You are here
Home > Featured > Power couples whose bond with theatre has only grown stronger with time

Power couples whose bond with theatre has only grown stronger with time

Power couples whose bond with theatre

On Valentine’s Day, meet celebrated pairs whose love affair with the stage is everlasting

The season of love reminds us to cherish what is closest to us and in the entertainment industry, there are many gifted couples who have a lasting relationship not only with each other but with their craft. They have forged a close connection with theatre to keep the actor within alive and remain committed to pushing new boundaries with their performances and projects on stage.

On Valentine’s Day, we discuss a few power couples who continue to lend their gravitas, talent, and histrionics to theatre.

Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah

Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak’s shared love for theatre can be traced back to the former’s National School of Drama antecedents and to Ratna’s early exposure to the stage courtesy of her mother Dina Pathak, a Gujarati theatre and film legend. Their first meeting was also during the rehearsals of Satyadev Dubey’s play ‘Sambhog se Sanyas Tak’ in 1975. Even though their cinematic achievements are many, their large body of theatrical work speaks for itself. In their theatre group ‘Motley,’ they have traversed everything from Greek theatre (Antigone), to Jerome Kilty’s ‘Dear Liar’, stories by Manto and Ismat Chughtai, and a lot more. As a director too, Naseer is prolific on stage with projects like ‘Einstein’, ‘Manto…Ismat Haazir Hain’ and countless others. In 2023, they worked together on an adaptation of Aleksei Arbuzov’s ‘Old World’. Theirs is a love story that is like a long-running play, just goes on and on.

Manoj Pahwa and Seema Pahwa

Manoj and Seema Pahwa met in the early eighties in Delhi’s theatre circles and while working on a play ‘Aadhe Adhure’, love blossomed. They went on to work together in India’s first soap opera ‘Hum Log’ (1984), got married, and built a life and successful careers on the big and small screen. When Seema directed her debut feature ‘Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi’ (2021), Manoj starred in it. What remained constant through this journey was their love for theatre. In 2014, Seema received great acclaim for an experiential theatre performance of Bhisham Sahni’s story ‘Saag Meat’ and encouraged by Naseeruddin Shah, also performed with the theatre group ‘Motley.’ Manoj also collaborated with Motley and when Seema directed Zee Theatre’s literary anthology, ‘Koi Baat Chale’, he read Saadat Hasan Manto’s wrenching story, ‘Toba Tek Singh’ with great poignance. Despite critical and popular acclaim in cinema, television, and OTT platforms, their passion for stage shows no signs of fading.

Zeeshan Ayub and Rasika Agashe

Zeeshan and Rasika’s love story began in the National School of Drama. Married now for nearly 17 years, the couple recently seen together in Hansal Mehta’s OTT show ‘Scoop,’ has retained their passion for theatre. Zeeshan was seen in a play called ‘Ghanchakkar,’ an adaptation of Gulzar’s film, ‘Angoor’ and is also a part of Zee Theatre’s teleplay ‘Janpath Kiss.’ Rasika has directed teleplays like ‘Aye Ladki’ which she adapted from Krishna Sobti’s novel. She also adapted Joseph Kesselring’s ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ into the teleplay ‘Sahebji Darling.’ The two have starred in their own production ‘Iss Kambakht Sathe Ka Kya Karen?’ and their theatre group ‘Being Association’ is working to encourage upcoming playwrights. Their initiative ‘Sanhita Manch’ is now an annual event and undertakes a nationwide search for new Indian plays. ‘Sanhita Manch’ aims to now go global and is looking for playwrights worldwide.

Varun Badola and Rajeshwari Sachdev

Love was a foregone conclusion when Varun Badola and Rajeshwari Sachdev met on the sets of the popular music show ‘Antakshari’. Following in his father Vishwa Mohan Badola’s footsteps, who had over 400 plays for AIR to his credit, Varun has retained his connection with theatre despite his thriving television career that began in 1994 with the TV show ‘Banegi Apni Baat.’ He continues to work in plays like Zee Theatre’s ‘Wrong Turn.’ He has also starred opposite Rajeshwari in ‘Shabdh Leela’, the KK Raina directorial which amalgamates extracts from novelist, poet, and playwright Dr. Dharamvir Bharti’s works and letters to his wife. As for Rajeshwari, her father Indrajeet Sachdev too was a noted actor and she started her career with plays produced by The Indian People’s Theatre Association(IPTA). The versatile actor who won a National Award for her supporting role in ‘Sardari Begum’ and boasts a breakout performance in Hollywood’s epic ‘Little Buddha’ continues to gather many accolades for her titular role in the stage production ‘Gauhar Jaan’. She was also praised for her work in Zee Theatre’s teleplay ‘Double Game.’

Anup Soni and Juhi Babbar Soni

Anup Soni and Juhi Babbar Soni exemplify the ‘like attracts like’ adage as both come from strong theatre backgrounds. Anup is an alumnus of the National School of Drama and so are Juhi’s illustrious parents Raj Babbar and Nadira Zahir Babbar. Anup is known for TV hits like ‘Balika Vadhu’ and ‘Crime Patrol’ while Juhi is an accomplished theatre exponent. In fact, the two fell in love while working on a play directed by Nadira. Juhi is known for her powerful portrayals in plays like ‘With Love, Aap ki Saiyaara’, ‘Begum Jaan’ and many more, and together the two have continued to nurture their love for theatre alongside their other diverse projects. In 2023, Juhi got a standing ovation from the audience on the 50th show of her play ‘With Love Aap Ki Saiyaara’ at Prithvi Theatre while Anup was seen in Atul Satya Kaushik’s comedy-drama ‘My Wife’s 8th Vachan’.