The best thing an actor could do is to disappear into the role he/she is playing and make us forget that we’re seeing a performance in the first place. But that also means that some of the best actors aren’t so easy to recognize. Some of the greatest working actors today seem perpetually overlooked. In their careers, some actors have consistently given critically-acclaimed performances, but have received little awards recognition or always seem shunted into small supporting roles in big blockbusters that don’t do justice to their talent.
Here are the 20 most underrated actors in Bollywood who deserve more love and bigger roles.
1- Vijay Raaz
He is an actor who is best known for his comic timing which only legends can pull off so effortlessly. Still, this amazing actor didn’t get many chances in Bollywood to prove his skills. Despite, of this fact, he showcased his superb performance in the movie, Raghu Romeo.
2- Kumud Mishra
This theater actor is best known for playing versatile roles with an ease. From a canteen owner turned manager in Rockstar to a government official in the movie Airlift, Kumud Mishra is that kind of actor you can easily steal the spotlight with his performance.
3- Swara Bhaskar
She is a breath of fresh air in Bollywood which only seeks for tall, fair and plastic faced actresses without an iota of expression on their faces. She played significant parts in Tanu Weds Manu and Raanjhana and didn’t fail to make her mark. She also created a lot of buzz with her bold character in Veere Di Wedding. Her girl-next-door looks and exotic features separate her from her contemporaries, who can hardly act and can only shed clothes in the form of entertainment.
4- Kay Kay Menon
It’s almost impossible to find an actor equipped with different emotions along with versatile acting skills and good look. But, one could find all these components in K.K. Menon who is a phenomenal actor and has successfully managed to bring the best out of him; nailing the roles he had been offered. It won’t be wrong to say that Menon is among those few actors who can breathe life into dead roles. With films like Gulaal, Black Friday and Haider the actor has rose above the contemporary lot and emerged as a game changer in Hindi cinema.
5- Sheeba Chaddha
Sheeba has done some excellent work for Hindi cinema in movies like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Badhaai Ho and many others and we also have immensely loved her acting. But, the only role she’s ever seen her in films is as, the mother. Honestly, though, if there were more parts written about for people of this stature, Indian Cinema would have been a happier place.
6- Vinay Pathak
The actor leads best in his comic roles with brilliant comic timings. He started his career by grabbing a small role in Deepa Mehta’s Fire and then started playing small roles in films like Badlapur, Rab Ne Banna Di Jodi, but, he is best known for his amazing acting in Khosla ka Ghosla and Bheja Fry. Talent, wit and intelligence are among the many traits he possesses.
7- Sanjay Mishra
Name out any famous comic movie, you will surely find this man in some scene of the movie. Sanjay has lauded his roles in small screen as well as on big screens. He started with Satya and Dil Se which got him the role of “Shukla”, in the famous TV Show ‘Office Office’. He appeared in small roles in many multi-starer big banner films. He is one of the few actors in Bollywood who can handle comedy as well as drama with equal ease.
8- Sayani Gupta
She is a little known actress but if you look at her journey in Bollywood you will find that she has always graced the silver screen with her amazing performance like in Margarita With a Straw. So, we can just hope to see more of her.
9- Gajraj Rao
He started his journey in acting by doing a minor role in Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen and since then, featured in bit roles in films and was seen in supporting characters in Talvar and Blackmail. But it was just last year when the tables turned for the actor when he played the middle-class family patriarch Mr Kaushik in Badhaai Ho. In an interview, Rao had said that it can only be destiny that an “unexpected” role like this brought him unprecedented attention so late in his career.
10- Ranvir Shorey
It’s really sad that this guy is still on the list. Despite being one of the most gifted actors with impeccable acting skills who can pull off any role with ease, he has not yet made the desired and deserving niche for himself. This talented actor deserves more fame and applause.
11- Rajit Kapoor
The original Byomkesh Bakshi – he played only one memorable role in Hindi films. In Vikram Bhatt’s Ghulam he plays the elder brother to Aamir Khan’s character and in one scene’s altercation, Kapoor shows his mettle as an actor. Terribly under utilised. His diction is precise and unmistakable, and a clear result of many years of remarkably nuanced stage performances.
12- Vikrant Massey
Massey started his journey as a TV actor, made a smooth transition into films by playing a supporting role to Ranveer Singh’s character in Lootera. He genuinely made me fall in love with him by his acting of a vulnerable broke lover in Ekta Kapoor’s web series – Broken but Beautiful. He deserves all the applause for his work. He was recently seen in Chhapaak opposite Deepika Padukone.
13- Manav Kaul
There are many who may falter standing across an actress like Vidya Balan but Manav held his own. His performance in Tumahri Sulu was widely appreciated, though he has proved his mettle as an actor numerous times with films like Wazir, Citylights, Kai Po Che! and many more. But has Bollywood given him the pie yet? The answer is similar to that for the other unconventional ‘character actors’ – a no.
14- Shernaz Patel
With a strong background of theater, Shernaaz has acted in both Hindi and English films. Simplistic portrayal and gorgeous expressions are her assets. Her role in Black was well received. She shined briefly in Guzaarish too, as well as in Rockstar and Talaash, but she has now been stereotyped as the stern, good-hearted mother to pretty/young faces in most of these films.
15- Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
The antagonist in No One Killed Jessica, he did a splendid job as the despicable Manu Sharma. He followed it up with supporting roles in Raanjhana and Mere Brother ki Dulhan. The talented actor was also seen playing a love-struck lawyer in Tanu Weds Manu Returns. So underrated.
16- Rajat Kapoor
Virtually unknown before his gig as Mahesh Uncle in Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai – he became popular after Madhur Bhandarkar’s Corporate. He’s directed a spate of well intentioned films, however, deserves so much more as an actor.
17- Adil Hussain
A powerhouse of talent this man has acted for movies in English, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Norwegian and French languages. He won over everyone with his sarcastic-yet noble middle class husband in English Vinglish. He’s a revered figure in the national theater scene, and he’s also played several small roles in Kaminey, Lootera, and Life of Pi.
18- Tisca Chopra
She started her acting career with TV and while she was juggling between TV and theater, Tisca Chopra rose to fame with her portrayal of Ishaan’s mother in Taare Zameen Par. Her filmography boasts of some credible films and has worked with noted filmmakers. She has acted in over 45 feature films in different languages and left a mark with each and every role. She also endorses a lot of brands but when it comes to films, Hindi Cinema still hasn’t been able to exploit her capacities well.
19- Jim Sarbh
Best known for his role as an antagonist in Neerja. This actor is considered one of the most skilled and well-nuanced performer. Still, Bollywood typecast him in the same grey roles which are limiting his scope and talent.
20- Piyush Mishra
Piyush Mishra is a multi talented artist in Bollywood who didn’t get his fair share of success due to favouritism and lack of creative recognition. Despite showing his acting prowess in movies like Maqbool and Gangs of Wasseypur, Piyush hasn’t been able to bag bigger roles in Bollywood.