Though we all fall on the silver screen for our entertainment, it is theatre that really challenges the audience and the performer to deliver in the moment. There is something special about the rawness and originality of the live theatre performances.
Theatre plays a huge role in the making of an actor. It’s indeed spine chilling to step on the stage in full character, overwhelmed with emotions and deliver the performance live in front of the audience with zero takes and no chance of mistake. That pressure brings out the best in you.
In Bollywood, there are many actors who belong from the theatre background. They have brought their ideal art of acting from theatre to the silver screen and have delivered some breathtaking performances.
Here is a list of such theatre actors who made it big in Bollywood-
He is a National School of Drama (NSD) alumni who is a very known name in Bollywood now. After becoming one of the most accomplished Indian stage actors, Anupam Kher stepped into Bollywood with the film Saaransh in 1984. With several roles, Kher is unquestionably a distinguished Bollywood performer
Lillete Dubey is a known face in the theatre. She began her acting career in theatre when was a student in Delhi. As for her Bollywood journey, Lillete Dubey first appeared in the film Zubeidaa in 2001 and has acted in more than 50 movies since. Aside from being a stage actor, Dubey also took up directing and has directed many plays. In 1991, the actor set up her own theatre company- The Primetime Theater Company.
One of the most dependable and brilliant actors in Bollywood nowadays, he has managed to take on several unconventional ventures in Bollywood and has always aced. Rao started doing theatre during his time in Delhi University. Rao was simultaneously doing theatre with Kshitij Repertory and the Shri Ram Centre, then moved to Pune and enrolled at Film and Television Institute of India. The actor made his Bollywood debut in 2010 with Love Sex Aur Dhokha. From giving a blockbuster horror comedy ‘Stree’ to playing roles like ‘Shahid’, his range is bewildering.
Another National School of Drama (NSD) alumni, Sanjay Mishra is a famous stage artist in India. Mishra made his debut in Bollywood with the film Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India! in 1995 but Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) and Ankhon Dekhi (2014) are the movies that made him shine. He also has taken up several challenges when it comes to movie choices, most recent being ‘Kamyab’. He is very raw and fun to watch in interviews and often talks about his journey.
“Yeh, babu Rao ka style hai” Rawal is best known for his amazing comic timing and experimental characters. He has been a regular member of Prithvi Theatres. Rawal made his debut with the 1985 film Arjun. By giving us cult classics like Hera Pheri, Andaz Apna Apna, Welcome, he has made a special place in the hearts of Indian audience.
Alumni of National School of Drama, Rajpal Yadav has worked in a number of films and is best known for his comic roles like in Hera Pheri, Chup Chup Ke, Bhool Bhulaiyaa and so on. The actor is currently working with Shahjahanpur Theatres.
The movies like Bandit Queen, Satya, Pinjar, and Gangs of Wasseypur are a testament to the brilliance of this actor. Manoj was rejected four times from the National School of Drama, that’s when he did theatre with Barry John at Barry’s Drama School. Bajpayee made his feature film debut with the one-minute role in Drohkaal 1994.
Pankaj Tripathi has become a household name now. He has always managed to make people love him with his performances. The range of this actor is just unmatched! He can carry the weight of the whole film on his shoulders. He is also an NSD alumni and has been a part of innumerable plays. In his own words, “Theatre will always be close to my heart.”