Indian actors are going places. Deepika Padukone just nailed her Hollywood debut with her portrayal of Serena Unger in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. And Priyanka Chopra looks like the epitome of a femme fatale in Baywatch where she stars alongside Hollywood hotties Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. But the coverage for these two actors and the movies have been beyond normal.

There were many before these two. Many Indian actors have worked beyond Bollywood and received acclaim for it. Here are 9 such actors and their performances:

1. Gaurav Chopra in Blood Diamond

This little known TV actor who appeared on shows like Left Right Left and Uttaran, had a surprising cameo in Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond. Also starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Honsou, the Indian actor played the role of a camera-man covering the civil war of Sierra Leone in the mid 90s. In one scene, DiCaprio grabs the actor by his collar which is surely the highlight of his career.

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2. Irrfan in A Mighty Heart

Long before Irrfan became a household name with movies like Paan Singh Tomar, and added a number of Hollywood projects in his kitty, he starred alongside Angelina Jolie. Playing a Pakistani cop Zeeshan Kazmi, he helped Jolie’s character look for her husband/Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who gets kidnapped.


3. Nimrat Kaur in One Night With The King

She was known as the girl from the Dairy Milk ad before she became a worldwide phenomenon in Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox and then went on to play a significant role in the fourth season of Showtime’s Homeland. But did you know before that, Nimrat Kaur appeared in a small role in One Night With The King which is based on the novel called Hadassah?


4. Om Puri in Charlie Wilson’s War

He is an actor of international repute as he starred in the movie adaptation of Dominique La Pierre’s City of Joy and many other projects. But one gem of a role which turned out to be a surprise for most was in Charlie Wilson’s War starring Tom Hanks, where Puri played the Pakistani president Zia-Ul-Haq. A role which could have easily been a bumbling stereotype, was skillfully crafted into a memorable performance.


5. Roshan Seth in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Having starred as Jawahar Lal Nehru in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, Roshan Seth also played the role of a Maharaja in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom. Seth was accompanied by fellow Indian actor Amrish Puri who played a high priest of a cult worshipping Goddess Kali who offers human sacrifice.


6. Ali Fazal in Furious 7

Fazal, who shot to fame with his little cameo in Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots, surprisingly found himself a small role in the billion dollar Furious franchise. He played the role of Safar, someone who helps Dominic’s (played by Vin Diesel) crew to accomplish a heist in Abu Dhabi.


7. Freida Pinto in You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

Having made her breakthrough in Danny Boyle’s Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, Pinto went on to star in a wide variety of A-list Hollywood movies including Tarsem Singh’s Immortals and Rise of The Planet of the Apes, alongside Andy Serkis and James Franco. But one small role that you might have probably missed is her part in Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, where she acted with Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins and Naomi Watts.


8. Anupam Kher in Lust, Caution

Starring in this Ang Lee directorial venture, Kher played the role of Hali Salahuddin. The film is based on true events when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Shanghai and ruled it through a puppet government. The story follows a few student revolutionaries who plan on overthrowing the puppet government by seducing the chief recruiter.


9. Naseeruddin Shah in Zinda Bhaag

Shah who earlier appeared in Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Kay Liye, also starred in the lesser known Zinda Bhaag where he played the role of Puhlwan. The film was Pakistan’s first entry to the Oscars in the category of the Best Foreign Film in 50 years.


10. Om Puri in The Hundred Foot Journey

Produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, the veteran Bollywood actor was seen romancing Helen Mirren in this cross-over production. The film which saw a culture clash of the Punjabis vs the French, saw Puri play a North Indian butter chicken-making restaurateur who takes on a Michelin Star restaurant from across the street. 


 Watch these today and if I’ve missed out on anything, please leave them in the comments.