Every time an Indian actor, primarily from Bollywood, makes it to the global stage by being part of a Hollywood film, we cheer for them, we firmly stand behind them and we buy tickets to watch those films. So forgive me for feeling a little cheated when our performers are given roles shorter than ads between overs, and as insignificant as ads between overs.
1. Anil Kapoor – Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol
Following the success of Slumdog Millionaire, actor Anil Kapoor was greatly advertised for his role in MI 4. Nobody knew what character he was playing but having Tom Cruise promote the film in India with Kapoor by his side indicated a meaty role. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Anil Kapoor got more screentime in his new Licious ad that he did in the film.
2. Priyanka Chopra: The Matrix Resurrections
No one actually expected Chopra to have a big role in the film, given that the entire movie was going to be about Neo and Trinity. But Chopra’s involvement in the film was seriously hyped up regardless, at least amongst Indian audiences. Unfortunately, for those who watched the film, the realisation that the hype was just that, a hype, came Rs 300 too late.
3. Amitabh Bachchan: The Great Gatsby
Bachchan has long been known as one of the greatest actors India has ever produced. While many may disagree, his mass appeal would suggest otherwise. So it would only make sense that Big B would have had some recognition in Hollywood for his work. And while he still commands a huge fan base, his blink and miss cameo in The Great Gatsby is definitely not responsible for it.
4. Ali Fazal: Fast and Furious 7
Fazal’s inclusion in the film was in itself a surprise to Indian fans. But it was a weird cameo. Firstly, it was small and underwhelming, especially for a film with as diverse a cast as the Fast and Furious movies. Secondly, he wasn’t even playing an Indian guy, which is not really a problem, I suppose but it still struck me as weird.
5. Huma Quereshi: Army of the Dead
Make no mistake, Qureshi was good in the little role she had in the little screentime she was afforded. But that’s the problem- it was a little role that failed to leave a mark on anyone who watched the film.
6. Amrish Puri : Indian Jones and The Temple of Doom
Puri played the main villain of this Indian Jones’ adventure. Problem is, he probably shouldn’t have. His character was used as a caricature of Indians and presented to the world a savage people in a savage land with strange eating habits.
7. Pankaj Tripathi: Extraction
To be fair, Extraction did have a diverse cast, with the film being based in India and Bangladesh. But the one actor everyone was super hyped up for was Pankaj Tripathi. The ace Bollywood actor was perfect in the role he was cast in, except we didn’t really get to see much of him on screen, even for a cameo to have any impact. It was a role anyone could have played and it wouldn’t have made an ounce of difference to the film.
8. Bipasha Basu: The Lovers
Everyone loved Basu’s look as the Maratha warrior but the movie was so distinguishably bad that I wouldn’t even suggest it to my worst enemy in the world, i.e, my IITian cousin. There isn’t anything else to add here, it was just a really bad film.
9. Deepika Padukone: XXX The Return of Xander Cage
Padukone was kind of the lead actress of the film but the film had Vin Diesel in the lead, so naturally, her character was reduced to a mannequin with an Indian accent choreographed for the sole purpose of looking nice and supporting our main man, Cage. The way they promoted the movie in India, you would have believed Deepika was winning awards for this film. But she didn’t. Nobody did.
Look, most of these people are still making good cinema and TV shows every year and they should be given better roles in Hollywood. India is a huge market for cinema everywhere. So, if you are intent on promoting films with the premise of an Indian actor/actress on the poster, you might as well write better characters for them.