Unconventional Heroes of Bollywood

Last Updated: Mar 02, 2011, 13:08 PM IST

Gayatri Sankar

Bollywood is synonym to musical dramas which show heroes dancing around the trees to some feet tapping numbers. A typical hero in Bollywood is someone, who is blessed with “killer looks”, “enviable physique”, someone who is a good dancer and someone who can rough a villain up with just a punch almost convincingly. But Hindi cinema is also home to a number of unconventional heroes, whose contributions find a special mention and who have created a niche for themselves in the industry. And they are faces who represent parallel cinema. Here’s a look at some of those actors who have added a new dimension to the way people perceive Bollywood:

Amol Palekar

With ‘Golmaal’, ‘Chitchor’, ‘Choti Si Baat’ and many many more films to his credit, Amol Palekar emerged as the effervescent hero of Hindi cinema. With his uncanny body language and dialogue delivery style, Amol rose to “stardom” and gave hit after hit in the late 70s and early 80s. His movies had unusual yet easily relatable storyline with “close to life” characters. His impeccable sense of comic timing and “pokerfaced” expressive face at times helped him create a classic niche for himself. His contribution to Hindi Cinema shall always remain matchless.

Naseeruddin Shah

An institution in himself, Naseeruddin Shah gave a new definition to whole idea of being an actor. His dumbfounding performances in films like ‘Nahant’, ‘Manthan’ and ‘Bhumika’, to name a few have made audiences go ga ga over him, making him invincible in Hindi cinema. His stupendous standing and his approach towards his profession act as an inspiration to many aspiring actors till date. In a nutshell, he is brilliance personified.

Farooque Sheikh

With his splendid performances in films like ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’, ‘Umrao Jaan’ and ‘Bazaar’, Farooque Sheikh made his presence felt in Hindi cinema. The actor rubbed shoulders with stalwarts Satyajit Ray, Muzaffar Ali and Hrishikesh Mukherjee to make all time classic films.

Om Puri

‘Arohan’ and Ardh Satya’ won him National Awards for the Best Actor category and with these to his credit, Om Puri went on to become one of the most talented actors of all times. The legendry actor, who played a taxi driver in ‘Dharavi’ looked convincing in every single frame as a man torn apart by the complexities of the metropolis of Mumbai. None could have done justice to the character but him.

Raj Babbar

He is someone who could terrorise the faint hearted only with his deadly dialogues. Raj Babbar was one of those unconventional faces of the 1980s who could give any of his contemporaries a run for their money. He portrayed negative characters which could give even the strongest souls goose bumps! His incomparable performances in films like ‘Kissa Kursi Ka’, ‘Insaaf Ka Tarazu’ and ‘Raaz’ have turned masterpieces.

Manoj Bajpai

‘Bhiku Mhatre’ gave Hindi Cinema a gem in the form of Manoj Bajpai. The unconventionally macho looking actor made a big splash in Hindi cinema with Ram Gopal Verma’s ‘Satya’. His breathtaking performances in films like ‘Shool’, ‘Aks’, ‘Pinjar’ and ‘Veer Zaara’ are worth a mention. And not to forget his role as an anglicised Rajput Maharaja in ‘Shyam Benegal’s ‘Zubeidaa’ which threw a brighter light on his acting abilities.

Raghuvir Yadav

A singer-cum-actor, Raghubir Yadav represents the face of rustic India. The two time International award winning actor has given mind-blowing performances in films like ‘Massey Sahib’, ‘Salaam Bombay’, ‘Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities’, ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Peepli Live’ to name a few. The actor, who has a height below average, is now playing ‘Hitler’ in ‘Dear Friend Hitler’. He is certainly a world class actor that Hindi cinema has ever produced.

Irrfan Khan

He is now the face of Hindi Cinema worldwide. Irrfan Khan has toiled hard to find a place in the film industry. With notable performances in films like ‘Maqbool’, ‘The Namesake’, ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’, Irrfan has redefined a hero’s role in Bollywood. His incredible acting genius has helped him garner international acclaim. And now he is the favourite pick of filmmakers overseas.

Shreyash Talpade

Shreyas Talpade represents the young face of parallel cinema in India. He has proved his acting prowess both critically and commercially. His films ‘Iqbal’, ‘Dor’ and ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur’ were nothing less a breath of fresh air when Bollywood was gung ho about getting out and out commercialized. Be it playing the role of a dumb and mute village boy in ‘Iqbal’ or the letter writer in Shyam Benegal’s satirical comedy, Shreyas has done it all with ease. And he has a lot more to deliver.

Abhay Deol

Hailing from a lineage of actors with muscle power, Abhay Deol chose to be different in all respects. His choice of films has made him one of the most sought-after actors in the industry today. With his stunning performances in films like ‘Dev D’, ‘Manorama Six Feet Under’, ‘Oye Lucky Lucky Oye’ to his credit, the dimpled Deol has made his way to the list of top actors in Hindi Cinema. And with his good looks and spotless sense of style, he is on the threshold of creating waves in both the worlds- commercial and offbeat.