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6 Alumni of NSD, India’s premiere acting school, who made it big in Bollywood

When Indian parents think of prospective careers for their prodigal children, their thoughts stick to age-old choices of Engineers, Doctors or MBA’s. They feel ecstatic while boasting on the achievements of their offspring and simultaneously feel mortified in the social order on their failures (An acting career with education at NSD comes very low in order of priority). Thus, with such outlook and goal to accomplish, they impede with their child’s education and career choices at every tread.

Cartoon on Indian parents interference in their child's career choices

 Kids with artistic talents are declared underperformers and are left with handful choices. The article here mentions such talents who defied the society’s fixation and honed their skills to make it big in field of theater. Perhaps, they all were enthused by the advertisements of our very own “Royal Stag” and kept asking themselves, “Have I made it large?”

All of them went to National School of Drama, which has been a premier institute when it comes to the nurturing unrefined ability to take huge strides in the field of theater, music, direction etc. Established in 1959 at New Delhi, the autonomous institute has given numerous stalwarts to the theater world and the film industry. Here are 6 alums of this institution who made it big in Bollywood and made their alma mater proud.

Naseeruddin Shah: A rare talent from NSD who made his mark despite being an industry outsider

One of the most prominent and versatile actors of Indian parallel cinema, Shah attended NSD after graduating in arts from Aligarh Muslim University. He has acted in numerous plays, mainstream Bollywood movies, Art movies and TV serials earning praise from the film fraternity and public in general. Making his debut through Shyam Benegal’s Nishant in 1975, he went on to give exemplary performances in cult movie like “Jaane Bhi do Yaaron” and “Ishqiya”.

Shah has shared screen with Pankaj Kapoor multiple times and are brother-in-law in real life. They are married to sisters Ratna and Supriya Pathak. Naseeruddin Shah has his share of controversy when he candid statements about his rivalry with Amitabh Bacchan and getting roles rejected by Mr. Bacchan. Following the footsteps of some veteran actors, Shah has decided to pen his biography titled “And then one day”.

Apart from multiple National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards, he has also been conferred upon the “Padma Shri” and the “Padma Vibhushan” awards.

The journey from being a child labor to being Om Puri

Om Puri is another star of Indian cinema who was critically acclaimed for his unconventional roles that he played during his initial days. Mr. Puri graduated from NSD in 1973 alongside Naseeruddin Shah. He established himself as an actor with movies like Aakrosh (1980), Disco dancer (1982) and Ardhya Satya (1982).

He has come a long way from washing tea kettles on roadside at the age of six to being conferred the honorary Order of British Empire (OBE) award for his contribution to British cinema. He has bagged numerous offers from British movies and mainstream Hollywood movies.

Om puri has rendered his voice to several characters over the years. His deep tone has been liked by many and has been predominantly used for narration by directors. He was also awarded with “Padma Shri” for his contribution to Indian cinema.

An actor who has seen it all from Acting, Producing and Directing of Films

Anupam Kher, an alumnus of NSD went on to become the director of the institute from 2001 to 2004. He rose to a sudden fame with the character of the protagonist in Saaransh (1984). The portrayal not only earned him accolades but also his first of the many Filmfare awards.

Anupam Kher in Saaransh

 He tried some challenging roles playing the negative lead (Remember Dr. Dang). During 90s, the actor’s inclination towards doing comedy movies earned him lots of praise. He also served as chairperson of Indian film censor board.

Anupam kher playing the role of Dr. Dang in Karma

 Following his knack for trying out different things, he started a film production company along with Satish Kaushik (Another NSD Alum) and produced movie Tere Sang (2009). He also made his directorial debut with the multi starrer movie Om Jai Jagdish (2002).

Anil Kapoor,Abhishek Bacchan and Fardeen khan in a scene of Om Jai Jagdish

 A new star in the making- Irrfan Khan

Irrfan khan is a familiar name in the theater world as well as in the film industry. After graduating from NSD in 1987, he tied wedding knots with his classmate Ms. Sutapa Sikdar. Irrfan acted in several TV serials, which went unnoticed. It’s an irony that the actor got his due recognition from an international film The Warrior (2001).

With powerful character portrayal in movies like Maqbool (2004), Haasil (2005) and Paan Singh Tomar (2012) he has become one of the most sought after actors. The actor claims that seldom auditions for his roles. The actor is getting busier with each passing year with 6 releases in 2015.

Jazbaa,Piku and Divine lovers releasing in 2015

 Simultaneously, he has been working on international assignments like “Mighty Heart”, ”The Namesake”, ”Spider Man” etc. The actor is enjoying doing assignments with established Hollywood directors like Ang Lee (Life of Pi – 2012) and Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire – 2010).

Kya bhaiya meme of Irrfan Khan

 The multifaceted celebrity with a dark past

This NSD graduate is a multi-talented personality. Piyush Mishra is an actor, music director, lyricist, singer and scriptwriter. After graduating, he worked in theater for over a decade before moving to Mumbai for better opportunities. His roles in movies like Maqbool (2005), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and Gulaal (2009) received acclaims from critics.

Piyush Mishra in Gulaal

 In a candid interview with Times of India, Piyush accepted that he was not focused towards his career due to severe alcohol consumption. He was offered lead role in Sooraj Barjatya’s “Maine Pyar Kiya” but due to lack of commitment and professionalism, he lost that opportunity. However, some of his friends like Anurag Kashyap and Tigmanshu dhulia helped him in getting on his feet.

Piyush Mishra,Tigmanshu Dhulia and Anurag Kashyap have been good friends

 Apart from acting, he actively pursued his other interests of singing, script writing and writing lyrics. His songs in Gulaal and Gangs of Wasseypur were smash hits and rich in poetic content.

The late bloomer
Annu Kapoor is an Indian film actor and TV presenter/anchor. He graduated from NSD in 1976 and did a brief stint with the theater company his father owned. While acting as a 70 year old in a play “Ek ruka hua faisala”, he impressed Shyam Benegal with his moving performance. Consequently, he made his debut in Indian cinema with Mandi (1983), a movie directed by Mr. Benegal. In his career, which spanned more than 30 years, he has hosted numerous TV shows. His recent portrayal of Dr. Chaddha in Vicky Donor (2012) was highly appreciated and it earned him his maiden Filmfare and National Film awards.

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