Ten Bollywood actors who engaged with theatre
New Delhi: Veteran actor and filmmaker Shashi Kapoor, who passed away last week was not just Indian cinema’s most charismatic stars but equally engaged with theatre, having founded the iconic Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai in 1978. Since Hindi film actors have quite a history of dabbling with live drama, here’s a look at 10 people who did so.
Shabana Azmi: The National Award-winning actor of films like Ankur (1975) and Arth (1983) has done several stage plays, including M.S Sathyu’s Safed Kundali, an adaptation of German epic theatre The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Feroz Abbas Khan’s long-running Tumhari Amrita along with Farooq Sheikh.
Naseeruddin Shah: The critically-acclaimed actor founded a theatre group called Motley Productions along with Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani in 1977. Their first play was Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Over the years, they’ve produced works like Albee’s, Zoo Story, Pinter’s, The Dumbwaiter, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial and Julius Caesar.
Shah Rukh Khan: As a college student, Khan was part of Barry John’s Theatre Action Group and has done plays like Annie Get Your Gun and Rough Crossing.
Anupam Kher: An alumnus of the National School of Drama, the Indian and international film actor has done several plays, including one based on his own life titled Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.
Paresh Rawal: The actor and member of Parliament has dabbled in theatre since college, performing several Gujarati plays, including Khelaiya, and others like Kishan vs Kanhaiya and Dear Father.
Manoj Bajpayee: The critically-acclaimed actor applied to the National School of Drama multiple times but was rejected. He then attended acting coach Barry John’s workshops and went on to do a lot of theatre. Along with theatre veteran N.K. Sharma, he created the Act One theatre group.
Irrfan: The internationally-renowned actor won a scholarship to the National School of Drama during his early days of struggle and did several television and theatre bit-roles before making it big in the movies.
Boman Irani: The much-loved character actor did British theatre for years, having been mentored by theatre personality Alyque Padamsee. His most memorable roles were in Roshni, Family Ties, Mahatma vs Gandhi and I am not Bajirao. The last one ran for 10 years.
Rajkummar Rao: As a Delhi University student, Rao did theatre with Kshitij Repertory and Shri Ram Centre in the national capital. In 2008, he graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India and moved to Mumbai for a film career.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Siddiqui, who started out with bit-roles in Hindi films like Munnabhai MBBS (2003), worked in Delhi for several years, first with the National School of Drama, then as a street play performer.
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