Top 10 Underrated Actors in Bollywood

They have the skills, smarts, sense of humor, charisma and potential to bag lead roles and considered as A-list actors. But they aren’t paid and rated as much as they deserve.

By Saurav Ray

May 22, 2018

There are some actors who are master of their crafts, been in the Bollywood movie industry for a good period of time and delivered some memorable and powerful performances.

But when it comes to recognition, appreciation, and compensation for their hard work and unique skills, they are yet to receive their due credit.

Let`s have a look at 10 such actors:

Sanjay Mishra

His dialogue ‘Dhondu Just Chill’ from the movie ‘All the Best’ and his antics in films such as ‘Golmaal’, ‘Dhamaal’, ‘Dilwale’, and ‘Golmaal Again’ had you in splits. But Sanjay Mishra is an actor who proved his mettle in some intense movies. After completing his course at the National School of Drama, Sanjay Mishra made his TV debut in 1991 with ‘Chanakya’ series and his Bollywood debut in 1995 movie ‘Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India!’. After that, he has acted in several dozen movies and TV series and is noted for his performance in Bollywood flicks such as ‘Phas Gaye Re Obama’, ‘Ankhon Dekhi’, ‘Masaan’, ‘Kadvi Hawa’,  ‘Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain’, just to name a few. He received the Best Actor Award at Indian Film Festival Los Angeles for Masaan in 2016. Ankhon Dekhi earned him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Critics), Jagran Film Awards for Best Actor (Male) and Star Screen Awards- Best Actor.

Rajat Kapoor

Be it the young uncle of Preity Zinta’s character in ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ or the son of Rishi Kapoor’s eccentric avatar in ‘Kapoor & Sons’, Rajat Kapoor’s presence and performance is remarkable. An alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), he made his acting debut in 1989 parallel cinema movie ‘Khayal Gatha’. In 1997, he made his directorial debut ‘Private Detective: Two Plus Two Plus One’. He got his big break in 2001 superhit Bollywood movie ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and bagged meaty roles in movies such as ‘Monsoon Wedding’, ‘Corporate’, ‘Bheja Fry’, ‘Khoya Khoya Chand’, ‘Mithya’, ‘Phas Gaye Re Obama’, ‘Ankhon Dekhi’, ‘Midnight`s Children’, ‘Kapoor & Sons’, among others. He is the winner of three National Awards, for his documentary ‘Tarana’, short film ‘Hypothesis’ and his 2003 independent movie ‘Raghu Romeo’.

Tisca Chopra

Remember Maya Awasthi of 2007 movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’, the efficient housewife and the doting mother, who takes her dyslexic son’s inability to read as her own defeat and was heartbroken when he had to be sent to a boarding school? It’s one of the best performances of Tisca Chopra. She made her acting debut in 1993 movie ‘15th August’ and starred in some acclaimed movies including ‘Hyderabad Blues 2’, ‘Firaaq’, ‘Qissa’, ‘Ankur Arora Murder Case’ and ‘Rahasya’. In 2016, she also wrote, produced and acted in a short film titled ‘Chutney’ that earned her “Best Actor Female” and “Best Film” (Fiction) award at the Jio Filmfare Short Film Awards 2017. In 2017, she produced and starred in her second short film – ‘Churi’.

Pankaj Tripathi

An alumnus of 2004-batch of National School of Drama, Pankaj Tripathi made his Bollywood debut in ‘Run’. After that, he worked in over 60 TV series and 40 movies including ‘Omkara’, ‘Dharm’, ‘Mithya’, ‘Shaurya’ and ‘Ravana’. However, he got his big break in Gangs of Wasseypur film series and was critically acclaimed for his roles in ‘Fukrey’, ‘Masaan’, ‘Nil Battey Sannata’, ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, ‘Gurgaon’, ‘Fukrey Returns’ and ‘Newton’. He received numerous awards for 2017 movie ‘Newton’, including a National Film Award – Special Mention.

Kay Kay Menon

After working in the ad industry, Kay Kay Menon ventured into the world of theatre, TV, and movies. In 1995, he made his acting debut in TV series ‘Darr’ and Bollywood movie ‘Naseem’. He received acclaim for his roles in ‘Bhopal Express’, `Paanch`, `Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi`, `Black Friday`, `Sarkar`, `Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena`, `Corporate`, `Strangers`, `Life in a... Metro`, `Mumbai Meri Jaan`, `Gulaal`, `Bheja Fry 2`, `The Ghazi Attack`, just to name a few. He won IIFA Awards for Best Performance in a Negative Role and a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in 2014 movie Haider.

Konkona Sen Sharma

Her character as the independent, pragmatic and go-getter Aisha Banerjee from the 2009 movie ‘Wake Up Sid’ was lauded by critics and audience. It’s one of the few commercial movies she signed in her 35-year-long career. In 1983, she debuted as a child artiste in Bengali movie ‘Indira’ and worked in three more regional films. In 2002, she starred in ‘Mr. and Mrs. Iyer’ and won the National Film Award for Best Actress. She received acclaim for her roles in ‘Omkara’, ‘Traffic Signal’, ‘Life in a... Metro’, ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’, ‘Luck by Chance’, ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ and ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’. She won Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award and National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Omkara’, Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for ‘Life in a … Metro’ and Screen Award for Best Actress (Critics) for ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’.

Deepak Dobriyal

If you’d watched ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’, then Deepak Dobriyal’s performance as Pappi Bhai must definitely give you a good laugh. Remember the college scene in which Pappi Bhai was left to answer the questions of med students? The actor started his acting career in 1994 with noted theatre personality Arvind Gaur. It was in 2003, he got his first break in ‘Maqbool’ and became famous for his roles in ‘Omkara’, ‘1971’, ‘Shaurya’, ‘Gulaal’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ movie series, ‘Lucknow Central’ and ‘Hindi Medium’. Apart from a Filmfare Awards Special Performance for Omkara, he is the winner of International Indian Film Academy Awards, two Producers Guild Film Awards, BIG Star Entertainment Awards, Star Screen Awards, Times of India Film Awards for ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ series.

Divya Dutta

If you follow Divya Dutta’s career, you will be surprised to know that she’s been in the industry for the last 24 years and you’re yet to see her in a lead role. Divya debuted in 1994 movie ‘Ishq Mein Jeena Ishq Mein Marna’ and has worked in more than 60 films. She has worked in some acclaimed movies ‘Agni Sakshi’, ‘Train to Pakistan’, ‘23rd March 1931: Shaheed’, ‘Sur: The Melody of Life’, ‘Baghban’, ‘The Last Lear’, ‘Heroine’, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, ‘Traffic’ and ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’. Her performances in ‘Irada’ earned her National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. She received three Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress nominations for her performance in ‘Veer-Zaara’, ‘Delhi-6’ and ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’.

Manav Kaul

Be it his performance as the supportive husband in the 2017 movie ‘Tumhari Sulu’ or his role of an inconspicuous but manipulative man in the 2014 movie ‘Citylights’, Manav Kaul rose phenomenally as an actor over the years. He made his acting debut in 2003 movie ‘Jajantaram Mamantaram’ and was noticed for his roles in ‘1971’, ‘Daayen Ya Baayen’, ‘Kai Po Che!’, ‘Haider’, ‘Wazir’ and ‘Jai Gangaajal’. The scene of his character lip-syncing ‘Ban Ja Tu Meri Rani’ in ‘Tumhari Sulu’ melted the hearts of several viewers and earned him a nomination for the best supporting actor at the 63rd Filmfare Awards. He is also a director, who made his behind-the-camera debut in the 2012 movie ‘Hansa’.

Vijay Raaz

Remember Ganesh from the 2004 movie ‘Run’? His Delhi misadventures due to ‘Kauwa Biryani’, ‘Choti Ganga’, ‘Kidney Racket’ makes you laugh at him and feel sorry for him both at the same time. Let’s discuss the man behind the performance – Vijay Raaz. He made his Bollywood debut in 1995 Mahesh Mathai-directed movie ‘Bhopal Express’ and went on to act in films including ‘Monsoon Wedding’, ‘Company’, ‘Raghu Romeo’, ‘Yuva’, ‘No Problem’, ‘Delhi Belly’, ‘Kya Dilli Kya Lahore’ and ‘Saat Uchakkey’.

Despite their skill mastery, experience, and performances, these above-listed actors have not been given their due credit. It’s about time that the industry gives them the credit where it is due.

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