There is no field remaining in which Gujaratis have not left their mark. Even Bollywood is one such industry, which is blessed with talented Gujarat actors. Mainly hailing from drama, they have shown versatility, great acting skills and calibre through the decades.
Here is a list of Gujarati actors in Bollywood who are noteworthy for their contribution to Bollywood.
Born in 1955, Paresh Rawal started his Bollywood career in 1985 with the film Arjun. One of the most versatile Gujarati actors in Bollywood, he has acted in almost 200 films. With many successful movies under his belt, he was honoured with the Padma Shri Award in the year 2014 for his notable contribution to the entertainment industry. Some of the notable works of Paresh Rawal in Bollywood include Andaz Apna Apna in 1994, Hera Pheri in 2000, Aankhen in 2002, Hulchul in 2004, Malamaal Weekly in 2006, and Bhool Bhulaiyaa and Welcome in 2007. He was recently appointed as the chief of National School of Drama by the President of India. Before shining in Bollywood, Paresh Rawal showed his calibre in Gujarati plays. He first acted in the play ‘Vairee’ in 1972 and was last seen in ‘Dear Father’ in 2011.
Late Sanjeev Kumar
Born in 1938, Late Sanjeev Kumar started his acting career as a stage actor in IPTA and later joined the Indian National Theatre. He made his Bollywood debut with a small role in the film Hum Hindustani in 1960. He starred in the Gujarati film ‘Kalapi’ in 1966 alongside Padmarani and Aruna Irani. He was again paired with Aruna Irani in another Gujarati film ‘Mare Javun Pele Paar’ in the year 1968. The Hindi remake of this film titled Khilona in 1970 brought Kumar to the limelight in Bollywood. Since then, he has given Bollywood many great films like Parichay and Koshish in 1973, Aandhi and Mausam in 1975, Angoor in 1981, Pati Patni Aur Woh in 1978, Koshish in 1972 and many more.
Ratna Pathak Shah
Born in 1957, Ratna Pathak Shah became a household name through the popular television sitcom Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. Her portrayal of the character Maya Sarabhai is memorable even today. Inspired by her mother Dina Pathak, Ratna Pathak Shah started her career through theatre and has done a series of plays in Hindi, English and Gujarati. She made her Bollywood debut with the film Mandi in the year 1983 and since then has acted in many prominent films like Mirch Masala in 1987, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na in 2008, Golmaal 3 in 2010, Kapoor & Sons, Nil Battey Sannata in 2016, Love per Square Feet in 2018, Thappad in 2020 and many more. One of the most well-known Gujarati actresses in Bollywood, Ratna Pathak Shah has also co-founded Motley Theatre Group and was a part of the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan Selection Committee for 2012 Awards.
Born in 1946, Aruna Irani started her acting career as a child artist in the film Ganga Jamuna in 1961. She has acted in more than 500 films throughout her career in Hindi, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati cinema. Some of her Gujarati films include Gangapur Ni Ganga in 1980, Kalapi in 1966, Footpath Ni Rani in 1984. She has won several awards in Bollywood such as Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for Pet Pyaar Aur Paap in 1984 and Beta in 1992. She also received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 for her contribution to Bollywood. Later, she switched to the television industry- acting, directing and producing various tele-series.
Born in 1958, Darshan Jariwala made his Bollywood debut in the film Style in 2001. One of the most popular actors, he has acted in films as well as on Indian television. Some of his Gujarati plays include ‘Hatheli Par Badbaki’, ‘Patra Mitro’, ‘Mulraj Mansion’, ‘Andhalo Pato’, ‘Sukh Ne Save Karo Dukh Ne Delete Karo’ and ‘Garv Thi Kyo Ame Gujarati Chhiye’. His most memorable Gujarati television series is ‘Narsinh Mehta’. He has played supporting roles in several Bollywood films such as Gandhi My Father, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., Guru in 2007, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Life Partner in 2009, Raajneeti in 2010, Aarakshan in 2011, Kahaani in 2012 and many more. He ventured into Gujarati cinema with the film Bey Yaar in 2014.
Born in 1931, Nirupa Roy made her acting debut in the Gujarati film Ranakdevi in 1946. Her first Bollywood film was Amar Raj in the same year. She has appeared in more than 250 films throughout her career from 1946 to 1999. Famous for her portrayal of misery and sorrow, she was widely known as “Queen of Misery”. Some of her notable Bollywood films include Do Bigha Zamin in 1953, Munimji in 1955, Aanchal in 1960, Shehnai in 1964 and Deewar in 1975. She was honoured with three Filmfare Awards for supporting roles in the films Munimji, Chhaya and Shehnai, and received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.