Dec 17 2015

Only true Hindi cinema fans will recognise these actors

by   Shriram Iyengar

If you are a true blue fan of Hindi cinema, you ought to know the names of these wonderful actors who played second fiddle to the A-listers. 

1 KN Singh

'Pran's prototype' should be enough to define the iconic KN Singh. Menacing yet dapper, evil yet stylish, Singh set the benchmark for cool villains with his performances in films like Awara (1951), Howrah Bridge (1958) and Woh Kaun Thi? (1964). For trivia enthusiasts, he was also selected for competing in the javelin event for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, before life took a different turn.

2 Bob Christo

Save Tom Alter, no other foreign face is more familiar to Indian film audiences than Bob Cristo. An Australian civil engineer, he was waiting for his visa in India when he met Parveen Babi. It began an accidentally successful career in Bollywood with films like Kaalia (1981), Agneepath (1990), Qurbani (1980) and Mr.India (1987).

3 Jagdish Raj

One of the most familiar faces in Bollywood, Jagdish Raj holds the Guinness Record for being the most type-cast actor in the world. The actor was cast as a police officer in 144 films, some of which include Kala Bazar (1960), Johnny Mera Naam (1970), Deewar (1975) and Silsila (1981).

4 Kamal Kapoor

At the age of 28, Kamal Kapoor played father to his nephew Raj Kapoor in Aag(1948). It would prove to be the metaphor for his career. A talented actor, he was reduced to peripheral roles. But even in these, he managed to make an impact. Don't trust us, just watch the iconic Narang in Don (1978).

5 M B Shetty

A body building and boxing enthusiast, MB Shetty arrived in Bollywood to be a 'fight instructor'. He went on to become one of the most familiar villains on screen through films like Don (1978), Deewar (1975), Kaalia (1981), and Trishul (1978) among others. His son, Rohit Shetty, continues the trend with his unrealistic action movies.

6 Ram Sethi

Ram Sethi is the closest Hindi films ever came to the 'friendly bartender' stereotype. He is most remembered for playing Amitabh Bachchan's comic sidekick in films like Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Zanjeer (1973) and Yaarana (1981) among others.

7 Dina Pathak

The firebrand Dina Pathak was never just the kind mother she portrayed. A thespian from the IPTA, she was also an activist and the President of the National Federation for Women. Quite like the strict, but kind, mother in Khubsoorat (1980).

8 Satyen Kappu

The man behind the iconic line of 'Mera baap chor hai', Satyendra Kapoor has a close association with two of Amitabh Bachchan's greatest movies - Deewar and Sholay. Having played Amitabh's dad in Deewar, he played the iconic Ramlal in Sholay (1975). He would go on to be a part of films like Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973), Kaala Patthar (1979) and Majboor (1989) among others.

9 Sudhir

Another iconic henchman, Sudhir is known most popularly as Amitabh's sneering rival Jaichand in Don. A brilliant character actor, he received some popularity with his role as one of the seven brothers in Satte Pe Satta (1982). His last film was Badshah (1999) with Shah Rukh Khan.

10 Om Shivpuri

Sometimes the kind uncle, sometimes the creepy villain; Om Shivpuri changed personalities with ease. A perennial face in Bollywood during the 70s, he remains most popular for his role as the manipulative Vardhan in Don (1978).

11 Madan Puri

Another brilliant character actor reduced to playing trope villains, Madan Puri is well known for his immaculate portrayals of fathers and menacing bosses. His performances in films like Upkar (1967), Purab Aur Paschim (1970), and Howrah Bridge (1958) earned him fame and recognition.

12 Goga Kapoor

Starting out as a villain in films like Zanjeer (1973) and Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), he soon morphed into character roles in films like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994). However, audiences remember him more as a villain for his iconic role as Ravan in Ramanand Sagar's television epic, Ramayan.

13 Pinchoo Kapoor

With an uncanny likeness to the towering Sydney Greenstreet, Pinchoo Kapoor stormed into public memory in the 70s. He has appeared in films like Karz (1980), Don (1978) and Roti (1974).

14 Yunus Parvez

The friendly Rahim Chacha of Deewar (1975) or the annoying Bade Babu of Gol Maal (1979), Yunus Parvez was the gentle giant of Indian cinema during the 70s. A versatile actor, he portrayed a range of roles that travelled from comic to sheer villainy.

15 Leela Mishra

The poor old woman who had to bear Viru's diatribe of 'Mausi going jail' was Leela Mishra. Joining films under Dadasaheb Phalke's Nasik Cinetone, she was a regular face in Hindi cinema for over five decades. Some of her notable films include Anmol Ghadi (1946), Awara (1951), Lajwanti (1958), Sholay (1975), Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and Amar Prem (1972).

16 Brijendra Kala

Starting out in small roles, Brijendra Kala has now become a regular face in Hindi movies. From the taxi driver in Jab We Met (2007) to the press reporter in Paan Singh Tomar (2012), he has excelled in playing the common man in an uncommon situation.

17 Adil Hussain

He first appeared as the unfortunate flight purser in Kaminey, but soon Adil Hussein was a regular face in Bollywood. With films like Ishqiya (2010), Lootera (2013), English Vinglish (2012) and Main Aur Charles (2015) to his credit. He has also gone international with the fantastic Life of Pi. Having played a cop in almost 10 films, he is fast becoming the next 'Iftekhar' of Bollywood.

18 Rajesh Sharma

His role as the leering, greedy land grabber in Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006) caught the attention of critics. Soon, Rajesh Sharma was a regular face in films like The Dirty Picture (2011), Special 26 (2013) and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015).

19 Manish Chaudhry

The mean boss of Rocket Singh (2009), Manish Chaudhry's prickly screen presence was one of the high points of the film. Flying high since, Chaudhry has gone on to star in substantial roles in Bombay Velvet (2015), Raaz 3 (2012) and next year's Hrithik Roshan starrer Mohenjodaro.

20 Manoj Joshi

A familiar face on Indian television, Manoj Joshi has been part of some iconic television serials like Chanakya and Khichdi. A veteran of regional theatre, his work in films like Sarfarosh (1999), Hera Pheri (2000), Golmaal: Fun Unlimited (2006), Hasee toh Phasee (2014) got him the recognition he deserves.

21 Vipin Sharma

As the strict, stentorian father of Taare Zameen Par (2007), Vipin Sharma delivered a compelling performance. It brought him to the notice of filmmakers and audiences. The NSD graduate has had a long struggle and is now reaping the fruits of his efforts.

22 Yashpal Sharma

For someone who has been in films since 1998, Yashpal Sharma deserves more recognition. Having struggled in bit parts for a better part of the decade, Sharma broke through the screens with brilliant performances in Shool (1999), Ab Tak Chappan (2004), Lagaan (2001) and Gangaajal (2003).

24 Pavan Malhotra

To put Pawan Malhotra in the list of names Bollywood fans don't remember is unfair. The meteoric rise of Pawan Malhotra dates back to the 80s. Though his films like Salim Langde pe Mat Ro (1989) were critically appreciated, he did not get his breakthrough till he played the menacing Tiger Memon in Black Friday (2007). Since then, his star is on the rise with films like Jab We Met (2007), Don (2006), and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013).