11 Bollywood stars without stardom
Steve Martin once said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you,” but sadly cinema has several names that will contradict this statement. Over the years, Bollywood has been home to actors that might have gained critical appreciation, but were unable to enjoy the perks of stardom. From one-hit wonders to star kids to just actors who couldn’t make it big, there is a list of names who were unable to stay under the limelight for long. They may have strived hard, given their heart and soul to acting, but Bollywood has a way of being unkind to the most deserving ones at times. We take a look at these artists who could’ve made it big, but nonetheless faded in the background or are seen in supporting roles or dotting multi-starrer films.
Neil Nitin Mukesh
Coming from a family of singers, Neil Nitin Mukesh chose to venture into a different path from his family. He started as a child actor and grew up to make his big debut in 2007 with Sriram Raghavan’s Johnny Gaddaar. Though the film did not score high at the box-office, it was critically appreciated and so was Neil. Many film critics praised him for his natural performance. After Johnny Gaddaar, came Sudhir Mishra’s Tera Kya Hoga Johny and Jehangir Surti’s Aa Dekhen Zara, both of which did not perform well on the box-office. But with Kabir Khan’s New York, he proved his acting skills yet again and Madhur Bhandarkar’s Jail earned him critical appreciation. However, things started going downhill soon after for the actor. Movies like 3G A Killer Connection, Shortcut Romeo and Players were some of the choices that were enjoyed by neither the audience nor the critics. He has been part of various multi-starrers, but nothing that has truly explored his talent.
Though Gracy Singh was a popular name on Television, her Bollywood break came with Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan. She was praised for her role that also got her a few more projects. She was later seen in movies like Armaan and Gangaajal, but they did not make quite the impact as Lagaan. With Rajkumar Hirani’s Munna Bhai M.B.B.S it seemed like she was being pushed in the right direction, but that did not last long. After that she has been part of various films, but nothing notable. She went back to television with the mythological show Santoshi Maa, which is currently on air.
Son of actor Suresh Oberoi, Vivek Oberoi was exposed to Bollywood at quite an early age. He proved his skills as an actor with his first film itself. Despite people advising him not to start his career with a negative character, he went on to prove his worth with Ram Gopal Varma’s Company. After the rugged bad boy in Company, he charmed the audience with his romantic side in Shaad Ali’s Saathiya, showing his diversity in the field. But his talent couldn’t save him from making questionable choices in movies. Kyun! Ho Gaya Na and Mission Istaanbul were a few examples of this. Though he has given us some great performances in movies like Yuva, Omkara and Shootout at Lokhandwala, in today’s time he is associated with movies like Great Grand Masti, which do no justice to the talent he is capable of. With the series Inside Edge, Oberoi has ventured into the digital space and is also working on the Company 2. Yet, the stardom that many of his contemporaries enjoy has somehow escaped Vivek Oberoi’s grasp.
Winning the Star Screen Award for Most Promising Newcomer, Aftab Shivdasani started off on a promising note with Ram Gopal Varma’s Mast. He had also been a child artist who was part of movies like Mr. India and ChaalBaaz. After Mast he went on to star in Vikram Bhatt’s Kasoor and showcase his versatility. Unfortunately, post that he has been part of an array of movies that disappeared without a trace. Recently, he was seen in movies like Grand Masti and Kya Kool Hain Hum 3, which have done nothing to help him progress as an actor.
Be it on television or films, Divya Dutta has been appreciated for her acting skills throughout her career. She is a critically acclaimed actor, but couldn’t achieve commercial success. She was highly recognized for her role in Yash Chopra’s Veer-Zaara and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6. She has been part of many films and even though the films may have flopped at the box-office, her performances have been appreciated. She has proved herself to be a good actor even in a bad movie, but when it comes to making it big in Bollywood, Divya Dutta fell short of stardom.
With his innocent and charming look, Jimmy Sheirgill drew a lot of attention when he first entered Bollywood. His debut with Gulzar’s Maachis followed by the boy-next-door appeal in Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein touted him to be the next big star. Though his career climbed steadily with movies like Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai and Munna Bhai M.B.B.S, there wasn’t anything explosive. He was greatly apricated for movies like A Wednesday and Tanu Weds Manu, but sadly he is not placed anywhere in the list of India’s top stars. He has carved a niche for himself in Punjabi cinema as well but continues to be one of the most underrated actors of Bollywood!
Antara Mali is a name that many won’t even remember today. She made her debut in the year 1998 with the film Dhoondte Reh Jaoge, which flopped at the box-office. Her next film Prema Katha, which was with Ram Gopal Varma again, was yet another flop yet she went on to be part of other films. Her film Naach! got her noticed, but still wasn’t the big break she was looking for. She is most remembered for her roles in Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon and Company, but unfortunately nothing beyond that.
Being the nephew of actor Aamir Khan did put a lot pressure even before Imran Khan made his debut in Bollywood. As a child actor, he was part of films like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, so he was quite familiar with facing the camera. In 2008, he made his debut with Abbas Tyrewala’s Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na for which he received both critical and commercial success. After such a huge hit, one would think he would be catapulted to fame and stardom but that did not happen. After a few more commercial hits he started experimenting, which unfortunately backfired and put a glitch to his career. Though he did try keep the audience hooked with movies like I Hate Luv Storys, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Delhi Belly, his acting chops could never match up thus keeping him from stardom.
Asin started out as an actress down South and moved to Bollywood with A.R.Murugadoss’s Ghajini. The film was a huge hit and Asin was praised for her performance. She had proved her acting skills in South Indian movies, but unfortunately Bollywood did not give her equal opportunities. She was later seen in movies like Ready and Housefull 2, which were commercial hits, but nothing path-breaking for the actress in terms of acting.
The heartthrob of Indian television in the early 2000s, Rajeev Khandelwal built a reputation of being this intensely romantic guy. The turning point in his career came with his first film in Bollywood, which was Raj Kumar Gupta’s Aamir. The movie showed his true potential as an actor and got him both critical and commercial success and appreciation. With his success, many thought that Rajeev would be one of the few television actors who would make it big in Bollywood, but that didn’t turn into a reality. Shaitan was another film for which he was praised for, but the film did not become huge commercially. His later films either did not receive the necessary attention or the movies were just not good making Rajeev lose out on well-deserved stardom.
Having two powerful parents who ruled the screen during their time can put a lot of pressure on the child. And Esha Deol did not come anywhere near the stardom that her parents enjoyed. She made her debut with Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe which did not work at the box-office, but still managed to draw some critical praise for the new actress. After that there were a series of flops and mixed responses from the critics. But some of the roles that did truly show her acting skills were in LOC Kargil and Yuva. Though there are few other films that got her critical appreciation there was nothing outstanding that would be deemed as being a memorable performance. The actor has currently faded into oblivion and is enjoying married life.
These are just a few examples of the many actors who did not make it big in the industry despite having the skill to do so. This is not a new concept and throughout history, cinema has put actors on the fringes of the industry. The enchanting, dreamy seductress known as cinema just has a way of evading actors who crave her the most.
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