Top 10 Cameos by Bollywood Celebrities Before They Were Famous

Hey there!

First things first, apologies for keeping you waiting. Personal commitments kept me away from blogging for the past couple of weeks. But now, I am so thrilled to be back and what a way to start again by sharing my very first post on Bollywood with you!

My love for movies began with Hindi cinema and I was looking for the perfect topic to begin writing about it. Bollywood generates the largest tickets sales compared to any film industry; making it one of the most profitable in the world. So naturally, it attracts hundreds of aspirants every year, with dreams of making it big in this industry.

But with such cut-throat competition, opportunities are hard to come by. Hence many aspirants take years to carve a niche for themselves. The below list comprises of 10 such celebrities who began their Bollywood career with minor appearances in prominent movies before achieving stardom and becoming household names.

10. Hrithik Roshan – Aasha (1980)

Today Hrithik Roshan is an A-list star who has cemented his position as a leading man with memorable hits like ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai‘, ‘Koi Mil Gaya‘ and ‘Agneepath‘. But did you know that this light-eyed heartthrob made his Bollywood debut at the tender age of 3?

In this rather forgettable movie starring Jeetendra and Reena Roy, Roshan makes a blink-and-miss appearance in the song ‘Jaane Hum Sadak Ke Logon Se’. You can catch him around the 1-minute mark during the sequence as the little boy giving some serious competition to Jeetendra with his dance moves. No wonder he went on to become one of the greatest actor/dancers of his generation.  

9. Bobby Deol – Dharam Veer (1977)

Have you watched ‘Dharam Veer’? If not, then you should. It is a classic by Manmohan Desai – the mastermind behind hits like ‘Amar Akbar Antony‘ which ushered the trend of multi-starer movies in Bollywood. But another interesting reason to watch this movie will be to witness Bobby Deol make his screen debut.

It is the classic arc that plays during the introductory sequence for the titular character ‘Dharam’ played by Dharmendra. Young Dharam (Bobby) is slowly picking at his father’s anvil. That is when his father walks up to him and motivates him to hit harder. The next moment, you see a grown and bulked-up Dharam (Dharmendra) dramatically throw down the ax with all his might and break the iron block in two! Ah, don’t you just miss that old school movie charm?

8. Sunil Grover – Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha (1998)

Although it can be tough to break into mainstream Bollywood as an actor, perhaps the toughest trials are faced by those who want to make a mark in comedy. One prime example is Sunil Grover who is a prominent name today due to his popular TV personas – ‘Gutthi’ and ‘Dr. Mashoor Gulathi’ on the ‘Kapil Sharma Show’.

Grover began his journey in stand-up comedy when the late satirist  Jaspal Bhatti took him under his wing. He later made numerous cameos in both Hindi and Punjabi cinema including the one above where he played a barber who accidentally shaves off the main lead’s (Ajay Devgan) mustache. After several such outings in films, he returned to TV and met fellow stand-up comic Kapil Sharma on the popular show ‘Comedy Circus’. Sunil later joined Kapil’s stand-alone show bringing to life numerous colorful characters and cemented his position as one of its most popular cast members.

7. Sridevi – Julie (1975)

Just 12 when she appeared in this role, Sridevi was already a seasoned actor. She had begun her career as a child star at the age of 4 with Tamil cinema and ‘Julie’ was Sridevi’s first foray into Hindi movie territory. She later made her official debut as a lead actor three years later with ‘Solva Sawan‘. However, she gained mainstream attention only in 1983 with ‘Himmatwala‘ and has never looked back since.

Julie was a massive success upon release mainly due to its unusual storyline that centered around an Anglo-Indian family and the trials of an unwed mother which was considered pretty bold during those days. Another reason for its success was its soundtrack which produced several evergreen hits including the one above – ‘My Heart Is Beating’. It is the first song recorded for a Bollywood movie which is sung completely in English.  Watch out for Sridevi here making an appearance around the 1:45 minutes mark.

6. Anushka Sharma – Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)

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The shortest cameo on this list goes to Anushka Sharma. She makes an unofficial appearance as the face on an advertisement poster in the movie ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ in a brief scene when Sanjay Dutt playing the titular ‘Munna Bhai’ briskly walks down a hallway.

During this time, Sharma was a newbie in Mumbai who was slowly making inroads into the industry. In this duration, she appeared on several TV and print adverts as a model. Two years later, after a successful audition with Yash Raj Films, she landed her first major break with the movie ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi‘ opposite Shah Rukh Khan in 2008.

5. Geeta Kapoor – Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Does Geeta Kapoor ring a bell? No? How about ‘Geeta maa’, the beloved dance guru? Before Geeta became a household name and an established choreographer, she made a cameo appearance in this movie in the song ‘Tujhe Yaad Na Meri Aayi’ where she played the role of a folk singer.

She began her career by joining Farah Khan’s dance troupe at age 15 and went on to assist her in several movies including the one above. Kapoor later progressed to the position of lead choreographer on songs such as ‘Mehboob Mere'(Fiza) and ‘Sheila Ki Jawani'(Tees Maar Khan) before joining the judging panel on the hit reality dance show ‘Dance India Dance’.

4. Aamir Khan – Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973)

Probably the most well-known entry on this list, superstar Aamir Khan made his debut at the age of 8 as the youngest child of the family in this movie directed by his uncle, the legendary Nasir Hussain. ‘Yaadon Ki Baraat’ was another one of Hussain’s superhit offerings that dealt with the then-popular theme of separation and reunion.

Even with no dialogs in this sequence, it is hard to miss little Aamir with his familiar grin and cute screen presence. He then made his official debut as an actor in Ketan Mehta‘s ‘Holi‘ in 1984. However, Khan’s later turn as the lead in the cult classic ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak‘ truly marked his arrival as a leading man in 1988 and the rest, as they say, is history.

3. Farah Khan –  Jalwa (1987)

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The multi-talented Farah Khan has donned many hats. She is an accomplished choreographer and director and has also shown her prowess as an actor and TV presenter in recent years. But did you know that she made her screen debut in this cult classic?

Here Khan appears as a backup dancer to leading lady Archana Puran Singh in the song ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot’. Pay close attention as you watch the video here where a barely recognizable Farah busts into some energetic dance moves in all her 80s glory! She later went on to form her own dance troupe and got her big break as the lead choreographer on the film ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar‘ in 1992 after veteran choreographer – Saroj Khan opted out of the project.

2. Shahid Kapoor – Taal (1999)

Shahid Kapoor has had quite the tough rise to stardom even after coming from a household that has been in movies for years. As a teenager, he was passionate about dance and at the age of 15, he joined popular dance guru Shiamak Davar‘s dance institute.

He then made an appearance in two movies choreographed by Shaimak – ‘Dil To Pagal Hai‘  in 1997 and ‘Taal‘ in 1999 as a backup dancer in their elaborate song sequences. You can catch him in the above video at the 2.13 minutes mark. Kapoor later made noteworthy TV appearances in a Pepsi TV advert with Shah Rukh Khan and a music video and was immediately noticed by producer Ramesh Taurani. He then made his debut as a leading actor in the teenage romance ‘Ishq Vishk‘  in 2003 under Taurani’s banner.

1. Nawazuddin Siddiqui –  Dev.D (2009)

And the top spot on this list goes to Nawazuddin Siddiqui who has had quite the journey to stardom. Although he made his debut in 1999 sharing screen space with Aamir Khan in ‘Sarfarosh‘, he spent several years playing stereotypical goon characters in films like ‘Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.‘and ‘Shool‘ before getting noticed by director Anurag Kashyap for a small role in his film ‘Black Friday‘in 2007.

Kashyap later cast him in his movie ‘Dev. D’ for the song ‘Emotional Atyachar’. Everything about this song is gold only because of Nawaz! With his Elvis Presley-inspired outfit, gaudy makeup and dance moves, he perfectly embodies the role of the lead singer in a local village band. Siddique later went on to essay the lead role in Kashyap’s ‘Gangs of Wasseypurseries which brought him considerable recognition and meatier offers which have allowed him to showcased his range.

And that is it for this list! Are you into Bollywood? How many of these cameos have you noticed? Let me know in the comments below!

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