Holly Beckons: Indians fancy the West

Wednesday 15th February 2017 05:25 EST

Times are good if you are an Indian actor with innate talent and charisma. Indian movie industry, or Bollywood as we call it, is no stranger to artists aspiring a call from the West. For years, despite the ocean of artistry in India, it has always been a great deal when any actor makes his or her way to the big league. Years have passed, and the industry has changed, however, what remains fresh is the lust to gain screentime abroad.

Over the years, Indian actors and artists have managed to make a mark; get themselves and the film sector recognised as one of the leading and most promising industries across the globe. Actors and actresses have often featured in different roles in English movies- some quirky, some grave, but all serving the same purpose: Changing how our industry is viewed. Appeal of the West dates back to the early years of Cinema. The first ever actor to appear in a Hollywood movie was Sabu Dastagir, who made his debut as Toomai, in 1937's British movie 'Elephant Boy'. He also featured in 'Jungle Book' (1942), 'The Thief of Bagdad' and, 'Rampage'. Indian model and actress Persis Khambatta is best known for her role as Lieutenant Ilia in 1979 movie 'Star Trek'. Also in the list of early actors who got a taste of Hollywood, is Kabir Bedi, who played Gobinda in 1982's James Bond movie 'Octopussy'. He is also a famous name in Europe for playing 'Sandokan' in the television mini series. Late actor Amrish Puri featured as Khan in Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi'.

When you look at contemporary actors, making, what seems to be a long withstanding if not permanent mark in Hollywood, Priyanka Chopra has already clinched star status in Hollywood. She features as lead in ABC television series, 'Quantico' and, plays villain in upcoming movie 'Baywatch' along side Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Zac Efron. Priyanka has earned several awards and recognition, her fandom in the United States growing by the hour. Not only her, leggy lass Deepika Padukone starred opposite Vin Diesel in 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage', prompting positive reviews.

Between then and now, is a slew of actors who did groundbreaking roles with dignity and panache. Classic actor Om Puri, who had aced several roles in Bolly, starred in English television series 'The Jewel in the Crown' in 1984. He is one of the very few actors to have enjoyed a steady stint internationally, with movies such as 'City Of Joy', 'Wolf', 'The Ghost and the Darkness', 'My Son The Fanatic', 'Such a Long Journey', 'East Is East', 'The Mystic Masseur', 'The Parole Officer', 'Code 46', 'Charlie Wilson's War', 'West Is West', 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' to his name. He has also acted in international television series such as 'White Teeth' and 'Second Generation'.

What even are movies without a Bad Man? Gulshan 'Bad Man' Grover has several great roles to his credit in the West. He has acted in films such as 'The Second Jungle Book', 'Prisoners Of The Sun', 'Cape Karma', 'Nephilim', 'Honour Killing', 'We're No Monks', an Italian movie 'Les Mysteres de Sadjurah', 'Blind Ambition', 'Sweet Amerika' and 'My Bollywood Bride'.

Multi-talented Irrfan Khan, who is loved for his effortless acting skills is not only a personal favourite, but also has several fans abroad. He has been involved in international projects for quite some time and has acted in movies like 'The Namesake', 'New York', 'I Love You', A Mighty Heart', 'The Darjeeling Limited', 'Slumdog Millionaire', 'The Amazing Spider-Man', and 'Life of Pi'. Oh, did we mention how he beats Tom Hanks as the coolest guy in the room? Khan starred opposite Hanks in the very recent 'Inferno' and just as smoothly took away all his thunder. He has also worked along with Angelina Jolie in 'A Mighty Heart'.

The actor who refuses to age, Anil Kapoor garnered positive response for his performance in Danny Boyle's 2008 blockbuster 'Slumdog Millionaire'. He also made a touch and go cameo in Tom Cruise starrer 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol'. Megastar and style icon Amitabh Bachchan is a well-known name. One of his memorable roles has been Meyer Wolfsheim, his cameo in Leonardo DiCaprio starrer 'The Great Gatsby' (2013).

Breaking into the monopoly of men, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, is one of the most internationally loved Indian faces. A regular on the red carpet of Cannes Film Festival, Aish has done a couple of international projects such as 'The Pink Panther 2', 'Bride and Prejudice', 'Mistress of Spices', and 'Provoked'. Nimrat Kaur of 'The Lunchbox' fame was seen twice at Cannes, representing her films 'Peddlers' and 'The Lunchbox' in 2012 and 2013. She also clinched a massive deal playing an ISI agent in 'Homeland'.

The luckiest actor however, is Anupam Kher, who had the opportunity of sharing screen time with ace actor Robert De Niro. Kher has been in several great international ventures such as 'Bend It Like Beckham', 'Lust', Caution', and the 'Silver Linings Playbook'. Calling to the West is not limited to just Bollywood. In one of the most groundbreaking news last year, Southern superstar Dhanush announced his Hollywood debut with 'The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An Ikea Cupboard' opposite Uma Thurman.

Indian-origin actors in Hollywood

Credit for changing Indian stereotypes goes to Indian-origin actors in Holly. For years Indian characters were portrayed as either drivers, convenience store owners, or the worst-snake charmers and capable of magic. India has grown accustomed to banking on these artists to break out of the regularly, and unsavoury, ethnic characters and stand up. How do you fancy 'Harold and Kumar' without the Kumar? Kalpen Suresh Modi, remains one of the most popular Indian faces in America. Equipped with a funny bone, he vouches for a box office hit.

Mumbai-born Freida Pinto, who found glory with 'Slumdog Millionaire', has not only been a part of several blockbusters, but also managed to bag a role in Woody Allen's 'You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger'. Doing more than justice to shy Indian astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrapalli, Kunal Nayyar is undoubtedly everybody's favourite. Vera Mindy Chokalingam AKA Mindy Kaling not has a sitcom dedicated to herself, but has also starred in movies like 'No Strings Attached', '40 Year Old Virgin' and 'Night At The Museum: The Smithsonian Battle'.

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