There is a difference in performing live on the stage in a theatre and in movies. There are no cuts and retakes when it comes to theatre. Performing live in front of an audience is a different experience altogether. Theatre will always be one of the ways of contributing to art. It is also a platform for upcoming talents. But do we really appreciate theatre? What if we tell you that many of the talented Bollywood actors you admire are because of theatre? How you ask? Here are a few examples of artists who have been appreciated and have been immensely successful in Bollywood.
Being in the industry for about 32 years, this veteran actor started his career with theatre after graduating from National School of Drama, Delhi. He has been a chairperson at NSD between 2001 to 2004. Critically acclaimed for all kinds of roles, he has also received Padma Bhushan. He is best known for his movies like Saaransh (1984), A Wednesday (2008), Utsav (1984), Karma (1986), Hatya (1988), Daddy (1989) and Special 26 (2013). He has made his mark in Hollywood as well, with movies like Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Oscar-nominated, Silver Linings Playbook (2012).
Naseeruddin Shah too attended NSD. He, along with Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani, formed a theatre group named Motley Productions. A few of his appreciated and acclaimed movies are Aakrosh (1980), Sarfarosh (1999), A Wednesday (2008) Sparsh (1979), Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983), Mirch Masala (1987), Masoom (1984), and Pestonjee (1988). Naseeruddin also appeared in international projects like The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) and Monsoon Wedding (2001).
He scored scholarship at National School of Drama. After graduating, he shifted to Mumbai and started with theatre and television before giving us movies like Haasil (2003) for which he even received Filmfare award for best performance in a negative role, Paan Singh Tomar (2012) and Talvar (2015). He has not only made his mark in Bollywood but also in Hollywood as well for movies like Life Of Pi (2012), A Mighty Heart (2007), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016).
Though not from an acting background, Paresh Rawal has given us solid performances. He started as a stage actor. Some of his plays include Kishan vs Kanhaiya and Dear Father. He is a regular at Prithvi theatre. When he began working in films, he earned appreciation for his villainous roles. He even received Filmfare Award for Best Performance in Negative role for the movie Sir (1993). Making his way into comedy afterwards, this Gujarati chokro gave us movies like Hera Pheri (2000), Malamaal Weekly (2006) and Golmaal (2006), to name a few
Yes, you read it right, King Khan of Bollywood started with theatre during his time in Delhi University. He then worked in the television industry, after which he took Bollywood by storm. He studied theatre under Barry John (famed theatre director). His Bollywood career began with Deewana (1992). At the start of his acting journey, he was first recognized for his negative roles for films like Darr (1993), Bazigaar (1993) and Anjaam (1994). This Baadshah of Bollywood gave us memorable movies like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Swades (2004), Chak De India (2007) and My Name Is Khan (2010).
With an ambition he had since his childhood to go to National School of Drama, he was rejected by NSD several times. He also did a lot of street theatre at the time of his graduation. Finally, when he was recognized as an amazing theatre actor due to his various plays, NSD offered him to join in, but not as a student, as a teacher. Ironic, isn't it? He too, was trained under Barry John. He is best known for his movies like Satya (1998), Shool (1999) and Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012) among many more noteworthy performances.
This man needs no introduction. He completed his graduation in Science from Uttarakhand. Subsequently, he moved to Delhi. His interest in acting emerged after he started watching plays, and wasting no time he got into NSD. Nawazuddin did receive a few refusals because of his unconventional looks at the start of his career, but that did not hold him back. He was first recognized for his role as a journalist in Peepli Live (2010). Climbing the ladder of success, he has made it big in Bollywood with movies like Kahani (2012), Talaash (2012) Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012) and The LunchBox (2013).
Thank you, theatre, for these precious jewels and we hope to see more talents storming Bollywood with their amazing performances.
– By Priyanka Mehta