It’s no secret that the Hindi film industry hasn’t always been kind to talented actors. Whether it’s because of typecasting, nepotism, or merely a lack of creativity, but multiple times brilliant actors have been relegated to poorly developed roles, blink-and-miss appearances, or mediocre films:
1. Pankaj Tripathi in Super 30
One of the biggest miscasting in Bollywood will be Hrithik Roshan playing Anand Kumar in the same film that cast Pankaj Tripathi in a role so small it was over before it even began. Honestly, instead of brown-facing Hrithik, the filmmakers should have just cast Tripathi, who not only looked more like Kumar but also had greater experience with regional dialects.
2. Tillotama Shome in Hindi Medium
Shome left the audience impressed with her debut in Monsoon Wedding itself. And after her critically acclaimed performance in Qissa, there was no reason why she shouldn’t have led mainstream movies. And yet she was cast in a small role of an educational consultant in Hindi Medium, and later, again in Angrezi Medium.
While Hindi Medium was a good film and Shome did complete justice to her brief role, one can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to see her ace a meatier role.
3. Tabu in Golmaal Again
Golmaal was a franchise that should have ended after the first film itself. But to add insult to injury, the filmmakers not only ‘treated’ us to a fourth, unfunny sequel, but also cast Tabu in a role that added nothing to her stellar filmography or to the film’s story. Though to be honest, the latter could not have been saved, no matter what role Tabu would have been cast in.
4. Jimmy Sheirgill in Judgementall Hai Kya
It’s no secret that Bollywood has, time after time, been unkind to Jimmy Sheirgill’s talent. But watching Sheirgill in Judgementall Hai Kya was a pleasant surprise that ended far too quickly. To be fair, Judgementall was one of the finer Hindi films Jimmy was cast in. And yes, it’s understandable that not all characters can be awarded equal screentime in a story. But why is it, that no matter the story, Bollywood always ends up shelving Sherigill in blink-and-miss appearances and supporting roles?
5. Gulshan Devaiah in Junooniyat
Devaiah doesn’t just shine on-screen but rather explodes with talent, then be it as the brat with anger issues in Shaitan, the ‘sex addict’ in Hunterrr, or the dual role of a Karate guru and villain in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. But, in a movie that was forgotten faster than the industry forgets female actors over 30, Devaiah was cast in one of the most cliched Bollywood roles ever.
6. Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub in Mission Mangal
I almost picked Thugs of Hindostan, but then that film wasted everyone’s talent, lead or supporting. But, Mission Mangal not only let down most of its female characters, but also an actor like Zeeshan Ayyub, who deserved far more screen space than what he was allotted. Not only was his character like a breath of fresh air, but he had already proved his acting prowess with movies like Raanjhana, the Tanu weds Manu series, Shahid, etc. And yet, he barely got two scenes in the entire film.
7. Manoj Bajpayee in Mrs. Serial Killer
Someday I’d really like to know what convinced an actor as brilliant as Manoj Bajpayee to star in a film as senseless as Mrs. Serial Killer. Whatever the reason might be, what no one can deny is that Mrs. Serial Killer had three victims, the script, the audience, and Bajpayee’s talent that was laid to a complete and utter waste.
10. Adil Hussain in Kabir Singh and Good Newwz
Adil Hussain is a star whose performances have brought him international acclaim and made India proud on a global scale. And yet, mainstream Bollywood is far too comfortable casting him in roles that are easily replaceable and barely allow him to flex those acting muscles. Talk about a travesty!
11. Vikrant Massey in Half Girlfriend
A film that left us crying for all the wrong reasons had but one sliver of brilliance, Massey’s role as Shailesh. And even though Vikrant’s role lasted the same length as one of the many songs in the film, no one can deny that he did a far better job than both of the lead actors.
12. Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Kick
When Nawaz first appeared in the film, I was excited to see him in action. But by the time the film ended, I was the one left kicking myself for expecting a mainstream movie to give a better-developed role to an actor like Nawaz. Because, barring Bajrangi Bhaijaan, unless it’s playing a villain, or worse, a gimmicky sidekick/comical character, few mainstream movies have truly utilized Nawaz’s talents in the right way.
We clearly have a great talent pool. Why are we then still stuck with miscasting?