Bollywood is an industry that is mostly driven by the Nepotism, and spearheaded by the Bollywood mafias. It has been a burning issue in Bollywood for quite some time now.Whether it be mocking a self-made artist, or denying big and deserving projects to them, Mumbai’s film industry has witnessed it all. However, amidst the darkness of the industry, several artists have rose to the top.
While their acting chops have made them stood out, the politics of Bollywood has ensured that most of them never receive their due credits. Thus, we at TFI have compiled a list of actors who deserve all the plaudits for their success.
Om Puri, despite being a staple in most of the hit movies of the 80s, 90s and 2000, never really managed to break the shackles imposed by the supposed biggies of the industry. He remained in the background of the big stars when movies were promoted.
Arohan was his first big break and the movie that put him in the spotlight. His portrayal of an anguished farmer struggling to retrieve his land was so appealing that Government of India honoured him with the National Award for Best Actor.
Then came Ardh Satya where Puri’s philanthropic performance of fair, frustrated cop gave audience the goosebumps. Puri’s performance in the movie was a masterclass in acting. The cinema schools, to this day show this movie to the students to teach the nuances of acting.
In nutshell, Puri acted in over 300 film projects in India and abroad, and yet he did not get the kind of recognition that he surely deserved. He won two National Awards in India in the acting category (Arohan, 1982 and Ardh Satya, 1983), and was recognised at several film festivals, including a lifetime achievement medal at the prestigious Telluride Film Festival.
He was even nominated for a Bafta film award in 2000 for playing the lead in Ayub Khan Din’s autobiographical British film East is East.In the critically acclaimed film Gandhi where Ben Kingsley played the lead role, it was Puri that made a brief appearance as Nahari and stole the show.
While the West recognized the powerhouse in Puri, Bollywood, sadly never realized the gold they had struck. Puri died in 2017 but he continues to live in the hearts of the real cinema lovers of the country.
Kay Kay Menon
Troubled by the radicalization of a particular community, the audience of India found its voice when Kay Kay Menon played the character of Brigadier Rudra Pratap Singh.
The movie and its creators wanted to portray Brigadier Singh as an officer who completely disregarded democracy and secularism, while his subordinate, Captain Javed Khan was dubbed the ideal soldier. However, such was the acting prowess of Kay Kay Menon that the audience felt more connected with the motivations of the supposed villain of the movie.
Perhaps, if it was any other actor, the makers would have gotten away with their Hinduphobic ideas but Kay Kay Menon ensured that his character became a cult figure amongst the Indian masses.
Menon started his career with advertising and then moved on to TV. He, later on, went to made his debut with the 1995 film Naseem in which he played a fundamentalist.
Since then he has acted in movies and TV series like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Black Friday, Life in a… Metro and Gulaal to Haider, The Ghazi Attack and Special OPS. The OTT platform is giving him the recognition he so richly deserves and we as fans could not be anymore happier.
Madhavan Balaji Ranganathan or R Madhavan or simply Maddy continues to weave his magic on the screen through his charisma 21 years after making his debut. Madhavan made his debut in the 2001 romcom Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein and immediately became the heartthrob of his generation.
Films like Guru, Tanu Weds Manu, 3 Idiots have only strengthened his credentials as an actor. While he is better than most A-listers in the industry today, Madhavan rarely gets the big ticket movies. However, the OTT platforms have recognized his star power, in addition to the South movie industry.
Recently, Madhavan was seen in a Netflix series titled Decoupled, which was an instant hit amongst the public.
Most would remember Vijay Raaz for his iconic role in Abhishek Bachchan starrer ‘Run’. After all, in a role that barely lasted few minutes on the screen, he managed to give a performance that continues to tickle the funny bones of the audience. ‘Kauwa Biryani’ and ‘Chhoti Ganga’ are the terms stuck with the generation that grew up watching the movie.
His performance in the movie got a cult status and was praised by the masses. He also played a major role in the film Delhi belly, where he played a drug mafia. Akin to run, Delhi Belly has also become an Urban legend with many demanding Vijay Raaz to reprise his role, if and when the sequel gets made.
However, Vijay Raaz and his talent is not limited to one role only. Throughout his career, Vijay Raaz has managed to give one belligerent performance after another. Monsoon Wedding, Deewane Huye Pagal, Welcome, Dhamaal are some of the major movies where Vijay Raj has stood out.
However, it’s a shame that Bollywood still doesn’t use his versatility and spontaneous acting skills as much as they should have. Instead of extracting the full out of him, Bollywood has typecast him into a certain mould. If Vijay’s performance in Gully Boy was anything to go by, the actor deserves more such roles to show his true range.
From Maachis to Mohabbatein and Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, from Haasil to A Wednesday, to Tanu Weds Manu to Happy Bhag Jayegi to Saheb, Biwi and Gangster, Jimmy Shergill has done innumerable roles in various films and has never given a bad performance. Despite the lack of fame, he is an actor par excellence.
He started his career with a name as big as Gulzar (in Maachis alongside Tabu and Chandrachur Singh), and then worked alongside Bollywood bigwigs in his first major lead role in Mohabbatein.
Jimmy has always been deeply connected to his roots, glimpses of which can be found in several memorable characters he has played on the 70mm screen. The Punjabi film industry regards him as one of the biggest stars.
However, true cinema lovers understand the true quality of Shergill. In Tanu Weds Manu, Jimmy Shergill plays the character of Raja Awasthi and it credits a mention because it is one of Shergill’s most memorable performances. When the nemesis succeeds to inspire sympathy in the hearts of the audience, you should know there’s something special there, and Raja is just that.