super talented personalities in Bollywood who first began their career with theatre. Let’s have a look at some of them:

1. Om Puri:

Photo: indianexpress.com

The late actor can never be forgotten for his unparalleled performances. His first as a child actor was Chor Chor Chhup Ja. He studied theatre acting at the National School Of Drama.

2. Ratna Pathak:

Photo: openthemagazine.com

Versatile actress Ratna Pathak was first seen in a movie titled Mandi. She started her acting career with theatre and continues to do so even today. Her plays like Dear Liar, have been appreciated. She also directs plays.

3. Naseeruddin Shah:

Photo: dayafterindia.com

Naseeruddin Shah’s plays like Waiting For Godot, Einstein, A Walk in The Woods etc. portray him in a beautiful light. His 1980 film, Hum Paanch brought him to the limelight in cinema.

4. Amrish Puri:

Photo: india.com

The late actor, who is known for his iconic roles acted in over 400 movies. He started his career with Indian theatre. He started performing at the Prithvi Theatre in plays written by Satyadev Dubey.

5. Prithiviraj Kapoor:

Photo: cinestaan.com

Often known as the pioneer of Indian cinema and theatre, he started his career in the silent era of Hindi cinema. He was also the founding member of Prithvi Theatre, which was back then a travelling theatre company. Kapoor began his acting career in the theatres of Lyallpur and Peshawar.

6. Pankaj Kapur:

Photo: laughingcolours.com

For four years after he graduated from the National School Of Drama, he did theatre. He has acted in over 75 plays and made his film debut with Shyam Benegal’s film Arohan in 1982.

7. Boman Irani:

Photo: theindianexpress.com

Boman Irani is an actor who has struggled a lot. From working as a waiter to a baker, to a boxing photographer – he began his acting career with theatre and trained under Hansraj Siddhia from 1981 to 1983.  Alyque Padamsee, the veteran theatre actor was his mentor.

8. Seema Biswas:

Photo: imdb.com

The talented actress, who is known for her role in the iconic film, Bandit Queen, started her career with theatre. She worked with eminent artists like Bhupen Hazarika and Bishnuprasad Rabha back in Assam.

9. Anupam Kher:

Photo: indianexpress.com

Before Kher made his debut with the movie Aagman in 1982, he worked in theatre.  He is also am alumnus of the National School Of Drama. His dramas like Shongram, Pranayam, Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai are appreciated.

10. Saurabh Shukla:

Photo: justdial.com

Since 1984, Saurabh Shukla had been making waves in the theatre world. His role as ‘Kallu Mama’, in the 1998 film Satya made him come into the limelight in the world of cinema as well.

11. Shabana Azmi:

Her performance in plays like Tumhari Amrita, A Doll’s House among others has been loved by the audiences. Azmi’s acting in movies Godmother, Arth, Khandhar won her National Film Awards.

12. Girish Karnad:

In the 1960s, Girish Karnad’s acting and writing in theatre was unmatched. The actor’s performances in Kannada and Hindi movies has been unforgettable.

Heer Khant
Heer Khant

Traveller | Writer | Photographer | Maverick | Social Worker | Lawyer | A freedom-loving woman for whom words are like wings to her soul. She believes in aliens, hates boundaries and lives like the first human on Earth.

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