Some of the best actors in Bollywood began their acting career with indie cinema. Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Irrfan Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Neena Gupta, Satish Kaushik, Ashutosh Rana, Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah, amongst many others dabbled their career between indie cinema and commercial cinema.
Both the mediums give the actors a great platform to showcase their talent; one gives them inner satisfaction as an actor and the other delivers fame, money and exposure to a larger audience. Let’s look at some of the actors who had a great start from indie cinema at the beginning of their career and are now successfully blurring the line between indie and commercial cinema in 2019.
Richa Chadha started her acting career with a tiny role in Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye which went unnoticed. It was Gangs of Wasseypur I and II that carved the path for her in Indian cinema as an actor and then Masaan proved to be a milestone in her career. Her first full-blown commercial stint came with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Goliyon Ki Rasleela — Ram-Leela followed by Fukrey. Since then she has been dabbling between both the genres of cinema.
In 2019, she will be seen in Shakeela which is a biopic on the South adult star Shakeela followed by courtroom drama film Section 375, a political satire Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui and a film on Kabaddi titled Panga.
It wouldn’t be wrong calling Radhika Apte a jack of all trades. She began her acting career in regional languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi and Bengali. Her films Hunterrr, Parched, Manjhi The Mountain Man proved her versatility as an actress. Her commercial films like Badlapur, Padman, Andhadhun which did well at the box office also proved that she is good at all genres of cinema. The reigning queen of web series and shorts films, Radhika has her set eyes across all medium of entertainment. This year she has two international projects including The Wedding Guest with Dev Patel and The Ashram with Kal Penn.
Vikrant Massey started his acting career from television after which he got his first break in Lootera with Ranveer Sing and Sonakshi Sinha, followed by a brief role in Dil Dhadakne Do and Half Girlfriend. At the same time, Vikrant was seen exploring the indie genre cinema with films like A Death in the Gunj and Lipstick Under My Burkha. He was also seen dabbling between web series and shorts films. This year Vikrant will be seen in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Chhapaak and Cargo.
One of the best actors that Bollywood has in today’s time is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He is the perfect example who has explored all the mediums of entertainment successfully and is a true predecessor to carry forward the legacy of actors passed out from acting schools. From doing a small-time crook in Sarfarosh released in 1999 to play the titular role in the recently released biopic Thackeray, Nawaz has a clear message for all — he is here to stay and cannot be shaken from the place that he has achieved.
The web series Sacred Games proved to be another gamechanger. In 2019, he will be seen with Sanya Malhotra in Photograph and Shraddha Kapoor in Bole Chudiyan.
Vicky Kaushal is the new blue-eyed boy for many filmmakers in Bollywood now. Being the eldest son of ace action director Shyam Kaushal, Vicky achieved all his goals on his merit. After proving his acting chops in indie films such as Masaan, Raman Raghav 2.0 and Zubaan, Vicky gave four back to back commercial hits with Sanju, Manmarziyaan, Raazi and the recent hit Uri: The Surgical Strike. This year, he delivered a mega-hit and the year’s first film to earn more than Rs 100 crores on box office and is being touted as a front runner for Saare Jahan Se Achha. He will begin shooting for Karan Johar’s Takht.
Pankaj Tripathi has come a long way to carve his own path in Bollywood. A small role in the film Run to his latest release Stree last year, Pankaj has shown many shades of his acting skills on screen. The actor has dabbled in different entertainment mediums; he has done more than 60 television shows, shorts films, video on demand series, regional cinema, indie cinema and commercial Bollywood films.
He was highly applauded for his performances in films like Gangs of Wasseypur I and II, Masaan, Nil Battey Sannata, Fukrey, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Gurgaon and Newton. His performance in Newton earned him a National Film Award — Special Mention.
His web shows Sacred Games and Mirzapur made him household names. In 2019, he has multiple and interesting line ups such as Kaagaz, Shakeela, Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai, Panga, Drive, Luka Chhupi, 83, season 2 of Sacred Games and Mirzapur.