Paresh Rawal

Active - 1957 - Present  |   Born - May 30, 1950 in Mumbai, Maharashtram, India  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal remains one of the few film performers in India with an outspoken level of disdain for the craft of moviemaking -- one who has long publicly insisted that he only accepts movie roles for the fiscal gain and that his true undying love lies on the stage. A disciplined thespian known for the impressive versatility with which he can slip into roles, and the subtlety that enables him to avoid melodramatics and to naturalistically evoke characterizations onscreen, Rawal arrived in film by way of the theater. He commenced theatrical roles in 1973, when school instructors gently guided this born mischief-maker into drama as an outlet for his restless energy. Rawal moved into more serious and disciplined theater in university-level productions, and was in turn inspired to enter films by the impassioned work of Bollywood celebrity actor Naseeruddin Shah. Rawal's big career break then came at the hands of producer Karim Morani, who caught his performance in the Hindi-language play Arjun and saw, in this upstart, India's newest cinematic sensation.

Role after role followed, with Rawal amassing over 200 screen assignments, in a wide spectrum of genres, by the late 2000s. Additional film projects included the 1993 Sir, the 1996 Bandish, Hera Pheri (2000), and Aitraaz (2004). In 2008, Rawal joined co-stars Sunil Shetty and Tusshar Kapoor for the lightweight crime comedy One Two Three, directed by Ashwani Dheer.

Movie Highlights

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  • Debuted in Holi (1984), playing in a supporting role.
  • Won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Sir (1993) and Woh Chokri (1994).
  • Winner of three Filmfare Awards, two of which were in the Best Comedian category.
  • Received the Padma Shri Award in 2014, India's fourth highest civilian award.
  • Elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014 as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.