Bollywood is a dream industry and every day thousands of people flock to Mumbai to chase their dreams of being part of this dream industry. We can forever hear stories about the struggles of stars such as Shahrukh Khan or Akshay Kumar who came to Mumbai with nothing but only dreams and today they are at the top of their games and are the biggest stars of the industry. Every actor working in Bollywood dreams of becoming a star one day where they will have everything, from fame to money to stardom, etc. But there are a few actors who dared to be different and became actors so that people remember them for their acting talent and not stardom. Here we have created a list of actors who prefer being called good actors to big stars.
Naseerudin Shah without a doubt is one of the best actors in Bollywood ever produced. A winner of multiple national awards, Naseeruddin Shah never chased stardom but took a different path where he will be known as a great actor rather than a big star. He gave brilliant performances in movies such as Sparsh, Paar Massom, Sarfarosh, Maqbool, Iqbal, etc, and is considered an acting institute by himself. He is highly respected as an actor and even if he never chased stardom, he has a big fan following only because of his acting talent and nothing else.
While a normal actor makes his Bollywood debut in their 20s, Boman Irani made his debut as an actor when he was above 40 with a niche movie named Let’s Talk but he became famous after working in Munnabhai MBBS where he played the character of Dr. Asthana. In his 20-plus years of career since his debut, he acted in many successful and good movies such as the Munnabhai series, Khosla ka Ghosla, Don, 3 Idiots, and many more. For Boman Irani, acting has been a passion and not a route to be famous or a star. In his 20 years long career, he gave many memorable performances and is today one of the most sought-after actors. It was his dream to be an actor and he chased his dreams without being diverted by the glamour of the industry.
Manoj Bajpai always dreamt of being an actor and started his journey by acting in theatres in Delhi and then later shifted to Mumbai to fulfil his dreams. Manoj Bajpai made his debut with a cameo in Shekhar Kapoor’s classic Bandit Queen but after that, he went through a rough patch and worked in television for his bread and butter. It was Ramgopal Varma who discovered his talent and gave him an important role in his movie Satya where Manoj Bajpai played the role of Bhiky Mhatre who became an iconic character. He won a National Award for his brilliant performance in the movie. After Satya, there was no looking back for Manoj Bajpai who went on to work in many critically acclaimed and successful movies and now ruling the OTT platform with his hit web series The Family Man. Manoj Bajpai never chased stardom but rather chose to be known as a great actor.
Kay Kay Menon
Kay Kay Menon started his acting journey with television by working in a serial known as Pradhanmantri, for which he got lots of appreciation for his performance. Then he slowly started working in movies and got noticed after playing the character of police officer Rakesh Maria in Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday which was based on the 1993 bomb blast case. Though he was always a talented actor, he got noticed after working in Ramgopal Varma’s Sarkar which was inspired by the famous Hollywood movie The Godfather along with Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan. Though Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan had meatier roles in the movie, Kay Kay Menon made his presence felt with his powerful performance. Kay Kay Menon always prefered to be known as a good actor than a big star and today he is one of the most well-known and talented actors in Bollywood only because of his acting chops and nothing else.
Abhay Deol is from the illustrious Deol family which was already comprised of big names such as Dharmendra, Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol but Abhay Deol didn’t take the route of his family members and has been very selective about his movies because he never wanted fame but only good scripts where he can display his acting prowess. Abhay Deol made his debut with Imtiaz Ali’s Socha Na Tha which was produced by his home banner but after that, he made a different career choice and selected movies that were off-beat and not typical commercial Bollywood masala movies. He acted in critically acclaimed movies such as Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Manorama Six Feet Under, Ek Chalis ki Last Local, Dev D, etc. Even if he acted in commercial movies such as Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Raanjhanaa, Happy Bhaag Jayegi, etc, he made sure that they had good content. He is one of the few actors from Bollywood who even after being part of a filmy family, never chased stardom and rather focused on good scripts and roles.
Rajkumar Rao today is one of the most well-known actors with many projects under his kitty but the journey was not easy for him. Rajkumar Rao always wanted to be an actor and after passing out from FTII, Pune where he did a course in acting, he came to Mumbai to follow his passion and work in movies. He started his journey with a small role in Dibakar Banerjee’s niche movie Love, Sex aur Dhokha but it was Hansal Mehta’s Shahid that made people take notice of him and he won his first National Award for it. After that, he acted in many critically acclaimed movies such as Newton, Aligarh, Kai Po Che!, etc. He tasted big commercial success with the horror-comedy movie Stree and today Rajkumar Rao is one of the most sought-after actors in Bollywood but he always prefered quality over quantity.
Nana Patekar without a doubt is one of the most well-known actors in Bollywood and a star in every sense but he never chased stardom, rather it followed him because of his talent and choice of movies. Nana Patekar started working in movies in the 80s and despite his very common look, he got many movies because of his acting talent. Even though he did many movies in the 80s, it was Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Parinda that made Nana Patekar famous. Nana Patekar played the role of an underworld don Anna in the movie and even if Parinda featured other well-known actors like Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff, it was Nana Patekar who stole the show with his menacing performance. After that, he worked in many commercially successful movies such as Tiranga, Krantiveer, etc, Nana Patekar always prefered being a good actor to a big star. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Nana Patkar worked in many successful movies and is considered a veteran today but it’s because he always prefered good content over typical commercial no-brainer movies.