20 Famous People from Uttar Pradesh Who Made it Big!

As the most populous state in India, Uttar Pradesh has no dearth of human resource. As many as eight prime ministers of India have come from Uttar Pradesh, and it would not be wrong to say that the political mood in UP has a huge influence in setting the tone for politics in the rest of the country. Moreover, as one of the largest states in the Hindi speaking belt, it’s also not surprising that many from UP make it to Bollywood, the Hindi film industry. While there are many, many famous people from UP who are recognized not just nationally but also abroad, we have boiled it down to 20 famous people from Uttar Pradesh across a variety of fields.

Also read: 18 Famous People From Maharashtra India Is Thankful For!

1. Jawaharlal Nehru

Born in Allahabad in North Western Provinces in British India (now called Prayagraj in present day Uttar Pradesh) into a Kashmiri Pandit family, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of independent India. He was one of the forerunners in the Indian independence movement. As a prime minister, he served for a total of 17 years until his death in 1964. While in office, he put emphasis on promoting science and technology, parliamentary democracy and secularism – things that truly shaped the India of today. His birthday on 14th November is celebrated as Children’s day every year. He received the Bharat Ratna in 1955.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

2. Lal Bahadur Shastri

Born in Mughal Sarai in United Provinces of Agra and Oudh in British India (Present day Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar in Uttar Pradesh), Lal Bahadur Shastri was the Second prime minister of India. As PM, he greatly promoted the White Revolution that backed the Amul milk co-operative and pushed for higher production of milk and milk products. He also promoted the Green Revolution in India, which led to higher food grain production in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. His slogan during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” is one of the most popular in recent history, and in many ways has shaped the ideas the country values. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

3. Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Born & brought up in Gwalior, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the 10th & first non-congress Prime Minister to serve a full five-year term in the history of independent India. His birthday, 25th December, was declared “Good Governance Day” in his honour. Vajpayee was conferred with Bharat Ratna in a special gesture by then President of India in his residence on 27 March 2015. He was referred to as the Bhishma Pitamah of Indian Politics by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1992 & the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1994. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

4. Amitabh Bachchan

Born in Allahabad, Amitabh Bachchan is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema. He was popularly known as the “angry young man” for his on-screen roles in Bollywood. French director François Truffaut called him a “one-man industry” due to his popularity in the 1970s & 1980s. Bachchan has also worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001, the Padma Vibhushan in 2015. Additionally, he was also honoured with the Knight of the Legion of Honour in 2007 by the French government.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

5. Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Born in Budhana in Muzaffarnagar, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is an Indian actor. He is best known for his realistic portrayals of everyday characters, and is one of the forerunners in parallel cinema. He is best known for his work in movies like The Lunchbox (2013) and Manto (2018) and the Emmy nominated Netflix original series, Sacred Games. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. V.P. Singh 

Born in Allahabad, United Province in British India, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, better known as V.P. Singh, was the 7th Prime Minister of India, serving from 1989-1999. He was adopted by the last Raja Bahadur of Manda, Ram Gopal Singh, and thus became the 41st Raja Bahadur of Manda. Even though his prime ministerial tenure was extremely short at less than a year, it was still marred by numerous controversies, including the Bofors scandal, the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, and the implementation of the Mandal Commision report. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Lara Dutta

Born in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, Lara Dutta was brought up in Bangalore. She is a Bollywood Actress, model and beauty pageant winner who was crowned Miss Universe in 2000 and Miss Intercontinental 1997. As a contestant, she scored the highest possible marks in the history of the Miss Universe Contest. She won Filmfare Best Female Debut Award & Screen Best Female Debut Award in 2003 for her work in Andaaz.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Pandit Ravi Shankar

Born to a Bengali family in Benares, Pandit Ravi Shankar was a world-renowned musician, composer, performer, and scholar of classical Indian music. One of the best-known exponents of the Sitar in the second half of the 20th century as a composer of Hindustani classical music, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1999. 

Source: Quote Park 

9. Majrooh Sultanpuri

Born in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh as Asrar ul Hassan Khan, Majrooh Sultanpuri was one of the finest Indian Urdu poets along with being a lyricist and songwriter in Bollywood (with a career spanning six decades). He was one of the dominating musical forces in Indian Cinema in the 1950s and early 1960s, receiving the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement in 1993 – making him the first lyricist to win the award. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

10. Anuraag Kashyap

Born and raised in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, Anurag Kashyap is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter who has received acclaim for his realistic films. Often regarded as the face of an emerging new wave cinema, Kashyap is especially known for his second directorial venture Black Friday (2004), a controversial award-winning Hindi film about the 1993 Mumbai blasts. He was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) by the Govt. of France in 2013. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

11. Mohammad Shahid

Born in Varanasi, Mohammad Shahid is a former Indian hockey player, and was a member of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics, silver at the 1982 Asian Games and bronze at the 1986 Asian Games. He is considered to be one of India’s best players, and even captained the Indian team during 1985-86. He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1980 & the Padma Shri in 1986. 

Source: Indiatimes

12. Anup Jalota

Born in Nainital, Uttarakhand and educated in Lucknow, Anup Jalota is an Indian singer and musician, best known for his performances in the Hindu devotional music and his ghazals. Popularly known as the “Bhajan Samraat”, Jalota has earned a record number of 100 certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum discs. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2012

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

13. Dhyan Chand

Born in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh in a Rajput family, Major Dhyan Chand was a former international hockey player, a legendary figure in Indian and world hockey. He is best remembered for his extraordinary goal-scoring feats & three Olympic gold medals. He is often referred to as ‘Hockey ka Jadugar” (Magician of the game of Hockey). His birthday, 29th August is celebrated as National Sports Day. Major Dhyan Chand was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956. In 2021, the government of India renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award to honour him.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

14. Suresh Raina

Born in Muradnagar, Ghaziabad, to a family originally from Jammu & Kashmir, Suresh Raina is an Indian professional cricketer and was part of the Indian national team that won the 2011 World Cup. He Plays for Uttar Pradesh in all forms of domestic cricket and has also captained the Indian cricket team, being the second-youngest player to captain India in the ODI format. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

15. Jaspal Rana

Born in Uttarkashi, Uttar Pradesh Jaspal Rana grew up in Mussoorie, Dehradun Nainbagh and later on in Delhi. He is an Indian shooter & is a gold medallist of the 1994 Asian Games, Commonwealth Games (1998,2002, 2006) & 2006 Asian Games. He has won more than 600 Medals at national and international levels, and received the Arjuna Award in 1994. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

16. Yogendra Singh Yadav

Born in Aurangabad, Yogendra Singh Yadav was a soldier & Junior Commissioned Officer of the Indian army. He is often referred to as the hero of Tiger Hill in Kargil war. He is the youngest recipient of Param Vir Chakra, having received the honour at the age of 19 years. The Param Vir Chakra was announced for Yadav posthumously, but it was soon discovered that he was recuperating in a hospital, and his namesake had been slain instead of him. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

17. Ustad Bismillah Khan

Born in Dumraon, Bihar, Bismillah Khan’s family moved to Varanasi when he was still a child, and he grew up there. He is often referred to by the title Ustad, meaning a musical expert. He is often credited with popularising the Shehnai and bringing it to the concert stage. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1961, the Padma Bhushan in 1968, the Padma Vibhushan in 1980 & the Bharat Ratna in 2001. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

18. Raju Srivastav

Born in Kanpur, Raju Srivastav is an Indian comedian who began his career with small roles in Bollywood movies, including Maine Pyaar Kiya and Baazigar. His comedic talent came to limelight when he entered the stand up comedy talent show, Tha Great Indian Laughter Challenge, which he finished as a second runner up. Srivastav is often referred to by his stage name Gajodhar, and has since done various shows across India as well as abroad. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

19. Kailash Kher from Meerut

Born in Meerut, Kailash Kher is an Indian playback singer and composer. His songs are primarily influenced by folk and Sufi music. Kher has received two Filmfare Awards for Best Male Playback Singer. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

20. Indira Gandhi 

Born in Allahabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India (Present day Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh), Indira Gandhi was the first and only female prime minister of India. Her family ultimately became the most important political family in India, with her son Rajiv Gandhi becoming a prime minister, and her daughter-in-law becoming the president of Indian National Congress after the death of Rajiv Gandhi. She was the longest running prime minister of India after her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, and her prime ministerial tenure saw much unrest due to India’s involvement in the freedom movement of East Pakistan which led to the creation of Bangladesh. She instituted a state of emergency between 1975 to 1977 during which widespread atrocities were carried out.

Source: Wikimedia Commons 

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