Did you know that these stars discovered the actor within, on stage?

On World Theatre Day, a look back at how actors including Mita Vashisht, Sumeet Vyas, Rasika Dugal, Amrita Subhash and Aaditi Pohankar transitioned from theatre to cinema

By Bollyy
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Did you know that these stars discovered the actor within, on stage
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“Love art in yourself, and not yourself in art,” said Konstantin Stanislavski, a widely-respected Russian theatre practitioner and director. Even though he passed away in 1938, his method of actor training still endures along with his belief that an artist must focus more on the craft than on the ego. Many theatre practitioners across the epochs have echoed this belief and vouched for theatre's ability to awaken the actor within and to impart an invaluable work ethic as well as discipline. This World Theatre Day, discover how some of the most well-known actors we have today, first discovered their passion for the performing arts on stage.

Mita Vashisht: A Lifetime of Theatrical Brilliance

Mita Vashisht: A Lifetime of Theatrical Brilliance

Mita Vashisht: Mita passed out of the National School of Drama in 1987 and her involvement with theatre has now spanned more than four decades. With her intense gaze, flawless diction and powerful presence, only she could have convincingly etched ‘Durgeshwari’ in Zee Theatre’s teleplay 'Agnipankh'. Or pulled off a solo stage performance based on the life of Kashmiri poet 'Lal Ded.' Not only did she become the muse of film auteurs like Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani and Govind Nihalani in classics like ‘Siddheshwari', 'Khayal Gaatha'  and 'Drohkaal,' she also starred in shows like 'Bharat Ek Khoj', 'Swabhimaan’, ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, and 'Criminal Justice'. She went on to establish 'Mandala,' an initiative to catalyse interest in performing arts. She also created Mandala TAM (Theatre Arts Module), which has helped even trafficked minors to express themselves and heal. Theatre hence remains at the very core of Mita's artistic journey till date.

Rasika Dugal: From Stage to Screen, A Theatrical Journey

Rasika Dugal: From Stage to Screen, A Theatrical Journey

Rasika Dugal: “The heart still thumps at the sound of the third bell. More than being on stage I miss the backstage… hurried whispers, fluttering frenzy and racing hearts.” This was actor Rasika Dugal's social media post on World Theatre Day in 2022. In just a few words, she summed up why theatre stirs her more than any other medium. Right from her days at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi, where she acted in various plays, Dugal has lent her presence to varied productions including 'The Vagina Monologues' and 'Dastangoi'. She can also be seen in acclaimed Zee Theatre teleplays like 'Bombay Talkies,' and 'Hamidabai Ki Kothi'. Whether it is her work in ‘Humorously Yours’, ‘Mirzapur,’ the Emmy-winning show ‘Delhi Crime’, her poignant performances in films like 'Qissa', 'Hamid,'  or her recent work in the film 'Fairy Folk', Dugal approaches each role with the discipline and passion of a theatre practitioner.  

Raghubir Yadav: A Lifelong Affair with Theatre

Raghubir Yadav: A Lifelong Affair with Theatre

Raghubir Yadav It would not be an exaggeration to say that theatre is veteran actor Raghubir Yadav's first love. At the age of 15, he ran away to join a travelling Parsi theatre and even though he earned very little money, he found his calling. He went on to spend over 13 years at the National School of Drama and worked extensively in the NSD repertory in classic productions like Girish Karnad 'Tughlaq'  and Dharamvir Bharati's 'Andha Yug'. He acted in over 2000 shows between 1977 and 1986 and over the decades, has garnered many accolades as an actor, musician, composer and costume designer. Despite his memorable performances in 'Massey Sahib',  'Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne', 'Lagaan', 'Salaam Bombay', 'Firaq', 'Dharavi', 'Bandit Queen', 'Peepli Live’ and 'Panchayat - 2,' he remains connected with theatre even today.  He can also be seen in the Zee Theatre teleplay, ‘Bagiya Bancharam Ki’.  

Sumeet Vyas: Nurturing the Flame of Theatre Amidst Screen Success

Sumeet Vyas

Sumeet Vyas was active in theatre in college and shares a long and rewarding creative relationship with theatre exponent and director Akarsh Khurana. With Khurana, he has worked across formats including in Zee Theatre's popular teleplay, 'Gunehgaar' where he played a cop. He retains his passion for theatre even today despite numerous assignments and success in TVF's 2014 web series 'Permanent Roommates,' and films like 'English Vinglish', 'Parched', 'Ribbons' and 'Veere Di Wedding'. He self-confessedly loves theatre because as an actor he finds it to be very creatively liberating. Theatre in his opinion also gives the audience a change to free their imagination in the absence of elaborate props. Every year, he makes sure to return to the stage where he first discovered his lifelong love for the performing arts.

Himani Shivpuri: From Organic Chemistry to Theatrical Mastery

Himani Shivpuri

Himani Shivpuri: While studying for a postgraduate degree in Organic Chemistry at DAV Collage Dehradun, Himani Shivpuri fell in love with theatre and took the radical decision to join the National School of Drama. Here she learnt the nuances of stagecraft and production, lighting and acting and worked with eminent names like BV Karanth, M. K. Raina, Surekha Sikri and Uttara Baokar. From performing as Desdemona in 'Othello' before a rural audience during her days with the NSD Repertory to playing the titular character in Krishna Sobti's 'Mitro Marjani', she emerged as a talent to reckon with. Despite memorable performances in some of the biggest blockbusters like 'Hum Aapke Hain Kaun' and 'DDLJ', she has remained in touch with theatre and  still makes time to work in Zee theatre's teleplays like 'Hamidabai Ki Kothi’ and ‘Rishton Ka Live Telecast.’ 

Aaditi Pohankar: From Grief to Glory on Stage and Screen

Aaditi Pohankar

When Aaditi Pohankar was in her teens, she lost her mother to a sudden illness. What remained with her was her mother's wish to see her on a hoarding. She decided to become an actor and approached well-known director, writer and actor Makarand Deshpande to fulfil this dream.  She worked in many plays with him while learning all she could about performing before a live audience. Theatre, she believes, helped her heal from her loss and also gave her an emotional release. In college, she also attended a workshop by Satyadev Dubey. It was while working in the play 'Time Boy' that she was first noticed by director Nishikant Kamat and went on to star in Marathi films like 'Kunasathi Kunitari' and 'Lai Bhaari' as well as OTT hits like 'Aashram' and 'She.' Her commitment to theatre is still strong and she can be seen in Zee Theatre’s teleplay ‘Typecaste.’  
Amruta Subhash: A Legacy of Theatrical Brilliance

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Amruta Subhash inherited her love for theatre from her mother and actor Jyoti Subhash who has worked extensively in Marathi cinema, television and theatre. Amruta herself is a National School of Drama graduate and was mentored by Satyadev Dubey. At NSD, she worked in many stage productions including 'Urvashiam', 'Bela Meri Jaan', 'House of Bernada', 'Alba', and 'Mrug Trushna'. In Mumbai, her performance in Purushottam Laxman Deshpande's 'Tee Fulrani' also brought her a lot of acclaim and today Amruta is actively working in Marathi and Hindi films, television, OTT shows as well as in theatre. Apart from her recent play 'Punashch Honeymoon', she can also be seen in  Zee Theatre's  'Hamidabai Ki Kothi'.


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