10 Most Underrated Actors of India

India, the country with the largest no of films are being produced. A great place, where cinema has a very big importance and actors sometimes (literally) treated like gods. But still, according to a cinema lover like me, there is yet to prove on the international level. Lots of reasons for that, some of them are chance, recolonization, motivation and others. There are some ‘less talented’ actors are given the privilege where as, those who has proven them, not just they could be good, but they have performed themselves, but still not have got enough chance and recommendation in the industry. Here is the list of some of them, sorted on the base of popularity, not on acting ability.

10. Mukesh Tiwari

Mukesh Tiwari in Gangaajal
Mukesh Tiwari in Gangaajal  © Prakash Jha Production | From Photobucket

Great actor as always, since his debut in Chinagate, that fierce dacoit. Gave a momentous experience among the great actors like On Puri, Naserruddin Shah and so many others. Acknowledged for his negative roles and proven his capability in the negative roles department, he has the capability of being an iconic villain. But he also proved his ability in drama genre of showing the strength of a character’s positive side even though in the gray-shaded role in the iconic masterpiece – Gangaajal. My alltime favorite movie, perfect script and screenplay which had given all the characters justice, under this circumstance it is very hard to play your role in such a way to make it memorable. The ‘to be and not to be’ situation executed by him were truly ‘perfect’. Convinced everyone that character. Besides this, his genius performance came in comedy, out of blue it was!! Golmaal, One Two Three, All the Best and many more were there. With Ajay Devgan, he has proved great chemistry and given sooperb outputs.

9. Atul Kulkarni

Atul Kulkarni - © UTV Films
Atul Kulkarni – ©UTV Films

This marathi actor, everyone from our generation has him in our mind for the ardent role in the new era patriotic masterpiece Rang De Basanti! from Rakyesh OmPrakash Mehra. In the parallel stories, he has performed two totally opposite roles in the movie, conservative and fanatical Hindu youth and on other side the revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil. In both the performances, the classic contrast can be seen in the movie. That scene of singing the ‘Sarfaroshi ki tamanna..’, he has shown his ability and scope. He made the people love him and hate him at the same time successfully. Beside this, he has performed other roles successfully and naturally which includes the mature aged patriot revolutionary (Hey Raam!!), a corrupt police inspector and typical villain (Dum), a political mastermind (Satta), innocent doctor having allegation of treason (khakee),  serious journalist (Page 3) and other performances like Chandani Bar and Natrang he has proven his ability among great actors and range.

8. Mukesh Rishi

Mukesh Rishi – Lahore – Warner Bros

Well, everyone knows him as those villain in any random masala film, thanks to SetMax as their responsibility they always remind the whole world on the regular basis who he is and all… and that’s all. We all have seen for don’t how many years in those roles of Tauji, Chachaji and other ‘elder’ roles since so many years.. can’t even remember. What if I say that he has played some 20 something ‘youngster’ sportsman’s role!! You will be surprised and will think this would be so many decades ago in his early days ha? Nope. You are totally wrong.This movie came in 2010 named Lahore!! Yes!! Damn right!! He was 53 at that time!!! and gave perfect output as the youngster.. see yourself above in the pic and say that you don’t feel he’s less than 25. For further, just watch the movie!! I will say this one was on the same level of Amitabh Bachchan did Paa on some takes. Nothing else can be written compared to the performance he has given as a enthusiastic pakistani kick-boxer. This has proven that he is no less than any A Grade top level actors in the world. But, our country is so good to appreciate and motivate such actors no one knows about it!! No one even has the idea about this, I think not even those who run such boards in the country. God bless him that’s all I wanna say for this unlucky man who has the ability can’t even describe in words.

7. R. Madhavan

Madhavan in ayutha ezhuthu from
Madhavan in ayutha ezhuthu © Madras Talkies from

Can be seen now in lot of films, his struggle was for a very long time according to me. I remember from the serial from DD Metro serial Sea Horse. Had the character, similar to his most of characters, energetic, funny, a bit careless boy next door. Has did many films in South Indian film industry and some in the Hindi film industry as well as worked on the small screen. He proved that one of the best options for the romantic roles he is one of the top contenders. But the genre changed from the Maniratnam movie ayutha ezhuthu if I am not wrong, he played the kinda negative role. Fierce gangster’s role who is also a wife-beater, here, we seriously can’t imagine Maddy over here. For this, he literally changed his look and became bald and generated a savage look on his face perfectly matching for his character. His role in 3 idiots was kinda pushed and pile on according to me, but was a brilliant and outstanding performance. Tanu weds Manu as well as the sequel, he played the role was one of it’s kind. These were the roles I believe no one can execute better than him. Mostly and unfortunately he has got those roles which had came in no one’s eyes like Rang De Basanti or that exceptional role in Sikandar. He has proven his best, but no one has noticed. His latest work is been Saala Khadoos in which he has seen a great transformation. Wish to see more from him ahead.

6. Sharman Joshi

sharman-joshi-ferreri-ki-sawari @copy; Vinod Chopra Production

This actor has the acting in his blood and has proven it in his career at every step. Made his debut in Godmother as her son named Karsan, gave his glimpse of his acting skills and ability to work with eyes as well as facial expression in very few chances and scenes. But just simultaneously came N. Chandra’s Style which made him famous everywhere and he had proved himself as one of the finest comic actors in this country and he never ever gave less than that in this genre. Even though having similar characters, his screen presence in each movies made everyone to stick on the seats. From style to Golmaal, Rang De Basanti, 3 idiots and other movies, had similar characters in a multi starer movie but still he managed to be a necessary part of the starcast as well as in the hearts of the viewers. He just need one scene to win everything. Life in a Metro, Sorry Bhai and Ferrari ki Sawari, totally different kind of movies, characters and still with one common things in all the movies, he had this one thing and took totally advantage of it and that is: his innocent face and look. That’s the brilliance. His characters had this and he made sure they look like that. Doesn’t matter a comic scene, dramatic scene or tragic one. Cry or laugh or smile or do anything.. his guy will perform it. Another unlucky actor as for the selection comes in the case but you can’t question on his acting ability. One of those actors which we will love to see working with great directors giving iconic performances.

5. Farooq Shaikh

Farooq Sheikh in Children of War from
Farooq Sheikh in Children of War © Pencil Cell Production from

Unfortunately now Late Farooq Sheikh, has called one of the finest and most respectable actors in the film industry. Now a lot will see his name should not be here and all. I had also kept his name removing other actors’ name with a different reason, after watching one of his last fims, Children of War I decided to mention him. Now, everyone will agree on that, Farooq Sheikh has done the films as well the characters which we can say were ‘typical‘ . The fans can never imagine him in any action role or negative role. He almost did all the roles of a ‘sharif ladka’  in his whole career. In the film Katha with Naseer sa’ab he did the role we can say was kinda negative but not still in the serious genre. But after watching him in Children of war, having the character as a revolutionary taking the path of violence and saying the dialogue that ‘Pen is not mightier than the gun’ literally holding the gun in his hands!! I never imagined that! Also his role in Shanghai, he had proven his ability of being as ‘badass’ as he could be in the ending scenes I really felt that we could see a lot of him in this genre. His final work in Youngistaan, Lahore, Yeh Jawani hai Deewani, Club 60.. he also proved that he can be loved by any generation and will be always.. Everyone will always miss him.

4. Manoj Bajpayee

Gangs of Wasseypur from
Gangs of Wasseypur © AKFPL from

“You can make a Devdas with  100 Cr. budget with me.” This was something I read in the articles at the time Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ambitious Devdas was released. Well, if we see today, yeah can be made actually!! On every step in his career he has proven that he’s a perfect actor in any role. His life has been no less than a movie story but after getting failed everytime in NSD he had proven himself to everyone. Started his career from critically acclaimed shekhar kapur’s Bandit Queen, played the role of Man Singh after replaced in the role of Vikram Mallah by Nirmal Pandey, he performed the role so best, RGV could not recognize him even though he was working with him and directed him. Did not had the looks for the typical bollywood hero, it was hard to get films and roles but still after the struggle he gave master class performance in Satya and Shool and above all, Tamanna as well not to forget Pinjar later on. He was perfect in serious drama roles and negative roles. But then came KAUN. One of the very few movies of its kind in India, the real thriller genre. Here, he just went above everything. He gave that spark that he can do anything!! The role in Aks were he was opposite to Amitabh Bachchan, his vicious character could be said a world class performance. He kept doing everything in best level in all the roles he got, a careful father and husband (Swami), patriot soldier (LOC kargil) and very underrated 1971, the proud fiancee (Veer-Zara), the comic character (Money hai to honey hai), a cheated lover (Dus tola) and so on. His remarkable performance was in Dus Kahaniyaan as well, outstanding. And then came, the iconic Gangs of Wasseypur!! And the whole nation knew his ability. It was satisfying for his fan he found the true platform of those genre and movies which India needs to make a mark on the international level. He is one of those actors. His recent released Aligarh gave more of is acting.

3. Boman Irani

3 idiots | VC films from
3 idiots | © VC films from

Now this man, he’s so underrated people don’t even consider to call him one. But please!! When did anyone look at that! I remember him from my childhood memories, shouting “तुम्हे जल्दी चलना चाहिये” and literally transforming inside a devil. He was great!! But when did he was recognized? I believe that Doordarshan ad was in 1995. So many years this fine actor was where? a waiter at Taj hotels and making potato chips in a small shop?!! When I heard (definitely did not watch) about Happy New Year, everyone was having mixed reviews and most of all were bad, but one thing everyone was saying, ‘Boman was great in this movie’ and I was like wait… ‘In which movie he was not great? or extraordinary? or genius? or iconic?‘ These are not just words to write. They are meaningful words, as much as this man’s acting. This is a disgrace and misfortune that people don’t even know about the films he has done. People just don’t give too much attention about the transformation he makes in his characters, because they are so natural we don’t have to think. 72 films so far.. so more to come. Each character : brilliant!! Can’t write anything here, there would a be a book needed rather than a blog paragraph for his each character!!

2. Salman Khan

Kyon Ki | from
Kyon Ki © Orion Pictures | from

Surprised? or literally shocked??
Well, everyone is thinking about the star, the superstar, the bhaijaan, the blockbusters!! But the fan following and everything has made him JUST A STAR!! Well, if taking a look in the performance like tere naam, he did some serious work that almost everyone agrees!! But looking at his other works like Kyonki, that was also some serious work. Movie was not so great, but his performance was sooperb!! Some scenes like that importance of Music in life, which is defining his range. Such a way, great work in London Dreams as well, almost the whole movie performance was outstanding, but the scene in which he sings the song in different genres of music and take everyone away!! Great!! But the bad-luck here is about the type of roles, the roles are not that serious which makes to take him not as a serious actor, that’s a price has to pay. Another great example is Dabangg (part 1 only), yes, a masala film and same kinda role as well, but the way he has portrayed the character on the silverscreen which is on a level of perfection can be said. Taking away some overwhelming action/fight scenes and all then the performance is damn good!! People will agree with his recent performance in sultan and some would say in Bajrangi Bhaijaan was some serious acting. Well, I believe he has still a lot to give!!

1. Rajesh Khanna

Rajesh Khanna in Ittefaq
Rajesh Khanna in Ittefaq © BR Films, United Productions

Now people will say, the greatest superstar of the industry in the list?? Yes!! He was and still is the paramount of stardom in the industry, everyone says no one has seen the stardom as he experienced, but ya, the same way people just talk about his stardom, not his acting ability!! Well, not just the best romantic star of the country, he was a serious and versatile actor. Well, honestly I never liked the superstar Rajesh Khanna, but the ‘actor’ Rajesh Khanna is my favorite. The man, who was not just a style icon, but also the master of expressions!! He had the ability to make people feel the emotions and entire situation just by his face expressions only!! He could render the expression on the silver screen just in a close up which maybe lots of actors would not have done in their entire career!! But the badluck is, whenever his name comes, everyone talks about the star and the era he had and the loveletters and the car turning pink from white and … ahh!! No one ever even care he was an actor too!! Well, entire a different point of view is needed for that. My favorite is Ittefaq from his early days and AmarPrem, an alltime classic!! In both the movies, he was a bit differ than his typical superstar roles, but the best!! Dushman, Avtaar, NamakHaram, Aradhana, Amrut.. countless movies with different kind of roles and everyone performed in the way!! But to be honest, I’ve only find the critics who were not the fans of Rajesh Khanna, has taken him as a serious actor and praised his work. He is no more with us, but whenever he is on the screen, he just give joy and make us feel alive and this magic will always be there!! What more accomplishment for an actor would be there??


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