Oscar Wilde once famously said: “The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.” A film industry that churns out more than 1000 movies annually is home to some actors who are truly versatile but underrated. They are known to deliver top notch performances (much better than super stars of commercial cinema) but rarely receive the adulation and compensation akin to those promoted repeatedly by media houses. Stars (and not actors), who are over 45 and still play the role of a 28-year-old, are acceptable to the audiences but actors who give dazzling performances in typically off-beat roles are not. Here is a list of top 10 most underrated Bollywood actors undoubtedly better than those we call best.
10. Neil Nitin Mukesh:
Grandson of legendary singer Mukesh and despite being immensely talented, Neil Nitin Mukesh is still an underrated Bollywood actor in the industry. Unlike most others with a heritage in the Hindi film industry, he has impressed audiences with his performances in movies like ‘Johhny Gaddaar’, ‘Lafangey Parandey’, ‘Sat Khoon Maaf’ and the recent ‘David’. However, he still finds it difficult to qualify as a strong name in the league of star actors.
9. Abhay Deol:
Recognized for his epic role in ‘Dev D’, Abhay Deol is a marvelous actor. He is another of those actors who has not achieved the kind of recognition he deserved like most of his contemporaries. The reason could be attributed to the kind of roles he plays and the low profile he maintains. Perhaps the media houses like to write about those who fight in parties or have countless affairs.
8. Vijay Raaz:
An old hand at theater, Vijay Raaz is famous for his humorous roles in the movies like ‘Run’, ‘Monsoon Wedding’ and ‘Delhi Belly’. He is regarded as one of the most popular comedians in the Hindi film industry. However, he has not been admired on a large scale even after so many years in the industry. His Kauwa Biryani act in the movie ‘Run’ received huge accolades from cinema-buffs but Raaz has been typecast as a comic actor which has diminished his range as an actor.
7. Jimmy Shergill:
An actor with striking looks, Jimmy Shergill works in both Punjabi and Hindi film industries. ‘Maachis’ was his debut movie as an actor, and thereon he continued playing major roles in films. He is surely one of those actors who, despite possessing all the attributes of a lead actor, could not click with the audience. The reason can be attributed to the lack of impressive roles in his film career or his own choice of films.
6. Konkana Sen Sharma:
Daughter of famous Bengali filmmaker and actress Aparna Sen, Konkana Sen Sharma is known for her off-beat roles. It would not be an overstatement if she could be termed as the queen of contemporary parallel cinema. Film critics always have the best things to say about her but the audiences, and the media fail to identify her talent. A National Award winner for ‘Life in a Metro’, Konkana is still unable to find herself stand on the same pedestal as other leading ladies in Bollywood despite being far superior than them.
5. Rahul Bose:
Had Rahul Bose been a Hollywood actor, he’d have won one of the top awards of that industry. A famous screenplay writer, actor, director and social activist, Rahul Bose is another actor in the Hindi Film industry who is greatly underrated. Despite having delivered striking performances in a number of movies, he is not termed as superstar – which he actually is. His choice of movies and style of acting make him more eligible for Hollywood cinema. This is perhaps the only reason behind his underrated position in Bollywood.
4. R. Madhavan:
The famous actor, writer, film producer and television host, R. Madhavan has been one of the most famous underdogs in the Hindi film industry for years. He is one of the most renowned actors in his home state of Tamil Nadu but not in Bollywood. His Hindi accent is okay and his performance is beyond doubt; however, even his recent performance in the acclaimed movie ‘3 Idiots’ didn’t bring him the kind of attention it brought Aamir Khan. In fact, Aamir Khan (no offence meant) dominated the whole film, just like he had in ‘Rang De Basanti’ which also starred Madhavan.
3. Akshaye Khanna:
Son of the legendary actor Vinod Khanna, Akshay has been a silent player in all movies in his career despite being a talented actor. He is known for his expressive eyes and unusually gripping acting style. Acclaimed for his performance in ‘Gandhi, My Father’, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and others, he is still not rated among the top notch actors in the industry. The actor has become highly selective in his roles.
2. Manoj Bajpai:
Distinguished for playing offbeat and unconventional roles in numerous movies, Manoj Bajpai is a gem of an underrated bollywood actor who was recently appreciated for his role of Sardar Khan in ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’. A veteran theater artist and winner of two National Awards in the past, the actor despite being appreciated by all, is still considered as an underachiever by Hindi film industry standards. But, of late, the winds of change in Bollywood are being felt.
1. K.K. Menon:
A man with versatile acting skills and a range of emotions, K.K. Menon is the most underrated actor in Bollywood. Known for his flawless dialogue delivery and typical gestures, Menon collected accolades and awards for films like ‘Hazaron Khwahishein Aisi’, ‘Shaurya’ and ‘Gulaal’. Menon shown through ‘Deewar’ which was a commercial flop starring Amitabh Bachchan. He is the one of those rare actors in the Hindi film industry who can breathe life into dead roles.