A 50-year acting career spanning from performing Shakespeare in India to Coronation Street has brought a new honour for Madhav Sharma.
The actor from Whickhambrook has become the first recipient of the Dadabhai Naoroji Award for Culture, which was presented to him by depury prime minister Nick Clegg on Friday in front of India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and the High Commissioner of India in the UK Ranjan Mathai.
Madhav says the award is in recognition of his long career in theatre, film and television and for taking his one-man show Bharat, Blighty and The Bard on tour in India for Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary this year.
It is the second award he has received since returning, having had the Global Indian Excellence Award in July.
He dedicates the award to his maths teacher and an Englishman he heard playing traditional Indian music as a schoolboy in Bangalore.
Madhav said: “When I met him afterwards, he asked what interested me and when I answered ‘Shakespeare, Sir’, he did not laugh but merely said: ‘Art knows no boundaries. Here I am, an Englishman, singing classical South Indian music in South India. Perhaps one day, you will play Shakespeare in England.’”
Madhav’s career began touring the east with a Shakespeare company run by Geffrey Kendal, father of Felicity Kendal. He came to England in 1962 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
He has lived in Suffolk for 35 years and is planning to take his one man show on tour.
“My concept is to return Shakespeare to everybody,” he said. “It’s my story about how a little boy in India was affected by Shakespeare and it changed his life.”