Some of the best talents we see on the silver screen today are those who've wet their feet at the altar of theatre. From Prithviraj Kapoor to Deepak Dobriyal, actors with a theatre background are unmistakeable with their raw talent and power-packed performances. On World Theatre Day, here are 10 prominent actors who've set not just the stage but celluloid on fire as well.
Before acting in India's first talkie film, Alam Ara, Prithviraj Kapoor acted in as many as nine silent films and innumerable plays. Known to be the pioneer of the Kapoor clan, he founded Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai and remained devoted to the stage through his life.
Having worked in more than 100 films over the last 30 years, this actor needs no introduction. A National School of Drama product, his work has earned him plaudits, whether on television or films. Despite his success in Bollywood, the actor still has a soft corner for theatre.
Five times National Award winning actor Shabana Azmi is considered one of India's finest talents. Apart from being a part of iconic films over the years, she is also known for her remarkable work in plays like Safed Kundali, Tumhari Amrita and A Doll's House.
Naseeruddin Shah has always attempted to keep theatre alive in India. In fact, in 1977, he along with his fellow theatre actors, Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani, formed a production company called Motley Productions.
Dobriyal attained fame and success in Bollywood after films like Tanu Weds Manu, Dabangg 2 and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. However, he has been an acclaimed theatre actor right since 1994.
Apart from being a household name in the 80s thanks to his portrayal of Karamchand, Pankaj Kapoor is one of the most respected actors in theatre. Before his Bollywood debut with Gandhi, Kapoor had been a part of stage shows for four years.
Girish Karnad is a legendary name in the Kannada film industry. His intense performances earned him plaudits in Bollywood as well. However, the actor is most in his element when he is on stage, as he has been associated with theatre since the early 60s.
Saurabh Shukla was noticed in Bollywood as Kallu Mama after Ram Gopal Verma's Satya (1998). However, he has been a theatre actor since 1984. The actor has been a part of iconic plays like A View From The Bridge, Look Back in Anger and Ghashiram Kotwal, amongst other.
Another National School of Drama alumnus, Anupam Kher has acted in over 200 films. He is still associated with theatre and his autobiographical one-man play Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai has been staged innumerable times.
Ever since his college days, Paresh Rawal has had a keen interest in acting. The actor was a part of college plays before his Bollywood debut. Some of the iconic plays he has been a part of include Khelaiya, Dear Father and Krishan vs Kanhaiya.