Priyanka Chopra, who has logged millions of miles shuttling between Bollywood and Hollywood, is the latest export that has captured the minds of the western audience. Actors like Dilip Kumar (who was approached for Lawrence of Arabia) and Amitabh Bachchan (who put in a friendly appearance in The Great Gatsby) notwithstanding, there have been several Bollywood actors who have shown that artistes are truly without boundaries. As Priyanka’s Quantico returns for its third season, we take a look at those actors who have walked this path before her.
He was more popular for his satirical takes on Hindi film tropes and his successful films with Mehmood. However, IS Johar had important cameos in Hollywood films such as Harry Black and the Tiger, Lawrence of Arabia, North West Frontier and Death on the Nile.
The man whom brother Raj Kapoor called ‘Taxi Kapoor’ because he was so busy, was also a producer who funded the movies he believed in. But even when he became a commercial success, his theatre roots made him the favourite of independent film-maker Ismail-Merchant. Kapoor headlined many of his films including The Householder, Shakespearewallah, Bombay Talkie and Heat & Dust. But not many know that he was also the hero of an out-and-out Hollywood flick called A Matter of Innocence (aka Pretty Polly)and also starred in a British film called Sammie and Rosie Get Laid.
The ‘Bad Man’ of Hindi films made sporadic appearances in international films including The Second Jungle Book, Prisoners of the Sun, Honour Killing, We’re No Monks, as well as two Italian movies with an Indian background.
The veteran actress made her first international appearance in Madame Souzatska, co-starring Shirley MacLaine. She followed it up with a strong performance in the French-British co-production, City of Joy, directed by Roland Joffé.
The most well-known of the Indian actors who ‘crossed over’, his filmography boasts of films such as City of Joy, Charlie Wilson’s War (where he essayed the role of President Zia ul-Haq), My Son the Fanatic, East is East and Wolf. And it was The Hundred Foot Journey with Helen Mirren, set in the French countryside that captured the hearts of audiences around the globe.
Om Puri’s co-star in several films also crossed over to act in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Great New Wonderful and The Valley of Flowers.
The versatile actor made his appearance felt in Bend It Like Beckham, and then followed it up with Lust, Caution, and an extended cameo in Silver Linings Playbook, where he got to share the screen with his idol, Robert De Niro. His recent role in Canadian television series, with comedian Russell Peters as a detective, garnered appreciation.
Like Om Puri before him, Irrfan Khan is today a well-known name on the Hollywood circuit. Not many people know that before The Namesake and Life of Pi made him famous, Irrfan had headlined a British production called The Warrior, directed by Asif Mandvi. Irrfan was also seen in Darjeeling Limited, A Mighty Heart, Jurassic World, The Amazing Spider Man and Inferno.
Priyanka’s predecessor in going westwards, Aishwarya was a mainstream star who crossed over to work in Bride and Prejudice, Mistress of Spices, Provoked, The Last Legion and Pink Panther 2.
Then there are others like Anil Kapoor, who became famous as the sleazy television host in Slumdog Millionaire and went on to act in Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the 8th season of television action series 24, and Deepika Padukone, who made her Hollywood debut in xXx Return of Xander Cage with big-ticket action star Vin Diesel.