Educational qualification is the primary requirement of any profession. In fact, in government jobs in India, graduation has become the minimum qualification for acquiring even a post of a peon! However, Bollywood is perhaps one of the few professions across the world that requires partially no educational qualification. More than the degrees, Bollywood appreciates your passion for acting and have the ability to perform. That’s the reason, Bollywood has many top stars like Meena Kumari, Katrina Kaif, Karisma Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, etc who have not even completed class Xth. Top stars like Lata Mangeshkar, Music director Naushad, filmmaker Mehboob Khan (Who made Mother India), etc did not even attend a school. Yet there many exceptions, many Bollywood celebs are highly educated. Some are double graduate, doctors, engineers, MBA, etc. This week Indian Film History (IFH) enlightens readers about – Most Qualified Bollywood celebrities.
Remember the hit song Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen… in the film Waqt (1965). The actor who sings this romantic song on the screen is Balraj Sahni, who is regarded as one of the best actors of Indian cinema. His famous film includes Do Bigha Zamin (1953), Seema (1955), Garam Hawa (1974), etc. Besides being a competent actor, Balraj Sahni was Indian cinemas most qualified literate. He did an MA in English and a BA from Hindi. He started his career as an English Professor at Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan. Here he came close to Mahatma Gandhi as he lived at Bapu’s Sewagram Ashram in Wardha. On Bapu’s request, he even went to London and did the job of an RJ in the Hindi wing of BBC Radio Service. Gandhiji wanted him to popularize Indian freedom Movement through Radio to the International arena. He worked for 13 years at BBC and later came to India and joined Bollywood.
After Balraj Sahni, the Golden Era actors who were highly educated included Devika Rani, the beautiful actress, and owner of Bombay Talkies. Born in a rich Zamindar family, she did her schooling in England in mid-20’s and after completion of her formal education she joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and the Royal Academy of Music in London and learned the nuances of acting and music before coming to Mumbai and starring Bollywood’s First commercial Film Company Bombay Talkies that introduced many top film stars to Indian cinema like Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Madhubala etc.
Kamini Kaushal, the number actress of the ’40s and ’50s was one of the first well-educated heroines (BA in English) in Hindi cinema. She made her debut with Chetan Anand‘s Neecha Nagar (1946), one of the earliest art films to be made in India. Later she becomes a top star and did many hit film with top stars like Dilip Kumar Shaheed (1948), Raj Kapoor Aag (1948), Dev Anand Ziddi (1948), etc.
Known as Evergreen Star of Bollywood Dev Anand was born in an affluent family. His father was a flourishing advocate hence Dev Anand did his schooling from a Convent school called Sacred Heart School, Dalhousie, (then in Punjab) and acquired a BA degree in English Literature from the Government College, Lahore in British India. However, his passion for acting drew him to Mumbai where his elder brother Chetan Anand was already a famous film director.
Among the other Bollywood actor of Golden Era who did graduation include Sunil Dutt (Jai Hind College Mumbai), Manoj Kumar (Hindu College, University of Delhi), Vinod Khanna (Sydenham College, Mumbai), Kabir Bedi (St. Stephen’s College, Delhi), etc.