Bollywood has evolved over the years and every year it surprises us with some great talent. The conventional and mainstream idea that a pretty face can make it big is no longer the case. Talent and skill are what makes or breaks an actor in today’s world.
Theatre has always helped a performer and given them a very strong and powerful base. It helps an individual to learn and explore emotions, builds a sense of confidence and makes them aware of the technical part of acting. It also helps an actor to explore characters and teaches them ways to polish this skill in the future. There are so many talented actors in the past and today that have won hearts and respect of people by clearly proving their metal and showing the world how capable they are in this field of art.
Let us take a look at stars who started with theatre and made it big in Bollywood.
List of Theatre actors in Bollywood –
1. Om Puri:
This legendary actor created a new wave in Indian cinema with his exemplary work and a sense of ease with which he performed. He was initially trained in acting at National School of Drama in Delhi, where he also met another remarkable actor Naseeruddin Shah. They both continued learning and exploring the world of acting at Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. He started off his acting dream with a small theatre group in Punjab called the Punjab Kala Manch. He is an awardee of the Padma Shri and has also won a National Award for Ardh Satya.
2. Shah Rukh Khan:
The “Badshah” of Bollywood indeed. Fame and appreciation didn’t come easy, but he trained and worked hard for where he stands in his career today. He was a part of National School of drama and then also learned under Barry John’s academy in Delhi’s Theatre Action Group. He started off with a TV show called Fauji and then slowly made it to the silver screen, and now he rules it. He also once said in an interview that theatre has definitely helped him cultivate the “no give up attitude”. His fan base is something that every actor dreams off. King Khan continues to win hearts with each performance and is unstoppable.
3. Kangana Ranaut:
With initial plans for getting into the field of medicine, now we have one of the most successful female actors of our generation. She started her acting career under the guidance of Arvind Gaur in the Asmita Theatre group. She did several plays including the Girish Karnad- scripted Taledanda. When she relocated to Mumbai, she did a 4-month course in Asha Chandra’s Drama School. She is known to be one of Bollywood’s extremely opinionated and strong-headed actors who is raw and unfiltered about what is happening around the world. She made her debut in the thriller movie Gangster for which she also won the Filmfare award for best debut.
4. Nawazuddin Siddiqui:
Although his journey with theatre and movies has been longer than we know of, he found recognition and appreciation after his outstanding performance in the movie Gangs of Wasseypur. While most Bollywood actors clenched to their good looks to become successful, this star clenched onto his skill, knowledge and hard work to redeem himself and win millions of hearts. He graduated from National School of Drama and later worked with Sakshi Theatre Group alongside Manoj Bajpai and Saurabh Shukla.
5. Radhika Apte:
One of the finest actors of our time is Radhika Apte. The audience is in awe of her remarkable performance in every role or character she plays. Her screen presence and dialogue delivery are commendable, and acting is definitely her happy place. This Maharashtrian girl started off with Mohit Takalkar’s theatre troupe, Aasakta. She was discovered by Rahul Bose who suggested her name to Aniruddha Roy Chowdhary, which led to her starring in a Bengali social drama Antaheen. Her recent performances include Lust stories, Andhadhun and an international movie, The Wedding Guest.
6. Rajkummar Rao:
This phenomenal actor has given us some beautiful movies to enjoy, some of them include Stree, Newton and Bareilly Ki Barfi. This National Award winner has come into the industry with no nepotism involved and made it big with his own hard work and sheer talent. While he was studying in Delhi University, he was involved in theatre with Kshitij Repertory and Shri Ram Centre. He later graduated from Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. He made his debut in the movie Love, Sex Aur Dhokha in 2010.
7. Manoj Bajpai:
We have some brilliant actors in our industry and a true example of immense talent is Manoj Bajpai. He can seamlessly play any character and creates magic on screen and on stage. As a kid, he knew his dream and goal was to become an actor and he did not budge from it what so ever. He was rejected by National school of drama 3 times but that did not stop him from dreaming. He then took the guidance of Barry John and assisted in teaching acting with him. He also formed his own theatre group with NK Sharma called Act One theatre group.
8. Irrfan Khan:
A man of few words but a big heart and a treasure of talent. Although no more with us, he leaves a legacy of some extraordinary performances and works behind. He made his name, not just in Bollywood but also went overseas and received international appreciation. In his early days, he graduated from National School of Drama with a scholarship and then headed to Mumbai, where theatre and occasional movies helped him polish his skill. Irrfan Khan best movies like Slumdog Millionaire, Paan Singh Tomar. The lunchbox. His last movie Angrezi Medium really touched everyone’s hearts.
Who is the best theatre actor in India, according to you? Let us know in the comments section!