President Ram Nath Kovind named former BJP MP and actor Paresh Rawal as the chairperson of the National School of Drama.
Union culture minister Prahlad Singh Patel, under whose ambit the NSD falls, confirmed the news. Congratulating the actor on his new position, the minister said that artists and students will benefit from his talent.
A tourism ministry official who did not wish to be named said that three or four candidates had been shortlisted by the ministry for the post. “The President takes the final call,” said the official. “Rawal will be the chairperson for the next four years.”
The post of the NSD chairperson has been vacant since 2017, with vice-chairperson Dr Arjun Deo, a noted Rajasthani poet, critic, playwright, theatre director and translator, acting as chair.
Rawal has been in the film industry for more than three decades and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1994. In 2014, he was conferred with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, for his contribution to the entertainment industry. Rawal is famous for his roles in Hera Pheri and Andaaz Apna Apna.
Rawal had won from Ahmedabad East in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by over 3.25 lakh votes.
The post of chairperson of the government’s apex art and theatre school has been occupied by several prominent people in the past, including former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and social reformer Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay.
NSD’s prominent alumni include actors such as Naseeruddin Shah, Nawazzudin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan and Om Puri.