Bhavani Bashir Yasir, a renowned Bollywood actor and veteran theatre artist, is the first Kashmir Muslim to graduate from the prestigious National School of Drama in Delhi, India, in 1987. Yasir was born in 1954 in the Doru-Shahbad area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district and has starred in almost ten Bollywood films, including Haider, Kesari, and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. He has also pioneered the revival of theatre arts in Jammu and Kashmir, receiving numerous awards for his contribution to cinema and performing arts.
Yasir’s passion for acting began at a young age, and he believes he was born with the talent for it. “Since childhood, I have been drawn towards art,” says Yasir. “I don’t know where this zeal came from, but I used to do painting, poetry, and singing ever since I was a child.” Yasir’s love for art and culture led him to establish an art and literary forum called Maraz Art and Culture Centre, Shahabad, in 1971, which later became an independent parallel to the Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages in Kashmir.
Yasir’s dedication to promoting the arts in his region earned him the opportunity to attend the National School of Drama in Delhi. After witnessing Yasir’s talent in direction, stage design, and performing arts, one of his patrons at the Cultural Academy suggested that he go to the National School of Drama in Delhi to pursue a formal degree in the field. Yasir applied in 1983 but was unsuccessful due to applying late. The following year, he was accepted and chose Design and Direction as his specialization. Throughout his college years, Irfan Khan, both his friend and classmate, acted in numerous plays that Yasir directed. On graduation day, when the college was celebrating its silver jubilee, Irfan played a lead role in a play directed by Yasir, which won him a distinction award in design and stagecraft. Naseeruddin Shah complimented Yasir’s directing skills at the event.
Yasir’s contributions to the film industry have earned him international acclaim, notably for his significant role in the short film “The Warmest Place on Earth,” aimed at promoting Jammu and Kashmir tourism. The film earned over 20 million views in just one week worldwide, showcasing Yasir’s talent on the global stage.
“I am thrilled to have represented my region and country on such a grand platform,” Yasir says of the film’s success. “It is an honor to have brought recognition to the beauty of Jammu and Kashmir and to be recognized for my contribution to cinema and performing arts.”
Yasir hopes to inspire others to pursue their passion for the arts and culture and believes that it is essential to reclaiming the lost glory of his area through literary activities. “Our region is known for producing great men of learning, and we must keep this legacy alive by promoting art and culture,” Yasir says.
Yasir’s journey from a child with a passion for the arts to a renowned Bollywood actor and veteran theatre artist is an inspiration to many. He continues to contribute to the industry, promoting Jammu and Kashmir’s beauty through his work while inspiring others to pursue their passion for the arts.