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As youngsters, we always admire the stars on the big screen. As warm-blood carriers we are so inspired by their life, stardom, their luxuries that literally everyone just for once wants to give a shot to their destines’, thinking that if destiny has worked for those big multi-millionaire stars, then tables might turn for us as well. But one thing which everyone fails to realize is the fact that it takes a lot of hard work, a consistent taste of failure, a decade of struggle and of-course loads of luck to reach at the position those big heroes are at today. Not all the actors are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, by which i mean to say that most of the great actors do not come from actor family background, Some were mere theatre artists from Bombay itself, some were strugglers giving day to day auditions, while some of the privileged ones were of the National School of Drama Alumni.

Before we get onto actors who were National School Of Drama Alumni (basically talking about male actors) let’s get to know more about the National School of Drama.



National School of Drama (NSD for short) is one of the elite theatre training institutions in India, totally one of its kind. Formed back in 1959 by the SANGEET NATAK ACADEMY, it finally went on to autonomous and independent organization registered under the Society Registration Act XXI OF 1860, in the year 1975 and is fully financed by Ministry of Culture, Govt. Of India.

Terms of Admission In NSD

National School of Drama invited application of students for a three-year Diploma course in Dramatic Arts. Their main aim is to train the students to become professional in spheres of acting, directing and other theatre-related disciplines.

Candidates eligible for admission


1. Graduation in any field from a recognised University within India and Abroad as well.

2. Participation in at least 6 theatre productions.

3. Fluency in both Hindi and English languages.

4. Age limit- Minimum-20 and Maximum-30

Talking about the actors of National School Of Drama Alumni, This institution has given the country some of the finest and all time versatile actors who have through all thick and thin proved their capabilities and have made National School Of Drama proud. Let’s get to know more about the struggles of these National School of Drama Alumni.

1. Om Puri


Born in Ambala a city of Punjab, India, This man went onto becoming one of the most recognized and respected actors of the Indian cinema. Known for his roles in mainstream commercial as well as art films for which he acclaimed several awards, this heavy throat man though had an underprivileged childhood. After his father being put behind the bars for cement theft he along with his brother worked to provide a living to the family, but he never left his education. After completing his primary education in 1973 he went onto becoming National School of Drama Alumni. As a student of National School Of Drama his first play was a Bengali play written by Rabindranath Tagore named CHANDALIKA, for which he needed to learn Bengali language. According to his teachers and students (both seniors and juniors of Om Puri) of National School of Drama claimed that he was a hardworking and dedicated student and even taught drama to other students. He always used to discuss his projects with other fellow seniors. He Always used to say ‘Tapas toh karna padega’ (Hardwork needs to be done). Naseeruddin Shah was his batchmate in NSD and they both along really well. In an interview Om Puri mentioned how Naseeruddin Shah helped him when he shifted to Bombay, Om Puri himself mentioned that he never had decent clothes to wear at Film and Television Institute of India, pune. He went onto winning the First Filmfare in 1980 for his role in Aakrosh. 13 years of struggle made him what he is known as of today. He might not be present amongst us but his works, his life stories and morals all prove us that it isn’t important to be fare and smart to get established into the industry but a lot of hard-work needs to be put into.

2. Naseeruddin Shah


Born into a Muslim family in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh India, this actor and director was a National School of Drama Allumni in 1972. Naseeruddin shah was a dedicated soul who wanted to learn theatre. According to him he as an actor is an insecure person who is always trying to get the people’s attention and get employment. Naseeruddin Shah mentions his life in NSD as a struggle for the survival of the fittest, because according to him a star system prevailed in NSD, the environment wasn’t healthy and there was a lot of politics also going on. In 1977 after moving to pune he along with Tom Alter and Benjamin Gilani formed a theatre group by the name Motley Productions. Their very first play was Sameul Beckett’s waiting for goddot which was staged in Prithvi Theatre in the year 1979. During an Interview for admission in National School of Drama pointed out the fact that ‘he got enormous joy while doing Theatre works but he knew he would make a living by movies only’. His only support in NSD was Om Puri whom Naseer regarded as Guardian Angel as he saved his life when he got stabbed by Jaspal ( Friend of Naseer) while eating in a restaurant. Naseeruddin Shah’s first film was Ishant in which he played a minor role of a landlord’s younger brother in the year 1975. Not really owing anything to the industry Naseer always points out his love for theatres and only depends on films for his living needs.

3. Pankaj Kapoor


Pankaj Kapoor is an eminent figure of the Indian Theatres and Television and movie actor. This self acclaimed screenwriter and director belongs for Ludhiana,Punjab India. After having topped his college in New Delhi,India in the field of engineering in the year 1973 he went and joined National School of Drama in the same year. Here also he acclaimed the best actor award. Being dedicated and polite all throughout his career he is said to be one of a kind versatile actor and director. After completion of his diploma in NSD in 1976 he did theatre for continuous 4 years until he was offered a role by Richard Attenborough in his movie ‘Gandhi’ . After this there was no looking back for Pankaj Kapoor. He even got couple of National Film Awards for his movies ‘Ek Doctor Ki Maut’ in 1991 and ‘Maqbool’ in 2003 which is an adoption of the play ‘Macbeth’. A perfect example of simple living and high thinking Pankaj Kapoor made his own place in the industry as one the respected artists present in the industry.

4. Raj Babber

Raj Babber another National School of Drama Alumni was born into a Khalsa family in Agra Uttar Pradesh, India. After completing his graduation from Agra College Raj Babber moved out of the house to fulfill his dream of becoming an actor. He reached Punjab University in Patiala, India where he got enrolled in Dramatics course along with it joined Panjab Kala Manch. It was not until he met Om Puri who urged in him to join the National School Of Drama, Delhi. He then went up to Delhi and got admission in NSD and got trained in method school of acting. As NSD Worked many other actors it did so for Raj Babber as well. After completion of couse in NSD in 1975 He did TV, Radio shows along with theatre but movies were a long struggle for him. And then finally in 1979 with Namak Halal everything for him started to fall into place. He was flooded with roles and then there was no looking back. His initial poverty never stopped him from realizing his dreams as for what we know him as of today is because of his own hard work and destiny that paid off well.

5. Anupam Kher

Anupam Kher and nsd

Born to a Kashmiri Pandit family in Shimla, Anupam Kher went onto becoming an internationally acclaimed actor. Being brought up into a middle class family, Anupam Kher got decant upbringing from his parents. After receiving education in Dav school in Shimla, India..

Born to a Kashmiri Pandit family in Shimla, Anupam Kher went onto becoming an internationally acclaimed actor. Being brought up into a middle class family, Anupam Kher got decant upbringing from his parents. After receiving education in Dav school in Shimla, India he went onto being amongst National School of Drama Alumni. To be able to come to NSD and be a part of it is what he called his good fate. He was surprised to see the amount of books that were written on cinema and acting that he used to spend almost 10 hours reading the books there and sometimes just surviving on two hours of sleep. He graduated from National School of Drama in the year 1978 with a gold medal. After two years of theatre, sleeping on the railway platforms and nearly packing back to home from Bombay, Kher finally got his first movie role named Aagman in the year 1982, and since that day Anupam Kher appeared in almost 450 films and 100 plays. According to him his biggest achievement in life is becoming the Chairman of National School of Drama, this is what he calls the circle of life. This versatile actor director wrote a play about his own life stating the name ‘Kuch Bhi Ho Skta HAi’ (Anything can happen). NSD has given us one of the rarest combination of talented men like Mr. Anupam Kher.

6. Irrfan Khan

Where luck is more prevalent everything will fall into place, this phrase is appropriate for the very talented actor Irrfan Khan. Born in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India to a pathan family Sahabzada Irrfan Khan Ali went onto becoming an actor not just starring in Bollywood films but Hollywood as well. Irrfan Khan was doing is MA degree in Jaipur when he got a scholarship in the National School Of Drama. As theatre experience was necessary Irrfan Khan Lied during an interview in the National School of Drama saying he has past experience of theatre. While still being in the last year of NSD, Irrfan got a role into the movie named Saalam Bombay, but later his role was edited. After being graduated in the year 1988 from NSD Irrfan shifted to Bombay and started to do television shows the first one being Chanakaya. Since then there was no looking back, his movies turn out to be blockbusters and all the young actors and actresses want to work with him. He got an extra ‘r’ into his name not because of any numerologist suggestions but because he wanted to do it. Irrfan Khan is known to be an asset to the film industry and has prove his versatility time and again.

7. Vipin Sharma

Vipin-Sharma-and-nsdWhen destiny have some other plans for you, then all the universal forces would act in a particular direction i.e. making you reach where you belong. For Vipin Sharma destiny really had some different plans. Born and brought up in Delhi, Vipin used to sell tickets of Punjabi plays outside a theatre in Delhi, India. His fellow colleague who was selling tickets for hindi play once asked him are Punjabi plays (during that time known for comic vulgarity) can be seen with parents?, this question like almost paved a path for vipin’s interest to grow into Hindi theatre and cinemas as their content was more refined. This made Vipin Sharma to go and get enrolled himself as National School of Drama Alumni. He got selected in the very first attempt and left his own college graduation midway. At National School of Drama he was quite impressed by the European actors. But for some reason left acting and went to Toronto, Canada and starting making a living there by becoming a video editor. But yet again his destiny had some other plans for him and he landed back to Mumbai and was offered a role in Taare Zameen Par in 2007 where he played the role of a father of a child suffering from dyslexia. Since 2007 his work has been recognised and appreciated by all.

8. Ashutosh Rana


Born in Madhaya Pradesh Aushtosh Rana is a well known artist of the not only the Hindi Cinema but also in Marathi, Kannada, Telegue and Tamil film industries as well. A true to his routes is what he calls himself recalls his days of studying as one of the National School of Drama Alumni. Before talking admission in National School of Drama in Delhi, Rana already had knowledge about the theatre as acting was his passion. On the suggestion of his spiritual guide Rana applied in National School of Drama. In the first semester in NSD he was a back bencher not much appreciated by his teachers who would often regard him as a wrong entry and should leave the institution. This phrase of his life made him to take up acting as a serious task and graduated as one of the best students of his batch in the year 1994. After NSD his first screen appearance was seen in the movie Dushman, he always got roles of killers or serious characters because of his grave and harsh look. He won screen awards in the villain category many a times.

9. Nawazuddin Siddiqui


All the hard work paid off for this man and went onto being the first choice of all the producers, directors, all actors/ actresses want to work with him he is the one and only Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Born in a small district of Mujjafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India he was the eldest of the 8 sibling. After completing his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry he worked as a chemist in Vadodara. He left this job and moved to delhi in search of a new one. But life had some other plans for him, once he saw a play and got so inspired that the desire to become an actor began to burn in him. Following this he took admission in National school of Drama and graduated in 1996 in theatre academics. After graduation from NSD he shifted to Bombay one of his worst struggle periods. Siddique made his debut into bolloywood with Amir Khan’s film in 1999 in which he played a petty role of 61 seconds. 2004 is said to be the worst year of his struggles where he was forced to live with a NSD senior of his for whom he used to cook food because he couldn’t pay the rent. His hardwork finally paid off in the year 2007 when he worked in the movie Black-Friday. Since that movie there was no looking back and Nawazuddin Siddique went onto becoming a household name today. He gives all the credit to National School Of Drama because acting is what all he knew besides not having an actor face.

10. Shah Rukh Khan


Commonly referred to as king of Bollywood, this eminent actor is another flower that bloomed in the gardens of National School of Drama and went onto being amongst the famous National School of Drama Alumni. Born into a Muslim family in Delhi SRK went onto becoming the Second Richest Actor in the world. His entire childhood is centered around National School of Drama because of his father running a canteen there. At that time when Shah Rukh was just a child when prominent actors used to be a part of NSD namely Raj Babber, Rohini Hattangadi, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah. According to SRK himself he is taught how to act by these prominent actors. When SRK himself joined NSD his growth as an actor became much more prominent since then, Delivery of lines body and posture control everything he does today is a reflection of his efforts of yesterday. According to SRK by doing theatre a sense of superiority because of the fact that in theatre there is no retakes. Since his television debut in Fauji there has been no looking back for SRK, The father of 3 kinds aspires to open an acting school himself after he decides to retire from acting.

So these were the 10 most famous National School Of Drama Alumni. What should be understood from their struggles is that National School of Drama does not provide a direct path to the silver screen, reaching that point takes a lot of courage, hard-work, consistency and greed to prove yourself. If you aspire to be one amongst these famous personalities do not be afraid of failures and struggles because these are the only stepping stones that would make you stand out of the crowd.