While we know of several Bollywood actors, especially the younger brigade, who have sung in movies. Several singers have also acted in Bollywood films. While some of them didn’t succeed (or probably gave up too soon), a few of these singers have managed to balance their singing and acting career.
Here are the top singers & musicians who turned actors:
Diljit Dosanjh started as a singer, and after gaining enough popularity as a singer, Diljit made his acting debut in Punjabi film ‘The Lion of Punjab’ (2011). Though the film tanked, its song “Lak 28 Kudi Da” is still played at DJ nights. Later, he made his Bollywood debut in the film ‘Udta Punjab’. (Anil Kapoor’s Harshvardhan Kapoor, who lost out the filmfare debut actor award to Diljit Dosanjh, claims Diljit had worked in a hindi film in 2008).
Diljit was also seen in Phillauri opposite Anushka Sharma.
Watch: Phillauri Trailer, featuring Diljit Dosanjh and Anushka Sharma
Diljit is happy that Bollywood didn’t offer him comic roles (as happens with most Punjabi actors, especially those who wear turbans – Singh is Bling, Singh is King, and soon).
Known for his nasal singing skills, Himesh Reshammiya continues to act in films – ‘Tera Surroor’, ‘Karz’, ‘Khiladi 786’. In fact, he has acted in many more films. And I’m sure you will see more of him as an actor in films.
Watch: Khiladi 786 Trailer. Himesh Reshammiya as Mansukh Desai
Multi-talented Ali Zafar (singer, composer, painter, actor) started of as a singer. Later he made his acting debut (in Bollywood) in the comedy film ‘Tere Bin Laden’. Since then, Ali Zafar has worked on several Bollywood movies, including Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.
Watch: Madhubala Song from Mere Brother Ki Dulhan featuring Ali Zafar
Aditya Narayan (son of playback singer Udit Narayan) started his singing on a good note. Because of his good looks and boyish charm, Vikram Bhatt signed Aditya for horror flick ‘Shaapit’ (2010). However, Aditya was not able to capitalise on it, and has not been seen in many movies post that. However, he is too young to be written off. Aditya has worked as a host (for singing competition) and as a child artiste in films like Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai and Pardes. Aditya has sung the popular song Tattad Tattad (Ramji Ki Chaal) from the movie Ram-Leela.
Watch: Kabhi Na Kabhi Song from Shaapit starring Aditya Narayan
Shekhar Ravjiani (part of the famous music composer duo ‘Vishal-Shekhar’). Shekhar made his acting debut in the film, Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999), and was last seen in the movie Neerja (2016) opposite Sonam Kapoor.
Vishal has also acted in several films (in smaller, comic roles) but unlike Shekhar, Vishal seems to act in films only for the fun part of it. Vishal was seen in the song ‘Sheela ki Jawani’ (Tees Maar Khan), then he also did a small part in Happy New Year.
Lucky Ali, who is known for his soulful song, has acted in several of films in the 70s (he is son of comedian Mehmood and nephew of actress Meena Kumari). Later, he acted in movies like ‘Sur’ (2002), ‘Kaante’ (2002).
Not many are aware that Sonu Nigam started out as a child actor, and then after singing for several years, acted again in a film named ‘Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani’ in 2002 (and many more movies). I guess Sonu realised that acting was not his cup of tea.
Successful Bollywood singer Mika Singh has also acted in films. First he did a Punjabi film called ‘Mitti’ (2010), and then did a Bollywood film ‘Loot’ (2011).
Also Read: Top Highest Paid Singers in Indian Cinema
Yo Yo Honey Singh
Yo Yo Honey Singh is another singer who tried to capitalize on his singing popularity, but not much is happening on the acting front (and even on the singing front). He was the villain in ‘The Xpose’.
Chaiya chaiya singer Sukhwinder Singh has also acted in a couple of Bollywood films – ‘Rakhta Charitra’, ‘Kuchh Kariye’.
The most successful singer-actor was the late Kishore Kumar. The multi-talented playback singer has also worked as an actor, lyricist, composer, producer, director, screenwriter and scriptwriter. Some of his notable works (as an actor) included Padosan, Half Ticket, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, etc. it seems comedy came naturally to this talented singer.