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This World Theatre Day, know THESE 7 BNA alumni who have made it to Bollywood & beyond!

Initiated by International Theatre Institute, the World Theatre Day seeks to celebrate dramatic performances on a global level.

With an aim to impart profound training in theatre, Bhartendu Natya Academy of Dramatic Arts (BADA) commenced systematic training in stagecrafton 5 April 1976. Popularly known as BNA, this academy is named after Bhartendu Harishchandra- the Father of Modern Hindi Drama and has been contributing to his memory by ornamenting the Hindi cinema industry with jewels from its stages. Today, in honour of World Theatre Day, we have curated a list of 7 graduates of BNA that have made a name for themselves in Bollywood with their dexterity and stroke of genius!


Nawazuddin Siddiqui

"Baap ka, Dada ka, Bhai Ka. Sabka badla lega re, tera Faizal"- Rising to fame with these lines from Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Nawazuddin Siddiqui has now become the main page heartthrob of the film industry with his epiphanic display of non-glamorous characters. He started his career way back in 1999 with a side role in the Aamir Khan starer Sarfarosh. His long and fruitful journey, since then, has expanded his oeuvre of cinematic productions to cover Emmy nominated series, Sacred Games (2019) and British crime drama McMafia (2018).

Notable Works: Manto(2018), Lion(2016), The Lunchbox(2013), among others.

Nalneesh Neel

The latest venture of Nalneesh Neel was alongside the likes of Priyanka Chopra and Rajkumar Rao, as a debutant in the Hollywood enterprise- The White Tiger (2021), playing the rustic and raw character of 'Vitiligo'. The journey of this BNA alumnus to the tinsel town includes a plethora of small but noticeable roles in several films, however, the one that gave him the most recognition was the character of a speech-impaired domestic help, Sheikhu, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana in Gulaabo Sitaabo (2020).

Notable Works: Chhichhore (2019), Manikarnika (2019), Raees (2017), among others.

Rajpal Yadav

Taking the genre of comedy to new heights in the Bollywood industry is Rajpal Yadav- a dependable actor like no other who can make the audience laugh with a mere gesture! Yadav had a humble start as an actor in 1999 when he played the role of a school watchman in the movie- Dil Kya Kare. Since then, he has given several praiseworthy performances in movies like Phir Hera Pheri (2006) and Chup Chup Ke (2006). A man of many talents, he has also ventured into negative roles and films made in Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, Avadhi and Telugu.

Notable Works: Action Replayy (2010), Bhool Bhulaiyya (2007), Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005), among others.

Anupam Shyam

An actor who achieved fame with Mann Kee Awaaz Pratigya for his extremely well-done native accent and limp walk as he portrayed the eccentric character of Thakur Sajjan Singh, Anupam Shyam is an alumnus of Bhartendu Natya Academy. Post his training in theatre, he joined the National School of Drama in Delhi where he got the opportunity to work with several prolific thespians and masters of stagecraft, among which the most notable experience of his was with Zohra Sehgal. His adventure in theatres landed him a role where he was cast alongside Keanu Reeves in Little Buddha (1993).

Notable Works: Slumdog Millionnaire (2008), Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001), Dil Se..(1998), among others.

Alok Pandey

Alok Pandey learned the basics of acting when he joined the Sanskrit Theatre Group in 2007, however, his bout of immense learning came after he enrolled in BNA, the batch of 2011. He started his career in the Hindi cinema industry in 2014 with a small role in a Anurag Kashyap film but his share of recognition came when he started in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) where he played the role of Chittu, best friend of the lead character. Since then, this actor has only looked forward and has a number of projects in his bag for 2021.

Notable Works: PK (2014), Lucknow Central (2017), Batla House (2019), among others.

Atul Srivastava

Sharing the silver screen with industry big-wigs like Shahid Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt, Atul Kulkarni specialises in character roles that have precise comic timing. He stepped into the world of glitz and glamour some 20 odd years ago and since then, he has been making cinema-goers chuckle with some iconic performances in movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) and Yaha Sabhi Gyaani Hai (2020). His iconic monologue rant- "matar matar matar" from Ghoomketu (2020) will give you the thrills of hearing Kartik Aaryan's angry rant from Pyaar Ka Punchnama.

Notable Works: Lukka Chuppi (2019), Bombay Velvet (2015), Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), among others

Dilip Arya

Dilip Arya's childhood aspirations have actualised with his recent success in the trending Hindi web series- Beehad Ka Baghi, running on MX Player. Arya is seen playing the role of the central character, Shiv Kumar Patel aka Dadua and the stellar performances from the entire crew have engaged more than 40 million views.

The backdrop of his 15-year-long journey of struggle to the silver screen is marked by grit and perseverance. His first break in the Hindi cinema industry came in 2020 in the form of a low-budget film, Taanashah, which converted into Beehad for which he has been felicitated the UP Gaurav Samman Award recently.

Knock Knock

Theatre and films are a technological extension of the Hindi quote- 'Sahitya samaj ka darpan hai' and these BNA alumni have been actively contributing their share to it, thereby taking the name of our city to new heights of fame and recognition. This World Theatre Day, we honour their contributions and hope that this list inspires others to pursue theatre as afull-time career.

BTW, do you know an 8th alumnus we can add to this list? Share in the comments below!

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