The theatre blurs the line of a screen between its makers and the audience. It is a place where emotions come alive. The theatre gives the audience a chance to experience raw, real emotions and great stories.
Every actor should definitely perform in theatre at least once in their life to have an experience of a lifetime. It is terrifying yet exciting to step on stage and perform in front of a live audience. There are no retakes and hence no room for mistakes. It helps them become better performers and hone their skills. While being a part of a theatre group, the actors don’t just learn how to act but also about what goes around backstage. It gives them a wholesome experience.
Bollywood houses some of the most notable actors hailing from a theatre background. They have brought their perfect craft of acting from theatre to the Bollywood screen and have given the audience great performances. Below is a list of some of the most noteworthy Indian stage actors-
With many revered roles, both in India and abroad, Anupam Kher is unquestionably a distinguished Bollywood performer with a strong theatre background. A National School of Drama actor in Bollywood, his acting skills and prowess are unmatched. After becoming one of the most accomplished Indian stage actors, Anupam Kher stepped into Bollywood with the film Saaransh in 1984 and, since then, has given the audience many noteworthy performances. He is not only a celebrated actor in India but is also lauded and praised internationally. The depth and originality Anupam Kher brings to his characters proves that he is one of the most polished and famous theatre artists in India.
Before landing a role in Rajkumar Hirani’s Munnabhai M.B.B.S, Boman Irani was already amongst the famous theatre artists in India. He trained under Hansraj Siddhia from 1981 to 1983. Boman Irani aces every character he portrays and performs with sheer perfection. One of the most proficient Indian stage actors, his play I’m not Bajirao ran for over 17 years.
Lillete Dubey is a known face in the theatre fraternity. She started acting in plays during her time as a student in Delhi. Apart from being a dedicated Indian stage actor, Dubey also took up directing and has directed many plays, including Mahesh Dattani’s Dance Like a Man that has completed 497 shows across the world, including a two-week run on Broadway. In 1991, the actress set up her own theatre company – The Primetime Theatre Company. Lillete Dubey started her Bollywood career with the film Zubeidaa in 2001 and has acted in more than 50 films.
Let us begin with one of the oldest actors, Prithviraj Kapoor, who started his career in Indian cinema during the silent film era. The head of the now-famous Kapoor clan was one of the most talented and famous theatre artists in India. He was a founder of the Indian People’s Theatre Association and even founded Prithvi Theatres, a travelling theatre company based in Mumbai, 1944. Prithviraj Kapoor worked in nine silent films before he bagged a supporting role in India’s first sound film Alam Ara in 1931. From there on, Prithviraj Kapoor, one of the most recognised Indian stage actors, had a successful career in Indian cinema but always remained connected to his background of theatre.