Raghubir Yadav

From Chacha Chaudhary To Panchayat, And 8 Oscar Entries In Between, The Extraordinary Story Of Raghubir Yadav

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Actors need to be chameleons. That is their job. But to essay radically opposite characters and yet come across as endearing and honest as a person is something very few can manage. One such person who possesses such torrent is Raghubir Yadav. Raghubir has played in Ram Gopal Verma’s ‘Darna Mana Hai’, playing the role of an eccentric teacher who loses his sanity after his childhood friend who dies because of his fault, returns as a ghost. He has also played beloved children characters like Chacha Chaudhary. In other roles like in Rajkummar Rao’s Newton, his performance added crucially to the atmosphere, sealing the movie’s nomination as India’s official entry to the Oscars. 

In a career spanning over three decades, Yadav has been a part of six films that were sent for the Oscars, including Deepa Mehta’s Indo-Canadian film Water, Kalpana Lajmi- directed Rudaali, Shekar Kapur’s Bandit Queen and Newton. Two of his films, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay and Aamir Khan-starrer Lagaan, made it to the final Oscars nominations. Which means, 8 of his films starring him have found their way to the Oscars! 

However, fans and movie lovers would be surprised to know that this man once worked in a Parsi Theatre Company from 1967–1973, getting paid only Rs 2.50 per day and there were days when it was only 50 paisa! Shocking indeed to know this fact but then in an interview, when Raghubir explained how he continued his love for theater despite not being able to earn his daily meals, it is no wonder that he is such a talented actor. Artists like him have truly not only lived as a nomad but have also understood art, culture, music, and the business of the industry as well. Later, he shifted to Rangoli Puppet Theatre, Lucknow performing with them from 1973–1974 and working with glove puppets. 

Thankfully, after 6 years of paying his dues, his love for theater landed him in the National School of Drama, Delhi from 1977–1986. At NSD, he didn’t just act in 40 plays across 2000 shows, he also occasionally managed music, sets, costumes, and masks. Debuting in 1985 with the period film, Massey Sahib, he went on to win recognition for his role as Chillum from Salaam Bombay. And of course, he ruled the hearts of children and was the sultan of evening slots with his performance as Chacha Chaudhary. 

One of the more commendable things about Raghubir is the way he makes his presence felt, regardless of the size of the role. His work spans 70 plays and about 2500 shows which have truly given him the auteur’s experience- from traveling in caravans, living in tents and performing on makeshift stages in villages, towns, and cities of India.  In 2006, Avikal Theatre company and Nanhi Duniya Rangashala presented ‘ Piano’ , a play in Hindi adapted, directed and designed by him. 

For all fans of the auteur and the epitome of talent Raghubir Yadav, we at Jay-Ho! The Jay Kumar Show has a very special surprise for you all. Keep watching the Jay-Ho.com space and your patience will be rewarded soon. 

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