Although it may seem like an industry with cut-throat competition, there has never been a better time for Indian actors when it comes to doing a variety of roles. Now the whole world seems to be the stage for Indian Actors as more and more of them are landing international projects.
Several big stars from India (Anil Kapoor, Om Puri, Freida Pinto) have made their presence felt globally in the past and have enjoyed world wide appreciation, and there could be a few others now who may follow on their footsteps.
With changing content in the international market (and wide market coverage), the demand for South Asian faces is on a rise. This is the reason more Indian, Pakistani and Chinese actors prominently feature in international films.
Here are some of our celebrities who are taking the international platform by storm.
Indian model Freida Pinto, who was launched in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, has worked in several Hollywood movies now. In the past, Aishwarya Rai has done lengthy roles in The Pink Panther 2 and The Last Legion. Irrfan Khan, Kabir Bedi, Gulshan Grover and Om Puri are a few names from Indian cinema who have worked on prestigious international projects and have been recognized internationally for their contribution to world cinema.
Few others have also worked on prominent Hollywood projects, although they had minuscule roles — Anil Kapoor in Mission Impossible 4 and Mallika Sherawat in Jackie Chan’s The Myth. However, the good news is that Indian actors are being considered for big budget Hollywood productions now.
Nimrat Kaur is the latest Indian actor to explore the West, landing a role in hit American TV series Homeland. She will be playing a Pakistani ISI agent on season four. Nimrat impressed with her spontaneity and subtleness in Ritesh Batra’s acclaimed The Lunchbox opposite Irrfan and now represents the face of new generation actors working with foreign crew. Determined to do something at par with The Lunchbox, Nimrat claims she rejected 450 scripts in two years to finally take up Homeland after successfully auditioning for the role.
Suraj Sharma, a Delhi boy and student of St Stephen’s College impressed Ang Lee and bagged the lead role in Life Of Pi. The success of Life Of Pi has landed Suraj the role of a Pakistani medical student in Homeland 4. Suraj is an accidental actor who got noticed by acclaimed filmmaker Ang Lee. After getting selected from a crowd of thousands of dreamyeyed aspirants, Suraj impressed with his raw talent in Life Of Pi despite being an amateur. He landed in a role in the Hollywood film Million Dollar Arm, as an underdog baseball player Rinku Singh.
Ali Fazal, who was seen in Bobby Jasoos, got a chance to face the camera and do a few scenes with Hollywood biggies Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker in the upcoming film Fast & Furious 7. The film’s release got delayed owing to the death of Walker in a car crash. While most Indian actors remain anxious of their portions being edited out in the final cut, Ali claims most of his scenes in the upcoming film are intact. Ali claims he missed out auditioning for several other international assignments including Homeland owing to Bollywood commitments.
Madhur Mittal was seen in Million Dollar Arm after global recognition in Slumdog Millionaire. Starting out as a child star, Madhur graduated to television shows such as Kasautii Zindagii Kay. Madhur got international recognition playing Dev Patel’s brother in Danny Boyle’s multiple Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire. In his recent film Million Dollar Arm, he played a villager groomed to become a baseball player.
Shriya Saran was seen in a pivotal role in Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children. The movie will definitely help the southern superstar widen her horizon in the international market. Being associated with an international crew was a learning experience for Shriya who admittedly enjoyed attending the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival where the film was premiered. She has also worked in the Hollywood film, ‘The Other End of the Line’ in addition to ‘Cooking With Stella’ which Deepa Mehta wrote the screenplay for and her brother Dilip directed.
Richa Chadda, who has already worked on several Bollywood films, appeared in Mira Nair’s anthology film, Words With God. Mira was one of seven directors working on this innovative documentary project that has been described as a groundbreaking anthology series, and she cast Richa in a small role in her segment, God Room. The film narrated various forms of dialogues with God. Recent rumours have suggested Richa is eyeing an international project starring Hugh Jackman.
Firangi Desi Not Far Behind
PARMINDER NAGRA: The dusky British beauty of Indian origin became a global name after Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham. She was recently seen on NBC’s hit TV series The Blacklist where she played a CIA Field Officer.
MANISH DAYAL: The American boy of Indian origin recently appeared as an Indian chef in the Helen Mirrenstarrer, The Hundred Foot Journey. Keen to work in Bollywood, Manish previously appeared on TV shows such as 90210, Crime Scene Investigation and Rubicon.
KUNAL NAYYAR: Indo-Brit Nayyar acquired fame playing the geekrappali on the gy Dr Raj Koothlobal hit TV series, The Big Bang Theory. His character of a simpleton astrophysicist has been immensely popular over the past seven seasons. Nayyar will soon be seen in Dr Cabbie co-produced by Salman Khan.
DEVIKA BHISE: Manhattan-bred Devika landed the role of the female protagonist in The Man Who Knew Infinity, a biopic on the visionary Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Devika plays Ramanujan’s wife.
DEV PATEL: After Slumdog Millionaire there has no looking back for the British actor of Indian origin. After an impactful presence in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, he was recently seen on the hit HBO series, The Newsroom and will appear as mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan in The Man Who Knew Infinity.
Been There Done That
AISHWARYA RAI Aishwarya Rai is the only mainstream Bollywood heroine who bagged lead roles in big-ticket Hollywood films, The Pink Panther 2 and The Last Legion. Her other international projects include Paul Mayeda Berges’ The Mistress Of Spices, Jag Mundhra’s Provoked and Gurinder Chadha’s Pride And Prejudice.
OM PURI Om Puri recently made an appearance in The Hundred Foot Journey where he shared the screen with Helen Mirren. A regular in international films, Puri started out with a cameo in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and appeared in films such as My Son The Fanatic, East Is East, The Parole Officer, City Of Joy and Charlie Wilson’s War to name a few.
IRRFAN Irrfan is the most prominent Indian face in the West right now and he has worked in various prominent international films. He shot to fame with a prop role in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, played an antagonist in The Amazing Spider Man and had a stellar role in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. His other projects include Mira Nair’s The Namesake, New York I Love You and A Mighty Heart.
NASEERUDDIN SHAH Shah is remembered for his notable portrayal of Captain Nemo in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which he shared the screen with Sean Connery. Besides western productions, Shah has also worked in Pakistani films such as Khuda Kay Liye and Zinda Bhaag.
ANIL KAPOOR Anil became visible on the international screen in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, and then drew accolades with his role in the hit American teleseries, 24. He also did a blinkyou- miss-me role in Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 4.