If there is one thing about Bollywood that annoys me even more than the mediocre remixes of perfectly brilliant songs, it’s the stereotypical casting that some actors are reduced to, time after time.
1. Aparshakti Khurana
Aparshakti Khurana is brilliant as the ‘hero ka dost’ every time he appears on screen, because he is a brilliant actor. Instead of using him for comic relief, creators could cast him in the lead role and he won’t be stealing the spotlight from the stars!
2. Pavan Malhotra
Whether he is playing a coach or a relative, Pavan Malhotra is mostly the supporting character in the story, more often than not, playing a Sikh character. Though he is brilliant in even those brief moments, it wouldn’t hurt to see him essay diverse roles – especially with web series proving he is just as brilliant in a lead role, as he is in a supporting role.
3. Seema Pahwa
The first time Bollywood gave us a relatable desi mother, we were overjoyed to see realism. But soon, Bollywood slipped into old tricks and began casting Seema Pahwa as the desi mother in every film. While she is amazing each time, she is also talented enough to portray varied characters on screen.
4. Ayesha Raza
Yet another actor who’s played a mother, every time she’s appeared on-screen – that too, to actors who are actually older than her in real life. What’s with this ageism, and when will Bollywood stop it?
5. Varun Dhawan
Dhawan starred in Badlapur and October and gave me hope that there’s more to him than just being the man-child acting out tropes that weren’t funny when they first appeared in the 90s. Unfortunately, his remaining filmography regularly dashes those hopes.
6. Jimmy Sheirgill
The number of times Sheirgill’s characters have been ditched in love would make even a die-hard romantic give up on romance. Seriously though Bollywood, why won’t you give him a leading role? Possibly in a romantic story that doesn’t end in heartbreak for him, though he’s certainly capable of acing different roles as well.
7. Sheeba Chaddha
Sheeba Chadha is a far more talented actor than many of our leading ladies. And yet, she is one of Bollywood’s most famous ‘single-scene’ actors – who are literally in the film for one scene and still leave an impact. While she hasn’t been stereotyped in terms of the character (she’s played a socialite, a disgruntled relative, a ‘moderately famous’ superstar’s wife, and whatnot), the screen space she’s been awarded over the years has been far too brief!
8. Kartik Aryan
Are you a writing about sexist man-child with a penchant for ranting? Then Kartik Aryan is the man for the role. The level of hatred his characters project towards women is frankly, disturbing. Also, having watched him in the short film Silvat, I was hopeful of seeing characters with more in-depth. But perhaps I am expecting too much!
9. Aditya Roy Kapur
If alcohol brands were allowed to advertise, Kapur would be the obvious choice. Because his characters’ solution to heartbreak, or for that matter any inconvenience in life, is to drown in liquor and tears. At this point, I only have a faint memory of seeing him in Action Replayy and appreciating his subtle comic timing and charm. Because sadly, Kapoor hasn’t replayed those kind of roles, or anything different for that matter, in years.
10. Divya Dutta
The actor who Bollywood hasn’t tired of casting as the ‘heroine ka dost‘ or, the ‘hero ki behen‘, Divya Dutta’s talents have been underutilized for far too long! She’s a national film award winner, and yet, Bollywood can’t see beyond the stereotypes.
11. Kirron Kher
If she’s done 10 movies in her career, she’s been phenomenal in all. And played a loud mother (mostly, Punjabi) in 8 of them. Why? You only have to see her in Devdas to know she is an actor par excellence. Sadly, we only get to see her in different versions of the same character.
12. Deepak Dobriyal
If the character brief reads, “hero’s friend, but make it funnier”, then Deepak Dobriyal gets cast. Seriously, he managed to steal attention from Saif in Omkara, and this is what Bollywood relegates him to? Clearly, Bollywood missed the memo but we don’t mind repeating ourselves – we need to see Dobriyal in varied roles in mainstream cinema.
These are just a few actors who Bollywood never fails to stereotype. But why? Let’s give actors a chance to flex their acting muscles, and let the audience decide if there is more to them than the typical roles being used to define their career.