Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan, Madhuri Dixit: Stars Who Took Many Years to Make it Big
MUMBAI: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is a star in his own right after “Badlapur, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and “Manjhi - The Mountain Man,” is but the latest in a long tribe of names that had a long struggle before they got onto the success highway.
The actor made his debut as a petty criminal in the 1999 “Sarfarosh” and was also spotted that year in the film “Shool” as a waiter in the sequence where Manoj Bajpayee visits a restaurant with his family. It was the trio of completely diverse films in 2012 in terms of genre, as well as commercial success “Kahaani,” “Gangs of Wasseypur” and “Talaash” that finally turned his tide! And 13 years is a long, long time!
His co-star and wife in the film, Radhika Apte, has hit the headlines this year and was also in the cast of “Badlapur” besides “Hunterr” and now “Kaun Kitney Paani Mein.” The multi-lingual actress had actually made her debut in the 2005 flop “Waah! Life Ho To Aisi!” and then did films in assorted languages like Bengali and Marathi (her mother-tongue) and offbeat Hindi as well. Though she gained attention in “Shor in the City” (2010) and last year’s Marathi hit “Lai Bhaari,” it is only now that she has made a solid mark as a strong actress. However, she is yet to be a bankable star.
Here are 20 other stars who took a long time (four plus years) to make it big:
Debut: “Refugee” (2000)
Breakthrough: “Dhoom” (2004)
Till then, the actor was called a jinx. Sadly, he is no longer considered saleable as a solo hero.
Debut: “Saat Hindustani” (1969)
Breakthrough: “Zanjeer” (1973)
Here was a future mega-star admired for his acting skills but considered as a zero-viability name till big stars nixed “Zanjeer” and Salim-Javed set in an epic multiple-hits run for AB that began his iconic innings.
Debut: “Bobby” (1973)
Breakthrough: “Insaaf” (1987)
The actress quit films she had signed before her debut film released due to her lightning wedding to Rajesh Khanna. After her divorce, she signed “Saagar” in 1980, but “Zakhmee Sher” released first (in 1984). Despite sterling performances in films like “Aitbaar,” “Saagar” itself and others, her star calibre was acknowledged only after her dual role in “Insaaf.”
Debut: “Reporter Raju” (1962)
Breakthrough: “Safar” (1970)
B-grade leads and A-grade parallel roles were his lot until “Aadmi Aur Insaan” got him noticed a few months before “Safar,” but that was the film that made him.
Debut: “Salaam Bombay” (1988)
Breakthrough: “Haasil” (2003) and “Maqbool” (2004)
He had been around in films and television but, strangely, was acknowledged as a powerhouse only after these two flops. It was really with “The Namesake” (a 2006 crossover film) that he attained star stature — first globally!
Debut: “Sargam” (1979)
Breakthrough: “Mawaali” (1993)
Though her debut film was a blockbuster, she was accepted only in a jhatka-matka entertainer four years down the line. And she continued in that vein until her fadeout.
MADHURI DIXIT NENE
Debut: “Abodh” (1984)
Breakthrough: “Tezaab” (1988)
Lead roles in small and big films and cameos in others were this actress’ lot till N. Chandra reinvented her image into a musical star and super-actor.
Debut: As a child and then junior artiste in multiple films and, from there, to supporting roles and B-grade leads
Breakthrough: “Ram Aur Shyam” (1967)
Here was a girl who really made her way up, becoming the Numero Uno heroine after starring with Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra in particular. She first made a major mark as Dilip Kumar’s heroine in “Ram Aur Shyam.”
Debut: “Gaman” (1976) as a junior artiste
Breakthrough: “Ankush” (1985)
It took Nana Patekar nine years of struggle in Hindi cinema, and, for a long while, the real-life angst seemed to be reflected in his lead roles.
Debut: Nishant (1975)
Breakthrough: “Hum Paanch” (1981)
Though he did a lot of art movies, he was finally noticed only when he went commercial in “Hum Paanch” as one of the heroes.
Debut: “Rangeeli” (1952)
Breakthrough: “Mother India” (1957)
Till he got the role of Nargis’ husband in the money-spinning classic “Mother India,” Raaj Kumar only made anonymous flops.
Debut: “Patthar Ke Phool” (1991)
Breakthrough: “Dilwale” and “Mohra” (1994)
Though her struggle was not as long, we include her, as she was openly and callously labeled the jinx supreme in over half-a-dozen films.
Debut: “Zaroorat” (1972)
Breakthrough: “Nagin” (1976)
The B-grade kind of debut did lead to decent assignments and even successes, but Roy showed her mettle as the “ichchadhaari nagin.” “Kalicharan,” released a couple of weeks later, consolidated her stardom. Her heroes Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha remained her biggest supporters.
Debut: “Nishan” (1964)
Breakthrough: “Khilona” (1970)
By the time this brilliant actor got “Khilona,” he had two golden jubilee hits, “Shikar” (with a supporting actor award to boot!) and “Raja Aur Runk,” but success had evaded him!
Debut: “Rail Ka Dibba” (1953)
Breakthrough: “Tumsa Nahin Dekha” (1957)
They tried to make him a second Raj Kapoor or Premnath. But he was destined to change the Hindi film hero’s persona forever.
Debut: “Char Diwari” (1961)
Breakthrough: “Aa Gale Lag Jaa” (1973) and “Chor Machaye Shor” (1974) He always had big films and a few hits and was repeated by many filmmakers due to his professionalism, but the starry breakthrough took a long time!
Debut: “Luck” (2009)
Breakthrough: “D-Day” (2013)
Kamal Haasan’s daughter’s Hindi career took off after a super performance in the 2013 flop “D-Day,” rather than with a hit film.
Debut: “Solba Sawan” (1978)
Breakthrough: “Himmatwala” (1983)
In the interim of 5 years, this actress did no Hindi films. And then Jeetendra and Sridevi spearheaded the Padmalaya revolution before Sridevi grew beyond — to “Nagina” and “Mr. India.”
Debut: “Balwaan” (1992)
Breakthrough: “Border” (1997)
No hit, success or flop mattered for his career till he showed his acting skills with the J.P. Dutta war epic.
Breakthough: “Rangeela” (1995)
It took the maverick Ram Gopal Varma to visualize plain-Jane Marathi girl Urmila as the va-va-voom siren in beachwear and more, swinging through to stardom with hot songs.