There was a time when taking up science was considered to be the safest bet for students, as it gave you the opportunity to become engineers or doctors (stable jobs/income) as you must have seen in 3 Idiots. As India opened up to the world, youngsters started eyeing various other professions. However, there are many who still are in awe of big degrees.
Did you know that most of our Bollywood celebrities are doctorate holders? Yes, you heard it right; they have a PhD degree!
And while you would be wondering if most of them are even educated in the first place, the fact is that they didn’t get the degree before entering Bollywood; they have been awarded those degrees by various universities around the world for excelling in their line of work.
So who are these celebrities who have a doctorate?
Beginning with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, he as has honorary doctorates conferred on him at De Montfort University, Leicester in UK, Universities of Delhi and Jhansi. However, being the humble person that he is, Big B plays it down and maintains that it was his late father Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan who is the real PhD holder in his family, having got his prestigious title from the University of Cambridge.
Earlier, Big B had turned down the doctorate degree offered by Queensland University, Australia. In recent times, there have been few hate-related crimes against Indian students in this region, which forced Mr. Bachchan to take this stand. However, few people like Bollywood producer Mukesh Bhatt felt that was a harsh decision, as such things (unscrupulous children behaving in a negative way with other people) could happen anywhere.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan, already a global figure and one of our brightest actors, has a PhD from the University of Bedfordshire. He also has got the sword of honor from his alma mater. SRK gets regular invitations from various prestigious universities around the world to speak on entertainment/business related subjects.
Akshay Kumar, who’s very popular in Canada (among the huge Punjabi community) also has a PhD degree from Assumption University in Ontario, Canada. Akshay says, “I can’t believe this. I didn’t even pass my college.’ Now that’s honesty!
Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar
Shabana Azmi & her husband Javed Akhtar, both have doctorates! Shabana has five PhDs from various universities, whereas Javed Akhtar has one from Pondicherry.
AR Rahman, Lata Mangeshkar
Music maestro AR Rahman & singing legend Lata Mangeshkar have been conferred multiple honorary titles. While Mangeshkar has six, including one from the New York University, Oscar winner Rahman has five, including one from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Though these are the more obvious names that come to the mind, if one had to guess. However, there are a few more names too!
- Shilpa Shetty got a PhD from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2007 (after she won the Celebrity Big Brother show.) After her win, Shilpa had become a household name in London (thanks to one of the contestants who passed racist remarks on her, which got Shilpa several sympathy votes) and was even being invited to meet Tony Blair at the UK Parliament.
- Sharmila Tagore and Preity Zinta also have honorary doctorates from universities in the UK for their contribution to Indian cinema. Tagore was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts by Edinburgh Napier University and Zinta received one from the University of East London.
So if you want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, and are not sure whether you should be completing your education before trying your luck, this should make it easy perhaps! And if you’re thinking that most of these Bollywood actors & actresses have not even completed school, you never know, they might have a Phd degree!