World Theatre Day: Actors’ journeys from stage to screen


Cinema is undoubtedly the biggest industry in the world. Theatre has always been one of the most creative platform in helping contributing to the performing arts. It has produced exceptional talents. Bollywood has always eclipsed this beautiful form of performing art, however the silver screen should be thankful to theatres for fabricating some authentic gems in the orbit of films.

So today on the occasion of World Theatre Day, looks at some elite theatre artists without whom Bollywood and Indian cinema would be incomplete. All these actors at some point of their career have made us fall head over heels in love with them, loathe them, even shed tears for them and even get influenced by them with the roles that they have played.

Shabana Azmi
One of the finest and most sophisticated charm that theatre has produced, acting runs in Shabana Azmi’s blood. She has performed theatre shows like ‘Safed Kundali’ and ‘Tumhari Amrita'(1992) along with veteran Farooq Sheikh. She has been acclaimed with several National Awards for her impeccable acting. Even till this date, she perpetuates to be a part of many theatre productions.

Ratna Pathak
Pathak is the most refined alumnus of National School Of Drama. She has left her mark in every beat of entertainment, be it Television, Cinema or theatre. Along with playing roles in Indian theatre plays like ‘Sambhog se Sanyas’ and ‘Mughal Bacha’, she has left her mark in several Russian plays too. Pathak is most appreciated and loved for her role as the upper class elite Mrs. Maya Sarabhai. She rebukes the life of her middle class daughter in law with sarcastic puns and cosmopolitan act in popular tv series ‘Sarabhai vs Sarabhai’.

Boman Irani
Boman Irani has played some varied roles and is the most versatile actor since past five decade. He has stepped in the shoes of all, from being a dictatorial dean to an eccentric doctor to a no-nonsense goon. He has one of the highest contribution in Indian theatre with over 40 plays in his pocket. Till date he continues to entertain audience like no other.

Naseeruddin Shah
One of the most esteemed and valued actors, Naseeruddin Shah started his own theatre production company along with his wife Ratna pathak and colleagues Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani called Motley Production in 1977. Shah’s acts has always been set to perfection both on stage and on screen. Some of his greatest blockbusters are ‘A Wednesday’(2008),’Dirty Picture’(2011), ‘Einstein’, ‘Ismat Apa Ke Naam’ and ‘Mahatma vs Gandhi’.

Irrfan Khan
Be it virtuous or iniquitous roles, Irrfan Khan knows how to set a benchmark. He has savoured delight in not just Indian cinema and theatre but overseas in Hollywood too. His roots from theatres and skills honed in National School of Drama has helped him reach the paths of glory. Khan has always paid gratitude to the world of theatre that has helped him discover his passage to stardom. His memorable acts in ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ (2011),’The LunchBox'(2013) and ‘Hindi Medium’(2017) helped him won accolades.

Paresh Rawal
Paresh Rawal has acted in plays of various languages. He was a regular at Prithvi theatre. Few of his most memorable acts are ‘Dear Father’, ‘Khelaiya’ and ‘Krishnan vs Kanhaiya’. Over the course of time, he has completed over 500 acts which has been staged across the world. Rawal has always glorified theatre by quoting it as the platform that has sharpened his craft.

Anupam Kher
A humble and honourable actor, Anupam Kher has set his legacy in the world of acting. He wrote and starred in a play about his own life in a play ‘Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hain’ which was directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.He has carved his niche in the entertainment industry with films like ‘Saaransh’(1984), ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hain’(1998), ‘Toilet:Ek Prem Katha’(2017). Kher has also hosted TV Shows like ‘Say Na Something To Anupam Uncle’(2000-2002) and ‘Lead India’(2007-08).This alumnus and former chairperson of National School Of Drama has been proving his skills in Hollywood cinemas like ‘Bend it like Beckham’(2002),’Bride and Prejudice’(2004) and ‘Mistress of Spices’(2006).

Nawazuddin Siddiqui
This man needs no introduction. With his unconventional and unorthodox looks, he faced many refusals initially. But that did not make him stop. His extraordinary acting even in the most ordinary roles has made him into one of the most sought after actors in today’s cinema. He was first acknowledged for his role as a journalist in ‘Peepli Live’(2010). Climbing the pillar of success, he has made it huge in Bollywood with movies like ‘Kahani’(2012), ‘Talaash’(2012), ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ (2012),’The LunchBox’(2013), ‘Badlapur’(2015) and ‘Manto’(2018).

Radhika Apte
Apte started her career as a part of a theatre group based in Pune named Aasakta Kalamanch. She has worked in many plays like ‘Bombay Black’ and many Marathi plays known as ‘Matra Ratra’,’Uney Purey Shahar Ek’, ‘Purnaviram’ and ‘Tu’. She stole million of hearts with her outshining performance in Sujoy Ghosh’s short film ‘Ahalya’.She was remarked as magnificent in short films ‘That Day After Every Day’(2013), ‘X: Past is Present’(2015) and more recently ‘Lust Stories’(2018)

Kalki Koechlin
Kalki has been known for giving stellar performances in the theatres with her roles in plays like ‘Hair’, ‘Hamlet the Clown Prince’ and ‘Skeleton Woman’. She has broken the stereotype of a white girl in Indian cinema with edgy roles in ‘Dev D’(2009), ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’(2011) and ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’(2011). Her illustrious career has been inched even higher with her role as Faiza In Zoya Akhtar’s recent web series ‘Made in Heaven’(2019).From the small-scaled stages very minimal number of people have got the talent to showcase on the big screen. Theatre acting is a vital slice of one’s life for those who want to pursue in the field of acting.

By Survi Agarwal

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