I am well acquainted with the wonders of the stage and its beaming lights. My dalliance with theatre can be dated back to my school days; performing before the entire school would sometimes give me the jitters. But, oh, how thrilling it was to face the audiences and bask in the spotlight! Since then my love for theatre hasn’t diminished one bit! A theatre actor doesn’t have it easy though – voice modulation, expressive hand movements, impeccable timing and effervescent energy are pre-requisites for an impactful performance. One stutter or lapse in dialogue delivery can probably hamper an entire act.
In the past decade, the film and television industry has seen an influx of exceptional theatre actors who’ve captivated minds across generations, both young and old. It’s a known fact that theatre artists receive careful and meticulous training before each performance. Perhaps, that’s why the art of theatre is passed onto many newcomers in the field; so that they can step into the shoes of their character seamlessly.
Theatre shows may not be as popular as mainstream cinema, but they aren’t losing their shine either. Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai is hailed as a veritable stage for veteran actors in the industry and attracts quite a few theatre-goers. The National School of Drama in Delhi has a reputation for churning out some of the best actors in the nation. Over the years, amazing theatre artists have forayed into films and have altered the landscape of Indian cinema. I have observed that theatre in India is mostly associated with the doyens of the industry, such as Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher and a few others. These are some of the finest actors who’ve emerged from theatre, but in the recent times we’ve also witnessed a fair share of talent from the newcomers. Here is a list of new gen actors who’ve carried forward their learning from theatre to the film sets.
1. Jim Sarbh
If you’ve seen the film Neerja, you’ll be familiar with Jim Sarbh’s prowess as an actor. He played the role of a cold-blooded terrorist to perfection and caught the attention of both critics and women. It’s a little known fact that Jim has a deep connection with theatre and he is a prominent figure among Mumbai theatre artists. Soon to be seen in Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial debut Death In The Gunj, Jim Sarbh strives to do challenging roles in both theatre and films. Having performed with theatre actors like Kalki Koechlin and Rajat Kapoor, Jim Sarbh is slowly but surely making his presence felt.
2. Rajkumar Rao
Rajkumar Rao never fails to mesmerise audiences with every role he takes on. We’ve so many shades of Rajkumar Rao in movies like Kai Po che, Shaitan, Citylights and Queen; it is hard to pinpoint which performance is his finest! A graduate from FTII Pune, he started his journey as a theatre actor. Rajkumar’s portrayal of a poor farmer who relocates to Mumbai with hopes of prosperity and fulfilment in Citylights is immensely moving. In Dolly Ki Dolly, he plays the role of a Haryanvi boy and proves that quirky roles are right up his alley as well!