While the hero and heroine have it easy with tailor made roles and dialogs, it is the supporting characters who, I think, have to demonstrate very high level of commitment and dedication to the characters they are playing to make it stand out and linger in our memory. The language of the series or movie doesn’t matter. I would like to believe it is the same everywhere and anywhere.
Of seeing Bollywood movies over the years I have started to idolize some these side characters that make watching movies so much a pleasure. Repeat viewing of these movies makes the contribution of these actors stand out even more. I present 4 such contemporary actors who have been a delight to watch in every movie that they have been a part off. Some of them are celebrities in their own rights but probably not as much as the lead actors or actresses of the movies that they are part of.
Sanjay Mishra – this guy came into prominence during 1999 world cup as Apple Singh and since then he has lit up many movies with his comic timing. People who haven’t seen much of his work, I strongly recommend movies like One Two Three or Dhamaal. His body language, diction, facial expressions and dialog delivery all are a big plus in bringing alive some very ordinary characters. I believe him to be a very underrated actor who might not have entirely got his due. He also blows life into his character in a television series, again that I strongly recommend, Office Office, where despite acting along side a very talented star cast he manages to hold his own.
Manoj Pahwa – this guy has been around since the time TV started in India and he acted in the very first hindi soap of Indian television Hum Log. Of course he was much thinner and younger, however both age and growing gait has not depreciated his acting ability or comic timing. He is capable of delivering power packed performances. People unaware of his works, I strongly recommend Aloo Chat, Singh is King, Wanted and also the television series Office Office. Another underrated actor with some amazing performances in every outing.
Mukesh Tiwari – this guy made his acting debut in a movie called China Gate in a negative role. He received a lot of praise for his debut performance, however I think he found his true calling in comedy. Every outing in a comic role has been a stupendous performance. Probably doesn’t get as much recognition as much as he deserves but I find him amazing in every role he played including the recent performance in Chennai Express as a tamil speaking Sardaar police officer. Some other notable roles were in movies like One Two Three, Gangajal or Arakshan etc.
Deepak Dobriyal – probably less talented than the rest that I talk about above, however still capable of showing tremendous commitment to all the roles played by him and making them as much memorable as possible. With a slight built he might have been missed in most of the movies that he has played important parts in. Tanu weds Manu definitely stands out as a great performance as a close friend and confidante of the male protagonist. He was equally good in gripping movies like Omkara or Maqbool
This is a small dedication to the performances of these artistes that I find have special talent of playing the most nondescript roles with great conviction and bring those characters alive to add color and value to the movies that they are part off. I sometimes wonder what their motivation is to keep going at a work that probably doesn’t recognize their contribution as much as it should. Of course there have been similar such characters during various generation of Bollywood and even in the current generation there are more who have done an excellent job, however I pick four as per my liking and taste.