How celebrity teachers changed the lives of Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Seema Pahwa and Aahana Kumra 

When they were students, they fortuitously crossed paths with the right mentor at the right time, who profoundly influenced their journeys. Read to know more!
How celebrity teachers changed the lives of Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Seema Pahwa and Aahana
How celebrity teachers changed the lives of Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Seema Pahwa and Aahana

The renowned actor Jack Lemmon once said that true greatness in performers comes out when they can effortlessly tap into their inner personas. Resonating with the idea, some of the most respected acting teachers, such as Ebrahim Alkazi, Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, and Konstantin Stanislavsky, have empowered their students to give their best and flourish. Ebrahim Alkazi, in particular, mentored notable talents like Vijaya Mehta, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, and Rohini Hattangadi, leaving a lasting legacy for his transformative work at the National School of Drama (NSD). On this Teacher's Day, we put a spotlight on the list of Bollywood teachers who mentored their students and made them some of the most influential faces in the entertainment industry. 
Makarand Deshpande for Aahana Kumra

Over nearly a decade, Makarand Deshpande and Aahana Kumra collaborated on the immensely popular teleplay Sir Sir Sarla. In this Makarand-directed play, he portrayed a beloved professor, with Aahana Kumra playing Sarla, a young woman deeply infatuated with him but guided by him towards a safer choice. Aahana's ability to inhabit this intricate character was nurtured by her mentor, Makarand. She shares a highly collaborative relationship with Makarand and has often referred to him as 'Mac sir' in interviews. She praises him as a director who encourages actors to experiment with their craft and lauds his unconventional approach. On the other front, he provides her the freedom to make mistakes on stage, allowing her to shape herself as an artist.

<strong>Makarand Deshpande</strong>
Makarand Deshpande

Hansal Mehta for Rajkumar Rao 

Rajkummar Rao is indebted to the renowned director, writer, and producer Hansal Mehta, who offered him key roles early in his career in films like Shahid, CityLights, Aligarh, and Omerta. Hansal has openly shared with the media that the producers hesitated to cast Rajkummar as the lead in Shahid, but he remained firm in his choice. In the past, he has expressed his admiration for Rao on Instagram, even writing an emotional note about him saying ‘They say that the birth of a child often changes one’s fortunes for the better. His entry into my office one hot afternoon changed my life. My son, my friend, my brother, my muse @rajkummar_rao.’ In return, Rao praised Mehta during the promotions of Omerta for pushing him beyond his comfort zone and inspiring him to reinvent himself with each role. The two are now contemplating a comedy project that promises to amaze the audience once again.

<strong>Hansal Mehta</strong>
Hansal Mehta

Shoojit Sircar for Ayushmann Khurrana 

Ayushmann, a former anchor and reality TV star seeking a break in films, was chosen by Shoojit Sircar to lead Vicky Donor, an unconventional comedy about a sperm donor that many expected to fail at the box office. However, the film established the actor as a groundbreaking talent, earning him numerous awards including best debut. Their partnership continued with Gulabo Sitabo, and Ayshmann frequently acknowledges Sircar for providing him with a chance that marked the start of his highly successful film career.

<strong>Shoojit Sircar</strong>
Shoojit Sircar

Naseeruddin Shah for Seema Pahwa

Seema Pahwa, a seasoned theatre professional, versatile actor, and director took a break in her mid-career to raise her children. Her longing to return to theatre was fulfilled when one of her idols, Naseeruddin Shah, unexpectedly contacted her to star in the drama, Motley. Naseeruddin also played the central character in Seema’s acclaimed directorial debut, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi. In the past, Seema had expressed her gratitude to him with the words, ‘Guru bin gyan kahan se paaoon,’ emphasising his significant role in her career as an actor and director. She recently made headlines with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi and directorial literary anthology Koi Baat Chale. 

<strong>Naseeruddin Shah</strong>
Naseeruddin Shah

Twitter: @ranapriyamvada


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