For aeons, Indian Cinema has become a haven to the most celebrated personalities who, by their phenomenal talents, have thoroughly entertained everyone by featuring in an array of movies. There are some notable personalities in the Indian film industry whose birthdays are celebrated with great pride and fervour across the nation in the month of May.
Here’s a list of our favourite MayKers of Indian Cinema:
Birthday: 1 May 1913
A true believer of Neo Realistic Cinema, Balraj Sahni started his film career with Insaaf. The major milestones in his career were the most loved movies of the ‘90s; Do Bigha Zameen, Chhoti Bahen, Kabuliwala and Garam Hawa. Being a blessed writer, he started with English Literature, later switched to Punjabi. His autobiography “Meri Filmi Aatmakatha” is a reflection of his reading erudite and political consciousness. His last ever recording for his film, Garam Hawa became renowned soon after his death, which stated "Insaan Kab Tak Akela Jee Sakta Hai?" which in English translates to "How long can a man live alone?"
Birthday: 1st May 1919
The Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, and Dadasaheb Phalke Awardee, Manna Dey, had been the soul of the Indian Music Industry since the beginning. He was one of the most renowned Indian playback artists, composers, music directors, and Indian classical vocalists. Manna Dey was known for his versatility, singing in all of India's major regional languages, though his main emphasis was in Bengali and Hindi. His career took off when he released 95 Hindi songs in one year. One of his songs that still hits the chords is the famous song of patriotic fervour, "Aye Mere Pyare Watan". His work in the Hindi film industry was highly recognised after he recorded 758 Hindi songs within a span of 16 years.
Birthday: 1st May 1971
Thala Ajith is one of the most well-known names in Kollywood, having appeared in over 50 films to date. His notable films; Varalaru, Mankatha, and Vaali, became the top-grossing films of Tamil Cinema. Over the last 30 years, he has won three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards, four Vijay Awards, three Cinema Express Awards, and three Filmfare Awards South. Other than films, he showed interests in car racing, photography, and also book reading. Thala Ajith founded the ‘Mohini-Mani Foundation’, a non-profit organisation to raise concerns about self-hygiene and public consciousness, as well as to help alleviate the effects of urban sprawl. One of his famous sayings is, “Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world, no matter what you look like“.
Birthday: 2nd May 1921
A legend among cine-lovers, Ray is known for his extraordinary vision and surreal expertise in film direction, screenplay writing, magazine editing, designing, calligraphy, and music composition. His first film, "Pather Panchali," received eleven international awards, including one from the Cannes Film Festival. Also, Satyajit Ray was the second Indian filmmaker to be honoured at the Oscars. The Government of India bestowed upon him the highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. Throughout his career, he earned several notable awards. He was also a fan of western classics and the game of chess. The cultural icon of the Indian community still lives in the memory of all his followers across the world who believe in the classic saying, “Heroes are remembered, but legends never die”.
Birthday: 19th May 1974
A self-made man who proved himself to be the ‘chosen’ one, sheerly based on his talent and dedication. Coming from a small town of Uttar Pradesh, he started his film career by taking up small roles in movies to now being the only actor in the world whose eight films were officially selected and screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Peepli Live was the first movie that gave him the recognition of being an actor. After that, he was blessed with some amazing films such as Talaash, Gangs of Wasseypur, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and many more. The renowned author “Paulo Coelho” appreciated his work in the Netflix originals “Sacred Games” which gave him the light he deserved. Apart from acting he also spares time to enjoy farming at his native place and aspires to educate farmers about new tools and techniques of farming. He is a true example of “Poverty is not a hindrance to success”.
Birthday: 21th May 1930
Mohanlal, also known as Lalettan, is a renowned actor, playback singer, and philanthropist in the Southern part of India. Over the course of his four-decade-long career, he has done 340 films. Due to censorship issues, his debut film "Thiranottam" was released after 25 years of filming. He produced and starred in the film "Bharatam," a retelling of the Ramayana from Bharat's point of view, which won the National Film Award and was named one of Forbes India's top 25 acting performances. He has been a goodwill ambassador for many non-profit organisations for over a decade. Lalettan is the receiver of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his sincere contribution to the Indian Cinema.
Birthday: 22nd May 1960
A renowned 60-year-old actor and director, Rajit Kapur was first recognised for his work in the Bengali TV series, which was based on a fictitious detective called Byomkesh Bakshi. He has also appeared in films such as Kick, Uri - The Surgical Strike, and Raazi. He also appeared in well-known plays such as Flowers, Love Letters, and Class of '84. His most popular works, though, were the plays ‘A Walk in the Woods’ and ‘Pune Highway’. One of the plays written and directed by him is “Mahua”. His portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in the film "The Making of the Mahatma" won him numerous awards, including the National Film Award for Best Actor.
N.T. Rama Rao
Birthday: 28th May 1923
The legend of Telugu Cinema popularly known as NTR was an Indian actor, director, producer, film editor and politician who founded the “Telugu Desam Party” and served as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He is best known for his incredible performances as Lord Krishna and Lord Ram in the mythology genre. His loyalty to his career was genuinely admirable, as he was always receptive to discovering new things and gave his all in the process. He also garnered Rashtrapati Awards for his films “Raju Peda” and “Lava Kusa”. The NTR National Award is a national award named after him. It was founded by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to honour prominent film personalities for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the Indian film industry.
Birthday: 29th May 1954
Pankaj Kapur is one of the most acclaimed household names, having played several legendary roles in the theatre, television, and film industries during his career. The three-time National Award winner has performed in over 75 theatre plays and serials. He is best known for his unconventional acting in films such as Maqbool, Gandhi, and Raakh. The comedy television serial “Office Office” which was based on corruption, gave him all the laurels he deserved. One of the most challenging characters to portray in his career was the television serial “Neem ka Ped”, as it never had a set method to enact upon. According to him, Acting is not just about fame and money, an actor should be believable and communicable.
Birthday: 30th May 1955
Paresh Rawal, known as the "King of Versatility," has set a new standard for emerging actors in the industry as a phenomenal actor serving all genres.. He is best known for his appearances in Hera Pheri, Oh My God, Bhool Bhulaiya, Andaz Apna Apna, Sanju, Golmaal, Hungama, and several other films. He acted as a stock villain in over a hundred films during the 1980s and 1990s before making a name for himself in Andaz Apna Apna. He also serves as the acting chairperson of the National School of Drama. He has represented in the Indian Parliament's Lok Sabha as a member of the Ahmedabad East Constituency. For his devoted service to the film industry, Paresh Rawal was honoured with “Padma Shri” by the former President of India Pranab Mukherjee.
Each of these legends has a unique story to tell, but what really matters is the influence and effect they had on the film industry. Griffin Pictures, a company of creative, corporate filmmakers in Mumbai that excels in short film production as well, celebrates the success and glory of these Mega Stars.