Uttarakhand which has been a home to the towering peaks and an abode to nature’s munificence has equally amazing people as its vivid geography. Many creative minds have taken birth at this celestial place be it writers, mountaineers, photographers, brainstorms and even biggies from Bollywood. Yes! You heard it right many famous personalities of Bollywood belong to Uttarakhand. If you think it’s a hoax then just check out the 10 biggies of Bollywood whose roots are in Uttarakhand.
1. Himani Shivpuri: This versatile actress has done several remarkable roles in Bollywood movies and television operas. Himani Shivpuri was born and brought up in Dehradun and originally hails from Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand. Her marvellous acting in daily soap like Kasauti Zindagi Ki and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was appreciated by many. She has also done some heart-warming performances in popular 90s films like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Pardes (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Koyla (1997).
2. Urvashi Rautela: This budding actress from Bollywood belongs to a toy town called Kotdwara in Uttarakhand and has her family and relatives in the state. Urvashi is a model turned actress who has bagged several beauty pageants. She has also represented India at Miss Universe 2015 pageant and said hello to the Bollywood industry with her debut film Singh Saab the Great.
3. Prasoon Joshi: Ace lyricist, screenwriter, and ad guru Prasoon Joshi who is the current CEO of McCann World group India and Chairman (Asia Pacific), a subsidiary of global marketing firm McCann Erickson belongs to “The Land of Gods”. Prasoon Joshi spent his childhood in Almora, Rampur, and Dehradun in Uttarakhand and won several accolades such as Padma Shri in 2015, Filmfare Best Lyricist Award three times, twice consecutively in 2007 and 2008 and again in 2014 for Hindi movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. He also received the National Film Awad for Best Lyrics twice, one for his work in Taare Zameen Par (2007) and the other in Chittagong (2013).
4. Deepak Dobriyal: Our favourite ‘Pappiji’ the comic character that you adore from the movie ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ has his roots in Uttarakhand. Although, Deepak Dobriyal has lived in Delhi for many years but his love for Uttarakhand has never faded with time. Deepak belongs to a serene village called Satpuli in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. Apart from Tanu Weds Manu he has acted in many of the famous movies such as Dabangg 2, Gulaal, Omkara, 13 B, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Mumbai Cutting and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.
5. Neha Kakkar: Known for her cute dimpled smile and her mellow voice Neha Kakkar was born in the holy city of Rishikesh and lived there before she moved to Delhi. She is a playback singer who was discovered in Indian Idol’s Season 2 in 2006. Her popular songs include Sunny Sunny, Manali Trance and Aao Raja with singer Honey Singh, Dhating Naach, London Thumaka and Hanju with singer Meiyang Chang.
6. Archana Puran Singh: ‘The Laughter Queen’ Archana Puran Singh has been born to a Punjabi family in Uttarakhand and left for Mumbai when she was just 18 years old. The actress is famously known for her comic roles in Bollywood films and for judging Sony TV’s popular reality show called Comedy Circus. Archana is best known for playing the role of Miss Briganza in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Preeto in Mohabbatein.
7. Tom Alter: The charismatic Thomas Beach Alter who is popular as Tom Alter is a Bollywood actor of American descent who hails from the “Queen of Hills” Mussoorie. This gem of Uttarakhand is a theatre artist and a television actor who is known for his work in Bollywood. This great actor was honoured with Padma Shri in 2008. One of the interesting thing about Tom Alter’s fluent Hindi is that he studied Hindi language as a child and was occasionally referred to as the “Blue-eyed sahib with impeccable Hindi” by the locals.
8. Raghav Juyal: Dancer, choreographer, and actor Raghav Juyal also known as Crockroaxz is a native of Dehradun. Raghav rose to fame by his dance debut in Zee TV’s dance reality show Dance India Dance (Season 3). He is popular as the King of Slow Motion for his eye-rolling dance moves and his flawless reinvention of the Slow Motion Walk. His stage name Crockroaxz describes his dancing style which according to him is a mixture of being powerful like a crocodile and creepy like a cockroach. Raghav has become the youth icon inspiring dancers who gracefully imitate his signature steps and his innovative dance style also known as Crock-style. He was recently seen in ABCD 2 along with Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor.
9. Nirmal Pandey: This late actor starred in Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen, Train to Pakistan and Godmother. Nirmal Pandey was born in Nainital and educated in Almora and Nainital. He received the best actor Valenti award in France for portraying a transvestite in the movie Daayra in 1966. Vikram is remembered for his outstanding acting in Bandit Queen (1994), Train to Pakistan (1998) and Godmother (1996). It’s sad that Nirmal Pandey who was an internationally acclaimed actor did not receive much praise and honour for his work in his own country.
10. Hemant Pandey: Hemant Pandey is a theatre and television actor known for his role as Pandeyji in the popular TV series Office Office. Hemant is a native of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand and has worked in many renowned Bollywood films such as Bandit Queen, Krrish, Milenge Milenge and many more.
Jagat Singh Rawat: An alumnus of Bhartendu Natya Academy Lucknow, Jagat Singh Rawat hails from Chamoli in Uttarakhand. He acted in movies like No One Killed Jessica, Maanjhi etc. He also acted in TV commercial like Janoge To Maanoge – Birla Sun Life and has worked as a paid actor (on role) of NSD Repertoire.
Sonu Nigam: Born from a Garhwali mother, Sonu Nigam is one of the most popular singers of Bollywood that needs no introduction.
Anushka Sharma: She made her debut in 2008 with Aditya Chopra’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Her father is a native of Uttar Pradesh while her mother is a Garhwali.
Udita Goswani: She spent her childhood in Dehradun Uttarakhand where she studied at Cambrian Hall and D.A.V. Public schools until class 8. She is a well-known model and actress of Bollywood.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui: This great actor got popularity from the epic drama film “Gangs of Wasseypur”. He is always praised for his natural acting. Not many people known that Nawazuddin has graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar. His three brothers and sisters live in Uttarakhand where Nawazuddin spent most of his childhood days in.
Pawandeep Rajan: Winner of “The Voice India” singing contest, Pawandeep Rajan is a Native of Champawat Uttarakhand. His father is also a singer in local Kumaoni language. Pawadeep also sang a local Pahari song during his performance on “The Voice India” show.
Lalit Mohan Tiwari: Known for his role as Sanjaya in B.R. Chopra’s epic television series Mahabharat (1988-1990) and Shyam Benegal’s historical television series Bharat Ek Khoj (Discovery of India 1988) Lalit Mohan Tiwari hails from Nainital. This alumnus of National School of Drama also had the opportunity of working with famous Bollywood directors like Yash Chopra in Chandni Lamhe and Aditya Chopra’s debut film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.