Raghubir Yadav

Profession: Actor , Singer, Supporting Actor
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Personal Details

  • Also Know as :- Raghubir Yadav
  • Profession:- Actor , Singer, Supporting Actor
  • Gender :- male
  • Birthdate:- 25 Jun 1957
  • Status:- Married
  • Debut Year:- 1985
  • Active Years:- Till Today

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Raghubir Yadav
Indian Film History

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Raghubir Yadav – A competent actor still waiting for a role that could immortalize him

A product of local nautanki and later polished at Parsi Theatre Company and NSD (National School of Drama), Raghubir Yadav is a competent actor of Indian cinema. In his debut film Massey Sahib (1985) he proved that he is a first rate actor by winning two International awards. But alas unlike Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah, he did not get roles that could exploit his capabilities as an actor! Though he has done films like Salaam Bombay, Lagaan, Bandit Queen, Dharavi, Peepli Live, Gandhi to Hitler etc. and left a mark in Indian cinema but at heart he is still waiting for a role that could really immortalize him.

Raghubir Yadav never wanted to a film actor but a singer!

As a child Raghubir Yadav was passionate about singing but being a son of a farmer he had to spend most time doing labor at field.


When he was about 8 years he came into contact with local village theatre (Nautanki) and was attracted by its music and dance.

When he turned 10 years he joined Parsi Theatre Company and dedicated his life to theatre.


When he was just 15 years old he left his house and began wandering from villages to towns and cities performing plays with Parsi Theatre Company. He claims he was not interested in joining films as he was passionate about singing but for survival he took up acting.


Raghubir Yadav joined NSD in 1974


Ragubir got much experience on stage at Parsi Theatre Company where he served for over 7 years beginning in 1967, when he was just 10 years!!


When his company did plays in Delhi, Raghubir Yadav came to know about NSD (National School of Drama) and decided to sharpen his acting. He joined NSD in 1974 and became a hot favorite of NSD teacher Ibrahim Alkazi, regarded as one of the most revered Indian theatre directors and drama teachers in 20th-century Indian theatre.


When Yadav was in his third year at NSD, Ibrahim Alkazi, selected him and other nine students to learn the art of filmmaking and other techniques of cinema at FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) at Pune. It was a special trip of only a handful of students who had excelled exceptionally at NSD and had a bright future in Indian cinema.


Yadav informed that after the visit at FTII, most of his colleagues left to Mumbai to try luck in Bollywood but he returned back to Delhi, as film was not his first choice. He was a theater enthusiast.


When he returned to Delhi, Ibrahim Alkazi, was delighted and appointed him as a teacher at NSD. Yadav worked as a teacher at NSD for 10 years until he got a sound career in films.


Raghubir Yadav and his troubled relation with first wife


Raghubir Yadav claims that he married Poornima, his first wife, not out of love but pity. He says he married her because she conned him by narrating a sob story and won his sympathy when she did a drama of committing suicide.


Raghubir Yadav got trapped in her web of evil design and married her in 1988. After the duo had a son, she displayed her real color and began spending nights with other men.


Constant quarrels led to Raghubir abandoning her and moving out of the house and divorced her in 1996 but she demanded alimony and filed a case against Yadav.


A troubled Yadav was above to commit suicide when he was rescued by TV actress Roshni Achreja (famous for her TV serial Baat Ban Jayegi) and a close friend.


Today Raghubir is living a happy life with Roshni.  

Raghubir Yadav won 2 International Award in his debut film


While Raghubir Yadav was engaged both teaching and doing theatre at NSD, his colleague, wife of film director Pradip Krishen, who was making a film Massey Sahib(1985), recommended his name for the film.

The role was originally assigned for Siddharth Basu, the famous TV quiz Master who is famous for hosting shows like Quiz Time, Mastermind India and University Challenge, and as producer-director of shows like Kaun Banega Crorepathi.


Siddharth Basu was a theater enthusiast in early 70’s and a founding member of Theatre Action Group (TAG), a theatre group in Delhi, which was run by Theatre Guru Barry John. But when Siddharth Basu got a lucrative job at Taj Group of Hotel he quit and the doors for Raghubir Yadav opened.


Initially Yadav was reluctant to do the film but when he heard the role he was overwhelmed by the superlative character of Francis Massey, who is a clerk in the Deputy Commissioner's office in the colonial administration of British India. In addition, even, Barry John encouraged him to do the film.


The film was produced by NFDC and was brilliantly directed by Pradip Krishen. Theatre guru, Barry John also played the role of Deputy Commissioner Charles Adam. The movie was a huge hit and won rave reviews from national and international film critics for Raghubir Yadav’s captivating performance.


In his very first film he won two International awards - Silver Peacock for Best Actor at International Film Festival of India and FIPRESCI Critic's Prize for Best Actor at Venice Film Festival, 1986.


Though Raghubir got two acclaimed international award he had a pinch in his heart because he was ignored the National award.


International filmmaker Mira Nair was overwhelmed by Raghubir Yadav


Though after Massey Sahib, Raghubir Yadav won international awards and the satisfaction as an actor but he did not get any commercial relief as for three years he was without work and survived doing theatre.


He was yet again discovered by International film maker Mira Nair, who was making Salaam Mumbai, a Hindi film, depicting the realities of street urchin of Mumbai and dark lives of young prostitutes. Yadav played the memorable role of Chillum, a drug addict to perfection.


The film was both commercially and critically hit. It won National Award for Best film and many international awards including Audience Award, Cannes Film Festival.


The film opened doors for Raghubir Yadav and he did many films with top filmmakers of Indian Cinema like Shyam Benegal’s Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda, Shekhar Kapoor’s Bandit Queen, Vidhu Vinod Chopra 1942: A Love StorySanjay Leela Bhansali’s Khamoshi: The Musical, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6, Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se, Aamir Khan’s Lagaan, Deepa Mehta’s Water, Ketan Mehta’s Maya Memsaab, Sudhir Mishra’s Dharavi, Sai Paranjpye’s Disha, Kalpana Lajmi’s Rudaali, Rakesh Ranjan Kumar’s  Gandhi To Hitler etc


More than films Raghubir Yadav won fame on TV 


It’s true that more than film, Raghubir Yadav got more name and fame from TV because his first TV serial Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne (1990), in which he played  the lead character 'Mungerilal' became a national craze.


The role became so popular that even today; a majority of people recognize Raghubir Yadav, not by his real name but he is even today identified as ‘Mungerilal’. The character of a Mungerilal – a dreamer, made Raghubir Yadav a household name in the early 90’s.


Later he did few more memorable roles like Mulla Nasiruddin and Chacha Chaudhary. In fact as Chacha Chaudhary he looked so real that he appeared in many TV commercial as Chacha Chaudhary.






IFFI, Silver Peacock Award as Best Actor: Massey Sahib at the International Film Festival of India Award (1987).


FIPRESCI Critic's Award, Venice for Best Actor: Massey Sahib (1986)






With Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live Raghubir Yadav got a new lease of life

Despite being talented, Raghubir Yadav, was reduced to doing insignificant films. Alas he did not get roles like Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah. Hence he rejected many films and did theatre for job satisfaction and survival.


Meanwhile he kept himself busy doing cinema but he did films with only quality filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair, Sai Paranjape etc. He claimed he got creative satisfaction working in their films.


After Massey Sahib and Salaam Bombay, the other great role that came his way was Aamir Khan’s film Peepli Live, in which he played the role of farmer Budhia Das Manikpuri suffering financial crises and how the media tries to mint money from their suffering.


Raghubir says that it was filmmaker Anusha Rizvi's idea to cast him but before casting he had to undergo a trail where he was shot few scenes in the costume and make-up of a farmer. Aamir Khan was bowled over by his trail shots and signed him immediately.


The success of the film brought Raghubir Yadav into limelight yet again. The movie also gave wings to his dream of becoming a singer as the films song Mehngai Dayain…. became national craze and gave more opportunity for Yadav  to sing more songs like Aaja Aaja… in  Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? (2010); Aaj Main Ho Gayi Jawaan… in Mod (2011);  Don’t Take Tension…in Ata Pata Laapata (2012); Ur Fur Kar…. in Yeh Khula Aasmaan (2012), Dhadak Dhad .. in Delhi Safari (2012) etc.

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