50+ Brilliant Theatre Actors In Bollywood Who Made A Mark
Although Hindi cinema has established a standard for dramatic prowess, there is always something special about theatre artists performing live on stage. When you can take numerous retakes in front of the camera, you must ensure that you give your flawless shot in one go while on stage. That one-take photo necessitates an entirely different set of skills. Despite the fact that theatre is not particularly popular in India, numerous stars have acquired and honed their acting skills there.
Here is a list of Bollywood’s most skilled stars from Indian theater:
Table Of Content
- 1 Abhay Deol
- 2 Alok Nath
- 3 Anupam Kher
- 4 Ashish Vidyarthi
- 5 Boman Irani
- 6 Deepak Dobriyal
- 7 Girish Karnad
- 8 Huma Qureshi
- 9 Irrfan Khan
- 10 Kalki Koechlin
- 11 Kangana Ranaut
- 12 Konkona Sen Sharma
- 13 Kulbhushan Kharbanda
- 14 Lillete Dubey
- 15 Makarand Deshpande
- 16 Manoj Bajpayee
- 17 Nandita Das
- 18 Naseeruddin Shah
- 19 Nawazuddin Siddiqui
- 20 Neeraj Kabi
- 21 Nimrat Kaur
- 22 Om Puri
- 23 Pankaj Kapoor
- 24 Pankaj Tripathi
- 25 Paresh Rawal
- 26 Pavan Malhotra
- 27 Piyush Mishra
- 28 Prithviraj Kapoor
- 29 Radhika Apte
- 30 Raghubir Yadav
- 31 Rahul Bose
- 32 Raj Babbar
- 33 Raj Kapoor
- 34 Rajat Kapoor
- 35 Rajkummar Rao
- 36 Rajpal Yadav
- 37 Ratna Pathak
- 38 Richa Chadda
- 39 Rohini Hattangadi
- 40 Sanjay Mishra
- 41 Saurabh Shukla
- 42 Seema Biswas
- 43 Shabana Azmi
- 44 Shah Rukh Khan
- 45 Shammi Kapoor
- 46 Sheeba Chaddha
- 47 Shriram Lagoo
- 48 Shweta Tripathi
- 49 Supriya Pathak
- 50 Tigmanshu Dhulia
- 51 Vinay Pathak
- 52 Vinay Varma
- 53 Yashpal Sharma
Abhay began performing at a young age, having been born into the powerful Deol family. At his high school, he began acting in the theater. In reality, Abhay once revealed that he started into acting not because of his father, but because he had been interested in theatre since he was in elementary school.
Alok Nath is a well-known Hindi actor who has appeared in films and on television. He made his cinematic debut with Gandhi in 1982. He is most known for his portrayals as Babuji (Father) in Bollywood films. On social media, Alok Nath is one of the most popular meme templates.
He was a member of the Ruchika Theatre Group and received his education from Hindu College at DU and NSD.
Anupam Kher has appeared in over 500 films, mostly in Hindi, as well as numerous plays. People have admired him much for his roles in both India and abroad. When an NSD student wants to put a talented actor’s skills to the test, he takes to the stage and stuns everyone. His own play, Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, is based on his own experiences and has received a lot of airplay.
Ashish Vidyarthi is a Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Bengali actor who has appeared in films in those languages. His villain and character portrayals have made him famous. Ashish began acting while obtaining a BA in History at Hindu College. He has appeared in over 75 plays with companies such as Sambhav, Act One, and Ekjute. In the monologue Dayashankar ki Diary, he plays the titular part.
In 1995, he won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in the film Drohkaal.
Boman Irani is a photographer, voice artist, and actor. Darna Mana Hai, a horror thriller released in 2003, was his first feature. Irani rose to fame and fortune after starring in the comic film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. One of his most well-known performances was as the lead in the 17-year-long television series I Am Not Bajirao.
He was quite active in Hindi cinema and theater, which explains why he is perfect in every role. He is the director of a lengthy record of successful films, including some of India’s highest-grossing blockbusters. He was also honored for his picture 3 Idiots. On January 24, 2019, Irani established his production firm “Irani Movietone.”
Deepak Dobriyal began his acting career in 1994 and quickly established himself as a well-known face in the industry. He rose to fame in a matter of years thanks to films such as Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Angrezi Medium, Dabangg, and others. He was also honored with a Filmfare award. His act wowed the audience and put a grin on their faces.
Girish Karnad is a well-known name in both the Bollywood and Kannada film industries. People refer to him as a legend because of his incredible acting abilities. There is no comparison between his achievements as a playwright and a theater actor. Since the 1960s, he has dedicated his life to the film industry, winning numerous accolades along the way.
He translated his plays into a number of Indian languages as well as English.
Huma Saleem Qureshi is an Indian actress and model who is most known for her work in Bollywood films. Qureshi earned a history degree from Delhi University. NK Sharma, Sohaila Kapur, Aamir Raza Husain, and Rahul Pulkeshi are among the theatrical directors with whom she has collaborated. She then relocated to Mumbai. During the commercial filming, Anurag Kashyap spotted her acting abilities and signed her to a three-film deal with his firm.
Irrfan Khan was a Bollywood, British, and American actor who appeared in a variety of films. He was regarded as one of India’s finest actors. He received a scholarship to study at NSD and made his debut in 1987 with Salaam Bombay. He relocated to Mumbai after college and worked in a variety of theatre and television roles.
Irrfhan Khan was described as “a brilliant and captivating star in Hindi and English-language films whose industrious career was an extraordinarily vital bridge between South Asian and Hollywood filmmaking” by Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian.
Irrfan’s death has left a gaping hole in the film business that will be difficult to fill.
Kalki Koechlin is a writer and actress from France. She studied acting at Goldsmiths, University of London, and worked with a local theatre company on the side. In the drama Dev.D, she made her cinematic debut (2009). Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani are two of the highest-grossing comedy dramas.
Kangana Ranaut moved to Delhi at the age of 16 and has never looked back. Kangana participated in theatre under the tutelage of Arvind Gaur while pursuing her modeling career. Gaur’s drama workshop at the India Habitat Centre drew her in. When one of the male actors went missing, Kangana played both the male and female roles in the film.
Konkona Sen Sharma
Konkona Sen Sharma is a Hindi and Bengali actor, writer, and director who works primarily in Hindi and Bengali films. Aparna Sen, a filmmaker and actor, is her mother. For Atul Kumar’s theatrical drama The Blue Mug, Konkona appeared alongside Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, and Sheeba Chadha. The play was performed all around the world.
Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, an English-language film, helped her earn recognition and popularity.
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Kulbhushan Kharbanda is a Hindi and Punjabi actor who has appeared in several films. He is best known for playing the villain in the film Shakaal in Shaan. In the 1960s, he began his career with the Delhi-based theatre company Yatrik. He has appeared in a number of parallel cinema films before breaking into the mainstream Bollywood industry.
Lillete Dubey is an actress who has been on stage and in films, as well as a theatrical director. She has appeared in national (Hindi) and international (English) theatre, television, and film productions. Lillete began her career in Delhi, where she was a founding member of Barry John’s Theatre Action Group (TAG) in 1973.
She began working on her acting skills in plays while studying at LSR (Delhi) at the time. She has directed a number of plays, the most well-known of which is Mahesh Dattani’s Dance Like a Man. This play has performed 497 times around the world, including a two-week run on Broadway.
Makarand Deshpande is a Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam, and Indian Theatre actor, writer, and director. He is well-known for his supporting, humorous, and crucial roles in a variety of films. Makarand has helmed over five films.
Makarand Deshpande has authored 350 full-length plays and has made a significant contribution to theatre. Sir Sir Sirla, Joke, Maa In Transit, Krishna Kidding, and Shakepearcha Mhatara were among the more than 50 short plays and 40 full-length plays in which he appeared.
With the support of Sanjana Kapoor, he began his career at Prithvi Theatre in 1990. In the year 1993, he founded the Ansh Theatre Group with Kay Kay Menon.
Manoj Bajpayee is an Indian actor who has appeared in films in Bollywood, Telugu, and Tamil. Manoj has aspired to be an actor since he was a child. He travelled to Delhi at the age of seventeen to apply to the National School of Drama, but was refused four times. He pursued his studies in college while also doing theater with the assistance of Barry John.
Nandita Das is an actress and filmmaker from India. She has appeared in more than 40 feature films in ten languages. With Firaaq, she made her directorial debut. Manto & I was her debut book. Nandita has also written and performed in a number of plays, including Heads Ya Tails, Mother, and Between the Lines.
Naseeruddin Shah is a well-known actor in the industry and a significant figure in parallel cinema. He received numerous prizes throughout his career, including three National Film Awards, Filmfare Awards, and others. He was also awarded the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his outstanding contribution to Indian film. Mirch Masala, A Wednesday, and Sarfarosh are among of his most well-known films. He founded Motley Productions in 1977.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui hasn’t looked back since receiving accolades for Gangs of Wasseypur 2. In 1996, he graduated from the National School of Drama (NSD). Nawaz worked with the Sakhshi Theatre Group after college, alongside Manoj Bajpayee and Saurabh Shukla.
Neeraj Kabi is an actor, director, and acting coach who has worked in both film and theater. He is well-known for his roles in international cinema, Bollywood films, theater, and television. After the release of Ship of Theseus, people began to recognize him. Since 1997, he has been involved in theatre and has participated in and worked on several workshops.
Nimrat Kaur is an actor who began her career as a print model before moving on to theater. Nimrat is a fantastic actor who captures the attention of everybody who appreciates superb acting. She appeared in a number of Delhi University’s SRCC theatrical performances. Nimrat appeared in plays such as Baghdad Wedding and All About Women after relocating to Mumbai.
Late Om Prakash Puri has appeared in a number of notable commercial Hindi films as well as independent and art films. He is well known for his parts in the films Aakrosh, Arohan, and Ardh Satya, all of which were written by him. He has also acted in television films such as Sadgati and Tamas, as well as comedic roles in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Chachi 420. Om Puri has appeared in non-Indian films in the United States and the United Kingdom. He received numerous accolades and earned degrees from FTII and NSD.
He died on January 6, 2017, leaving a vacuum in Indian cinema.
Pankaj Kapoor has appeared in a number of TV shows and films. Raakh (1989), Ek Doctor Ki Maut, and Maqbool are his most well-known films. He has three National Film Awards to his credit.
From the television programs Karamchand and Office Office, Pankaj Kapoor became a household name. After graduating from The National School of Drama, he began his career in theatre (NSD).
Pankaj Tripathi is regarded as one of cinema’s most gifted actors. In 2004, he graduated from the National School of Drama and then relocated to Mumbai. There was no turning back following his breakthrough appearance in Gangs of Wasseypur.
Paresh Rawal is a politician, actor, comedian, and film producer. He is well-known for his roles in Hindi and a few Telugu films. Paresh was a student at Narsee Monjee College, where he performed in a variety of plays in several languages. At Prithvi Theatre, he was a regular performer. Khelaiya, Dear Father, and Krishan vs Kanhaiya are among of his most well-known plays.
Pavan earned his bachelor’s degree in arts from Delhi University’s Hansraj College. After graduating, Pavan worked in theatre in Delhi before moving to Mumbai to pursue a career in film. In the film Ab Ayega Mazaa, he made his acting debut (1984). Remember Tiger Memon’s performance in the film Black Friday?
Piyush Mishra is an actor, music director, songwriter, vocalist, and playwright who has worked in both film and theater. Mishra graduated from the National School of Drama in 1986. Following that, he began his career in Hindi theatre in Delhi, and for the following decade, Piyush worked as a theatre director, actor, lyricist, and vocalist.
Prihviraj Kapoor was a politician, actor, film producer, director, and writer. He began his career in Hindi films during the silent era. He appeared in nine silent films before playing a minor role in India’s first talkie, Alam Ara, in 1931. The Prithvi Theatre was created in 1944 by the father of the Kapoor family.
Prithiviraj Kapoor was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1969 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1971 for his contributions to Indian film throughout his life.
Radhika Apte has appeared in movies in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, and English. With The Sleepwalkers, she made her directorial debut. Radhika was a member of Mohit Takalkar’s Aasakta theatre ensemble. After seeing her perform in the play Bombay Black, actor Rahul Bose recommended her to director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. She was cast in the film Antaheen by Aniruddha. She has also appeared in a number of Marathi plays, including Tu, Purnaviram, Matra Ratra, and others.
Raghubir Yadav is an actor who has appeared in films, on stage, and on television, as well as a composer, vocalist, and set designer. In 1985, he made his film debut with Massey Sahib. His roles in Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne, Lagaan, and Peepli Live have made him famous. An alumini NSD Raghubir is much more than his Bollywood success. He has appeared in over 70 plays and 2500 performances. Throughout his career, he has received numerous accolades, both national and international.
Rahul Bose is a film actor, director, screenwriter, social activist, and rugby player who has appeared in a number of films. With Rahul D’Cunha’s plays Topsy Turvey and Are There Tigers in Congo?, he began his theatrical career. Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, Pyaar Ke Side Effects, Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam, and many other films have featured Rahul. He also appeared as an antagonist in Tamil films. He has been dubbed “the superstar of Indian art house cinema” by Time magazine. He was dubbed “the Sean Penn of Oriental cinema” by Maxim magazine.
Raj Babbar is a politician as well as a Hindi and Punjabi film actor. His name is well-known, and he rose to prominence in the 1980s. Raj Babbar received his acting training at NSD’s Method School of Acting, which is involved in Street Theatre.
Raj Kapoor was a film producer, director, and actor. He was the greatest showman in the history of Indian cinema and entertainment. Time magazine named his performance in the film Awaara as one of the top ten best performances of all time. His films were well-received all around the world, particularly in Asia and Europe. Throughout his voyage, he got numerous accolades.
Rajat Kapoor is an actor, screenwriter, and film director who was born on February 11, 1961. He has wanted to be a filmmaker since he was a child. In 2013, Rajat joined the Delhi-based theatrical company Chingari, and later went to Pune to study at FTII.
Rajat Kapoor, the director of the cult hits Akhon Dekhi and Raghu Romeo, is a maestro of unusual film. Marx Frisch’s Firebugs was his directorial debut in 1984.
Rajkummar Rao is a Bollywood actor who is well-known for his work. Rajkumar Rao graduated from DU and then went on to the FTII to pursue acting. Later, he relocated to Mumbai to pursue his acting career. While studying at Delhi University, he was involved in theatre with Kshitij Repertory and Shri Ram Centre.
Rajkummar is an accomplished actor who has appeared in films such as Newton and Bareilly Ki Barfi.
Rajpal Yadav is a Bollywood actor who is known for his comedic roles. He put in a lot of effort and gave his best performance on stage. Rajpal has been prominent in the Shahjahanpur theatre scene and has worked with the Bhartendu Natya Academy before entering Bollywood.
Ratna Pathak Shah is a director and actor. Her work in Hindi theatre, television, and films has made her well-known. Her popularity soared after she starred in the show Sarabhai vs Sarabhai as Maya Sarabhai. After working with Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri Ratna on stage, he was motivated to join NSD. She has also acted in a number of films, including Khoobsurat, Golmaal 3, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Thappad, and others.
Ratna Pathak has established herself as an icon of Indian theatre.
Richa Chadda is most known for playing Bholi Punjaban in the Fukrey series. She made her acting debut in the film Oye Lucky! in a modest role. Oye, Oye, Oye, Oye, Oye Richa, on the other hand, made her acting debut in Masaan in 2015. When the picture was presented at the Cannes Film Festival, it garnered a standing ovation.
Richa has also appeared in the theater production Trivial Disasters. Richa Chaddha, Cyrus Sahukar, Kalki Koechlin, and Purab Kohli starred in the play, which was directed by Atul Kumar and premiered in 2014.
Rohini Hattangadi is a Marathi actress who has appeared in Hindi, Telugu, and Marathi soap operas and theatre. She began her acting career in Marathi. Hattangadi worked largely in theatre as a student at Delhi’s NSD. Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan, Rohini’s first film, was released in 1978. She became well-known as a result of her outstanding performances in the films Arth, Party, and Saaransh. She’s appeared in over 80 feature films and produced more than 150 plays.
Sanjay Mishra is an Indian film actor who is most known for his performances in Bollywood and television. We learn about this incredible talent because to films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha and Aankhon Dekhi. Sanjay Mishra earned his bachelor’s degree from NSD in 1989.
Saurabh Shukla is a film director, screenwriter, and actor. Satya, Yuva, Barfi, Jolly LLB, Kick, PK, Jolly LLB 2, and Raid helped him acquire fame. He began his acting career in 1984 and is now a well-known figure in Bollywood. He has performed in a number of plays, including Look Back in Anger, A View from the Bridge, and others.
In 2014, he won the National Film Award.
Seema Biswas is an Assamese actress who has worked in both film and theater. She rose to prominence after playing Phoolan Devi in Shekhar Kapur’s film Bandit Queen. For the part, Seema got the National Film Award for Best Actress. Khamoshi, for which she received the Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress, Bhoot, Vivah, and Half Girlfriend are some of her other well-known films. This incredible skilled actress has been in numerous television shows and received her education from NSD. Her mother was a role model for her.
Shabana Azmi made her film debut in 1974 and has since established herself as one of the great actors of Parallel cinema. In 1988, she received five National Film Awards and five Filmfare Awards, as well as the Padma Shri award. She was also praised as “women in cinema” at India’s 30th International Film Festival.
Azmi has appeared in over 120 Bollywood and Bengali films, both mainstream and independent. She began appearing in foreign productions in 1988. She is a feminist and a social activist. She quickly rose to prominence on theater, appearing in plays such as Safed Kundali, Tumhari Amrita, and A Doll’s House.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan is a Bollywood actor, filmmaker, and television personality. While in Delhi University, the King Khas was a theatre artist. He studied under Barry John and was a member of the Theatre Action Group. SRK is widely regarded as one of the most successful actors in the world. Red Chillies Entertainment is his co-chairman.
Shammi Kapoor was a well-known Bollywood actress from the mid-1950s until the early 1970s. In Indian film, he is known as a popular comic and a successful actor. He began his career as a junior artist before joining Prithvi Theatre for four years. In Bollywood, he established himself as a distinct kind of actor.
Sheeba Chaddha was born in Delhi and raised there. She became interested in theatre and began taking workshops there. She also runs a play company in Mumbai called “The Company Theatre.”
Shriram Lagoo was a Hindi and Marathi actor who appeared in films and plays. He also worked as an ENT surgeon. Shriram was a multi-talented actor who starred in over 250 films, including Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati plays. He was the director of almost 20 Marathi plays. He received the Filmfare Award in 1978. Lamaan is the title of his autobiography.
Shweta began her career as a production assistant and associate director before landing the part of Golu Gupta in the online series Mirzapur (2018). In 2008, Shweta founded All My Tea Productions, a theater company. The ensemble is known for their lighthearted humour.
Masaan (2015) and Haraamkhor (2015) are two of her remarkable performances (2017).
Supriya Pathak is most well-known for her role as Hansa from Khichdi. Dina Pathak, Supriya’s father, was a Gujarati theater performer. Ratna Pathak, her older sister, is also a theatrical and cinema actress.
Tigmanshu Dhulia is a screenwriter, director, actor, producer, and casting director who has written dialogue for films. Tigmanshu’s role in Gangs of Wasseypur is well-known. Dhulia graduated from the National School of Drama with a master’s degree in theatre. Haasil, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, and Paan Singh Tomar are among the films he has directed.
Vinay Pathak is an actor who has worked in both theater and movies. He’s appeared in a number of films, including Khosla Ka Ghosla, Bheja Fry, and others. He began practicing and performing while pursuing his MBA at the State University of New York. He later dropped out of his MBA program to attend drama school.
Vijay Varma began his acting career as a stage performer in his village. He’s been working in the theatre for almost thirty years. Vinay began his theater career in 1980 with the play Coffee House Mein Intezar, and since then he has directed and acted in over 50 plays. Natasamrat, Raktbeej, Main Nathuram Godse, and Kanjoos Makkhi Choose are a few of his memorable performances.
Yashpal Sharma is a theatre and Bollywood actor. He also works as a theater performer, having featured in live Ramlila productions. Yashpal went to Mumbai in 1997 after graduating from the National School of Drama in 1994. In Bollywood, we’ve usually seen him portraying dark or grey roles.