You look at an actor performing his role in a Bollywood movie and you realize that role was meant only for them. In a way, they immortalize the character they are playing with their brilliant performance. For example, we cannot imagine any other actor playing Babu Bhaiya, from the Hera Pheri franchise, than Paresh Rawal himself.

But sometimes, actors break away from the roles we have always seen them in. These roles are a stark contrast to what they always do. And surprisingly, the actors take us by surprise, making us sit back in amazement. We found a Reddit thread that discusses these unusual casting choices in Bollywood that have actually worked. Here are 15 such casting choices.

1. Saif Ali Khan in Omkara.
“Movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Salaam Namaste, Hum Tum had established Saif Ali Khan as an elite, urban, yuppy dude. And when Vishal Bharadwaj cast him as Iago, in a desi version of Othello, set against the backdrop of the Uttar Pradesh hinterland gangs, it seemed a strange choice. As Langda Tyagi, Saif slipped into the coarse, uncouth, expletive spewing rustic character effortlessly.” – LoneWolfInCyberia

Eros Now

2. Supriya Pathak in Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela.
“The actor was known for playing the sweet, girl next door kinda characters. She later went on to play the loving Maa, in a whole lot of Hindi movies. And that made her turn as Dhankor Baa, in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela. Such a revelation, a role you would not associate with her.” – LoneWolfInCyberia


3. “Sonu Nigam in Jaani Dushman. He was the only funny thing in that movie.” – Practical-Singer-979

India Forums

4. “Recently, Ranveer Brar in Modern Love: Mumbai. He was good.” – Outside_Cellist3740


5. “Konkona Sen Sharma in Wake Up Sid.” – Ok_Base_3100


6. Deepti Naval in NH-10.
“Deepti Naval was usually known for the sweet girl-next-door kinda roles in Hindi cinema. Later, she went on to do the loving Maa-Bhabhi roles. As Ammaji who offers shelter to Anushka Sharma, from a group of homicidal maniacs, we assume the same here. But then comes the shocking twist, and must say Deepti Naval was a revelation in the role.” – LoneWolfInCyberia

Live Mint

7. “Launching Dhanush in Raanjhanaa was very unusual. It took everyone by surprise.” – bssgopi

The Asian Age

7. “Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Kahaani, which made him a star later.” – AM2PM_


8. “I was surprised to see Alia Bhatt in Udta Punjab. That was just her third film.” – bssgopi


9. Rajat Kapoor in Hulla.
“It was a surprise to watch the usually suave Rajat Kapoor, in a totally different role in Hulla. Generally known for playing the urban upper-class elite kind of roles, with a suave manner, Rajat Kapoor impressed here, playing a miserly middle-class Mumbai flat owner, with crumpled clothes, oiled hair and all.” – LoneWolfInCyberia


9. “Bhumi Pednekar in Dum Laga Ke Haisha.” – Iamsrj_88

Amazon Prime Video

10. “Shahrukh Khan as Devdas.” – naughtyrobot725

Eros Now

11. Amitabh Bachchan as Inspector Vijay in Zanjeer.
“It doesn’t seem like an unusual casting now, but many doubted that the skinny lad from a few Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies and multiple flop romantic movies could play the role which made him the angry young man. Big B got the role after it was declined by Dharmendra, Dev Anand, Raj Kumar and Dilip Kumar.” – DrShail


12. “Hrithik Roshan as Vijay Deenanath Chauhan.” – naughtyrobot725

Hungry Sher

13. Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh in Sholay.
“It may feel like the same person now. But not only was Amjad Khan not the first choice (Danny Denzongpa), but everyone who saw him on set wanted to get him removed because of his weak voice and personality. His previous roles in movies were small and insignificant, so kudos to Ramesh Sippy to stand his ground and give birth to one of the most talented actors and one of the most iconic actors of all times.” – DrShail

Blog To Bollywood

Apart from the thread, here are our personal picks that worked well.

14. Riteish Deshmukh as Rakesh Mahadkar in Ek Villain.
The actor took a very different route in this antagonistic role. He is known for his comic roles. But his role as a cold-blooded killer was nothing short of phenomenal.

India TV

15. Ranbir Singh as Harpreet Singh Bedi in Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year.
Very different from all the romantic roles, Ranbir Singh has played. In Rocket Singh, Ranbir skillfully played the role of a student and a salesman.

The New York Times

Tell us what are the other unusual casting choices in Bollywood that worked well.