Remember the days when Bollywood movies were bigger than their lead actors? The time when there was an elaborate cast and everybody had a significant role to play? Unlike today, where we see the hero doing pretty much everything, from comedy to romance to saving the world. We're talking about the good ol' '90s and early 2000s. There was next-level slapstick comedy, highly-infused emotions, badass dance moves and loud-yet-believable fight sequences. And no, it wasn't just the lead actor or actress who made that happen!
From Reema Lagoo being the generous mother to Johnny Lever tickling our funny bone with his comic timing, these actors were equally responsible for the success or failure of the movie. Too bad we don't see them on-screen anymore.
Wondering where you're favourite character actors have vanished? We've got all the updates!
1. Renuka Shahane
Best known for her role in the big Indian family drama, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! Renuka Shahane set pretty high Bhabiji goals for Indians all over the country. She was the reigning queen of Indian television back in the day, and had also played SRK's love interest in Circus, much before he became the Badshah of B Town.
These days Renuka is deeply involved in Marathi cinema and was last seen in Highway (Marathi). Apart from that she was in a comedy drama series called Kabhi Aise Geet Gaya Karo, which was aired on Disney Channel.
2. Kader Khan
A '90s movie was incomplete without Kader Khan in it. He would be the flamboyant, yet desi rich father, always trying to save his daughter from falling in love with a poor dude.
Kader Khan was last seen in the Arjun Kapoor-starrer Tevar. A while back, there were rumours about his demise, which were shunned away. The veteran actor is currently under constant medical care, but the word is that he will be seen in Hera Pheri 3. Given the nature of the Hera Pheri franchise, we're hoping to see Kadar Sir in his beloved comic avatar.
3. Johnny Lever
This man pretty much defined comedy when it came to Bollywood. He has acted in more than 300 movies and has been nominated 13 times for the Best Comic Actor category by Filmfare.
The man has cut down on his Bollywood projects. But, it was a pleasant surprise to see him be the funnyman that he is, in Housefull 3, this year. Apart from that Lever does a lot of stand-up comedy shows, where you can catch him perform live. Now, who wouldn't want to see the king of Bollywood comedy perform on stage, right?
4. Farida Jalal
One of the most popular and loved faces in Bollywood, Farida Jalal has played some unforgettable roles. Her cute face and versatile acting made her look perfect for whatever role she played.
Currently, Jalal can be spotted in a TV show called Satrangi Sasural on Zee TV, where she plays a grandmother. And she's still killing it!
5. Archana Puran Singh
From Miss Briganza to the judge who would break into uncontrollable laughter on Comedy Circus, Archana Puran Singh is all about entertainment.
She was last seen in Dolly ki Doli (2015) and we hope to see her bring some other movies alive with her comic timing and lively presence. She's still very much in Bollywood and we would love to see more of her!
6. Mahesh Thakur
You've seen Mahesh Thakur be the aagyakaari son or son-in-law in many movies. His innocent face and high on sanskar characters can totally get him in the race for being the next Alok Nath.
The actor is currently seen in a TV show called Ishqbaaaz, that airs on Star Plus.
7. Mohnish Bahl
You remember Vivek Babu from Hum Saath - Saath Hain? If Renuka Shahane set Bhabhi goals, then Mohnish could be credited for setting bade bhaiyya goals for an entire generation.
While his last stint on celluloid was as the CM in Salman Khan starer Jai Ho, you can find him hosting Savdhaan India on Life OK, along with other TV personalities like Hiten Tejwani, Sushant Singh etc.
8. Rajeev Verma
If Kader Khan was the witty father, then Rajeev Verma was the serious yet understanding father, in a number of movies from that era. An architect by profession, Rajeev took to acting and became the baap, quite literally, onscreen!
Rajeev's love for acting in immense and he has taken to TV in order to express the same. He was a part of the first season of a TV show called Chhoti Bahu, which aired on Zee TV. However, we'd love to see him spread some fatherly love on the big screen sometime soon!
9. Himani Shivpuri
If you don't see her in the movies, you can definitely find her on TV. Himani Shivpuri has done it all. From being a comic to a vamp, she has played all kinds of roles with equal grace and perfection.
Currently you can see her indulging in the supernatural obsession that's taken over the Indian television industry. She plays one of the lead actor's mother in a show called Vishkanya...Ek Anokhi Prem Kahani, that airs on Zee TV.
10. Rajesh Khera
Remember Maddy from Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin? No! Okay, the do you remember the Onida Devil?Well, Rajesh Khera was the man who played that iconic character which pretty much changed the rules of advertising in the '90s.
He was seen on Colors' historical drama, Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat, and is currently playing the antagonist on a show called Baal Veer, that you can catch on Sab TV. Apart from that he is also the new addition to the cast of the second season of 24.
11. Sushma Seth
While Sushma Seth has played multiple characters in movies, her most loved character till date is that of Dadi from the iconic TV show Hum Log.
The veteran actress has really cut down on her appearances on TV, and was last seen on the big screen, in the multi-starer Shaandaar. But, all said and done, she still remains the sassy dadi and that's something nobody can take away from us!
12. Mukesh Rishi
Legends aren't made overnight. But, this man broke all rules with this dialogue: "Mera naam hai Bulla, rakhta hoon main khulla!" With this one dialogue, Mukesh Rishi gathered a cult following and we are not complaining. Because if you haven't seen Gunda, then you don't deserve to be called a '90s kid!
Although it's a little difficult to move over Bulla, we'll now come to what Mukesh Rishi is up to. As far as cinema is concerned, he has been a part of many regional movie industries, apart from just acting in Bollywood. He was last seen in the Telegu movie Sardaar Gabbar Singh, which released in April. this year.
13. Ashish Vidyarthi
You knew something bad was going to happen whenever you saw this man losing his shit in a movie. What Prakash Raj is today, Ashish Vidyarthi was in every '90s masala movie.
But, he is much more than just Bollywood's baddie. Like Mukesh Rishi, Vidyarthi has also done a lot of regional movies. Currently, he is playing Roshan Sherchan, a narcoterrorist in season 2 of 24.
14. Vikram Gokhale
From Marathi theatre to Bollywood movies and Hindi television, Vikram Gokhale has done it all. Fondly remembered as Aishwarya's strict father in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Gokhale has played a variety of powerful roles.
Vikram was last seen in the Bollywood thriller called Traffic, and acted alongside Manoj Bajpayee and Jimmy Shergill. The movie received much critical acclaim.
15. Smita Jaykar
Yet another iconic mother from the diary of Bollywood, Smita Jaykar defined the word 'maa' for the movies from the 2000s. Be it the proud mother in Devdas or the completely chill one from Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Smita was has molded herself as per every script.
She has taken a step back as far as acting is concerned and is now invested in spiritual activities. Even though she can be seen in the movies every now and then, she conducts full time lectures on auras and chakras.
16. Milind Gunaji
You've seen Milind do a number of roles, be it in the movies or on TV. But what you probably don't know is that he has worked extensively to promote wildlife safety. He has been the Maharasthra Government's brand ambassador for forest and wildlife and is currently serving as the brand ambassador for Mahabaleshwar.
Apart from his life off screen, Milind was last seen in Everest, a drama series that aired on Star Plus.
17. Reema Lagoo
If Alok Nath is Babuji, Reema Lagoo is Maa ji. It was impossible to make a movie without having Reema Lagoo to play the mother's role.
As far as her recent work is concerned she is a very prominent figure in the Marathi theatre scene. The actress made her comeback on Indian television after a long gap of 9 years with Mahesh Bhatt's serial Namkaran. Apart from that the Reema was seen at her witty best AIB’s epic video Facebook Pe Mummy! She also participates as in international film festivals as a judge, every now and then.
All of them were an indispensable part of our growing up years and we'd love to see more of them!
Have we missed out on your favourite character actor from the '90s? Let us know in the comments section below.