What does it take for someone to make it in Bollywood as an actor? Obvious film connections aside, it's the usual combination of talent and hard work, right? But if you think about it, that's never really enough! Haven't we all seen talented actors work their ass off, trying to make a name out of themselves, only to then fade away into oblivion? The right answer is talent with a stroke of luck. For it's luck that makes sure that you're the right person at the right time, doing the right role.
Sometimes, it's the actor's fault but other times, the industry is to blame. Some actors end up picking all the wrong movies and some don't even get the choice. Some other times, it's a case of both.
Why is the industry not offering these actors the right opportunities? Is it typecasting? Nepotism? Or does the industry not produce enough scripts of quality? It'll be a while before we get the answer.
For now, here are 12 actors who definitely deserve better roles:
For an actor who started out with Iqbal (2005) and Dor (2006), it's a pity seeing him in Golmaal Returns (2008) and Housefull 2 (2012), films that clearly don't deserve his talent. Though he's now started focusing on Marathi cinema - he has started his production house, Affluence Movies - he's trying to have a parallel career in Hindi cinema with films like Om Shanti Om (2007) or the upcoming Wah Taj.
You may have noticed Arunoday more for his well-built physique but his work in movies, especially Yeh Saali Zindagi (2011), proves that the guy can act too. Weren't we all charmed by him in Aisha (2010)? Why is it then that he's been relegated to playing the baddie in cringe-worthy films such as Main Tera Hero (2014) and the disastrous Mohenjo Daro (2016)?
From Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke (1993) to Raja Hindustani (1996) and Zakhm (1998), didn't we all like Kunal as a child actor? Even his debut as an adult with Kalyug (2005) was much lauded. Since then, barring Go Goa Gone (2013), we haven't seen this talented actor in anything consequential. Due to a lack of good opportunities, he chooses not to work much and isn't that a waste of his potential?
With Shaitan (2011), Gulshan proved that he's an actor to watch out for. Unfortunately, Bollywood could never figure out what to do with him. Barring Hunterrr (2015), he's mostly played supporting parts in commercial Hindi movies like Ram-Leela (2013) and Dum Maaro Dum (2011). His unconventional looks maybe a deterrent for him but he's making a mark in alternative cinema. You'll see him next in Konkona Sen-Sharma's directorial debut Death In A Gunj later this year.
From reality shows to VJing, singing to acting, Ayushmann has done it all. We instantly fell in love with him in Vicky Donor (2012) but post that, things haven't been easy for him either. Films like Nautanki Saala (2013) and Bewakoofiyaan (2014) did nothing for his career and though he eventually found his groove again with Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), he still isn't flooded with good offers. What keeps him busy is his music career - he routinely comes out with chartbusting singles - even as we eagerly wait for his movies.
The film industry clearly hasn't been fair to Jimmy Shergill. Nothing else explains why this actor, who's been phenomenal in films like Maachis (1996), Haasil (2003) and Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster (2013), has to make do with supporting parts in Bullet Raja (2013) and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015). Hindi films may not be giving him much but now, he's making a strong mark in Punjabi cinema with films like Dharti (2011) and Taur Mittran Di (2012).
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
From playing the negative lead in No One Killed Jessica (2011) to giving us the perfect best friend in Raanjhanaa (2013), Zeeshan has perfectly portrayed two ends of the spectrum. However, barring a supporting though impactful role in Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015), we haven't seen much of this actor on screen. We're hoping his next film Raees, alongside SRK brings him back to the limelight.
Television heartthrob Rajeev made his much-talked debut in the movies with Aamir (2008). He followed it up with Shaitan (2009) and everything was going well. But soon, this actor, who has a pretty solid fan following thanks to his stint on television, found himself without substantial offers. We do see him in films off-and-on but none of those even remotely justify his talent. Quite sad, considering he started off with such promise, right?
He first got noticed with No One Killed Jessica (2011) and since then, we've seen Neil in quite a few amazing projects both in films and on TV. When not working in films like Shaitan (2011) and NH 10 (2015), he's busy working in India's official adaptation of 24 (2013) or acting in Bang Baaja Baaraat (2015), a YouTube mini-series. Why can't we have more of him, Bollywood?
This handsome actor with curly locks and lean, long legs has always been a favourite with the ladies. Too bad for them though, for he isn't seen on screen as much as they'd like. Barring Rang De Basanti (2006) and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (2012), he hasn't been offered anything worthwhile either. However, things might change for him with Gauri Shinde's Dear Zindagi and Tamil film Veeram, both slated for release this year.
He's another actor who's proven his mettle in both negative and positive characters. Yet Deepak Dobriyal isn't seen in films frequently enough. He first got popularity for Omkara (2006) and since then, his most talked-about work has been as Madhavan's sidekick Pappi in Tanu Weds Manu (2011) and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015). While we may mourn the lack of good offers for him in films, he's busy working in theatre to polish the actor within him.
He may be the son of action-director Shaam Kaushal but Vicky found his calling in acting instead. After assisting Anurag Kashyap, he finally earned his acting debut in the internationally-acclaimed Masaan (2015), a film that won him tremendous acclaim. Since then, he's followed it up with bravura performances in Zubaan and Raman Raghav 2.0 this year. But sadly, the meaty offers aren't exactly pouring in for him.
Also, as pointed out by our reader Digant Pathak, Rahul Bose too deserves a mention in this list. Having proved his mettle in both theatre and direction, acting in Indian and international movies, Rahul has never really found roles in mainstream Bollywood, worthy enough of his calibre. Last seen in Dil Dhadakne Do as Priyanka's sexist husband, we'd certainly like to see more of him on-screen.