The Popular Indian Actors in Hollywood

A group of people that are standing in the grass

It is often forgotten that Indian actors in Hollywood are just like any other actor/actress. They strive to be the best and do their best to be noticed. And yes, they do struggle to break into Hollywood and get recognized. Here are a few of their early films that one needs to know about, if we are to understand how the humble beginnings of an Indian actor in Hollywood can impact us now.


A close up of a person wearing a costume

Anshali was one of the very first Hindi movies that launched an entire wave of Indian actors in Hollywood. Directed by Satya Surveyayan, this Hindi movie was immensely successful and did brisk business in the US, UK and Australia. Anshali tells the story of a young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother in the slums of Mumbai. She is extremely talented and has a tendency to be rebellious. The movie follows her various attempts to escape from home and to rise in the social ladder, with various attempts at success.

Ram Gopal Varma’s first ever film that were made in India, and that is his only Hindi film, tells the story of a young man who is deeply disturbed by the murder of his family. This lead him to realize that perhaps his society isn’t what he expected and that there are many Indians who are better suited to Hollywood. The movie did very well in its first year, and many Indian actors and actresses made their debut in this film including Anshali Marathe, Manish Malhotra and Ravi Teja.

 ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

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Another Hindi film that was very popular amongst the Indian people was ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Though not a star studded film, this was nevertheless a good film and did very well for India in the 1980s. Amitabh Bachhan played the lead role of Shri Tulsi, who was a local homeless boy who became famous after winning the lottery. He then entered into the world of show business, where he began playing the character of Sholim, a pimped-out hustler who lives in a slum on the streets of Mumbai. Amitabh and his co-stars won the FilmFare and the first ever Film Oscar for this film.

The late Indira Gandhi was one of the most popular and prominent personalities of our times. She is the widow of Rajiv Gandhi and had a huge influence on the people of India as well as abroad. Some of her best known Indian actor accolades include ‘Mankatha’ (with Sunny Deforest), ‘Naahnak’ (with Manoj Bhanerjo) and ‘Kite Shop’. She is survived by a son, whom she loved very much. She also produced a number of successful plays and films during her long and illustrious career.

Bottom Lines

There are many more Indian actors in Hollywood who are considered ‘Indian extras’ simply because they were born in India and thus are not considered a genuine Indian. For example, in movies like ‘I, Robot’, Aakash Chopra was essentially an Indian extra because he was born in India. However, in most movies, the character requires that the character be authentically Indian in order for the character to truly belong to the culture. Many times this will mean casting an actor who was born in India but has one or more Indian accents.

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