Famous Theater Artist Of Lucknow : One of the original roots of the pride and honor of Lucknow. The venerable stages of the Academy, surrounded by throngs of tappers and chaiwalas, have seen the country’s best theater artistes flourish over the years and how! Have taken Lucknow towards the pinnacle of the artistic field! With theater workshops and performing arts festivals being held frequently in the city here by the iconic Bewaza Cafe, Cafe Repertwahr, Lucknow Festival, The cast of all Jowar have found a strand in their journey – be it the first or the finale! So here we have listed 5 prominent theater artistes from Lucknow who have redefined the boundaries of theater like no one else!
Famous Theater Artist Of Lucknow
Dr. Anil Rastogi
Dr. Anil Rastogi’s theater journey began in 1958 when he participated in a play called ‘Noorjahan’ as the king’s minister. In the middle of the swinging sixties, Dr. Rastogi’s acting was seen for the first time in plays like Jai Somnath and Sapne!In 1971, he joined the Darpan group and played the lead role in a play called Hayavadan directed by theater maestro B.V. Karanth and since then there was no looking back. He briefly moved to Germany for higher research and began performing in all kinds of plays almost every month, which gave him insightful experiences that were crucial to his future travels.
In 1979 he was made the secretary of Darpan group which continued till 2017 and with the help of other theater friends Darpan reached new heights every time! With over 1000 shows of 90 plays in different cities, Dr. Anil Rastogi writes his own introductions. Most acclaimed plays are- Yehudi Ki Ladki, Hayavadan, Panchhi Jaa Panchhi Aa, Kanyadaan, Fando Aur Liss, A View From The Bridge, Bare Foot In Athens, Chief Minister etc!
Padma Shri Raj Bisaria
Raj Bisaria Sir, known as the “Father of Modern Theater in North India” is a director, producer, actor and educationist. He established Theater Arts Workshop in 1966 and Bharatendu Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1975 and since then, looking back, Raj Bisaria has blended the artistic concepts of East and West with traditional and modern! He has directed over a century of plays by Indian, British, European and American playwrights and both on TV and Radio, Raj Bisaria has left his mark as an actor, moderator and an indelible actor!
Raj Bisaria was also awarded the prestigious Padma Shri, which is India’s fourth highest civilian award for his contribution towards modern Indian theatre, and he is the first theater person from Uttar Pradesh to do so!Raj Bisaria Studio in Lucknow is still one of the most learning studios for amateur actors and directors providing wide and intensive training in acting, direction, drama and language, film etc!
An alumnus of the National School of Drama, Salim Arif was a part of the Lucknow theater scene of the 70s, which gave way to vibrant and experimental plays. A theater veteran, Salim Arif’s Taj Mahal Ka Tender, Dil Chahta Hai, Agar Aur Magar, Bayane Ghalib etc. have made him one of the most popular head directors of Hindi theater in India and rightly so.
She made a huge mark as a designer with Shyam Benegal’s Bharat Ek Khoj, Gulzar’s Mirza Ghalib and Neerja Guleri’s Chandrakanta – all portrayed with finesse and aesthetic vibrancy. Salim has been a mentor to Gulzar sahab and has also shared a close bond with Jagjit sahab, providing him industry insight, but his understated ability is credited with his highest rise in the industry!
Surya Mohan Kulshrestha
Surya Mohan Kulshrestha began his career in theater in 1974, under the direction of Ranjit Kapoor in Lucknow. His name as a director was featured at the National Theater Seema after a performance of Rakesh’s Ramlila, which was shown at the National Festival of Musical Drama. The Academy was organized in Delhi in 1985. To date, Surya Mohan’s dynamic repertoire basket includes Sophocles’ King Oedipus, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq, Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle and so on.
Surya Mohan’s approach to theater has always been focused on the actor, showcasing the minimalism of the stage. A noted actor himself, Kulshreshtha has recently received critical acclaim through his performance of the role of Socrates in Barefoot in Athens, directed by Raj Bisaria. Kulshreshtha has also represented India in the World Theater Project in Germany in 1993. And he was one of the prestigious recipients of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1995 and in 2014 for his expertise in direction! Among other honours, Surya Mohan has also been awarded an honorary diploma by the International Amateur Theater Association in Norway.
Compared to other artists from Lucknow, Apoorva is a newbie in the theater sector, but considering her vast experience in these 10 years, she is well placed as a leading artist in the industry. Establishing her forte in directing, Apoorva balances her career as a theater artist (acting and directing) along with directing and casting in the Indian film industry, conducting acting workshops for children from Mumbai to Lucknow Are roaming
Apoorva Shah is a notable name in the theater fraternity of Lucknow and an inspiration to other aspirants who wish to venture into this challenging yet rewarding field. She is reinforcing the notion of girl power like no other.
Abhishek’s childhood was spent in pichkaris and his fantasies of working in films drew him to the stage for the first time in 1996 as he saw it as his ticket to Bollywood! Abhishek started working independently in various important theater groups like Meghdoot, Sanket, Rang Yatra, Uddipan etc. Following which, he secured a seat in the prestigious Bharatendu Natya Academy for further studies in his chosen field!
Then began his journey from Lucknow to Delhi as an actor and in 2007, Abhishek started as a full-time theater director and an acting teacher! He was appointed as a theater faculty at the Opulent Acting School and NSD funded extension school called Himachal Cultural Research Forum and Theater Academy. Abhishek Tiwari has made a name for himself with his determination, discipline and hard work. In Lucknow, Abhishek Tiwari is known as a man of many talents and theater wale bhaiya, who is moving mountains with his incredible skills in the field of performing arts!