By Asjad Nazir.
Bollywood actors: Then and now.
A number of Indian celebrities started their careers in music. While some of them starred in music videos, others appeared as backup dancers or made cameos in Bollywood musical numbers.
At the time, their appearances lit up the songs and helped make them popular, but over time, most of them have been forgotten or been lost in the mists of time.
With all that in mind, Eastern Eye went back through time to find cameos of stars before they became famous.
Sushant Singh Rajput: Today the versatile actor is a bankable Bollywood star who shows off his impressive range of high-profile films. He started his journey as a dancer in the Shiamak Davar Troupe, which led to him being a backup dancer to Hrithik Roshan in the title song for hit film Dhoom 2.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Today the in-demand actor gets substantial roles in high-profile films, but at the beginning of his career, he played small roles for a long time. One of these minor roles was him dressing up as a desi Elvis lip-syncing the song Emotional Atyachar in the Anurag Kashyap-directed film Dev.D.
Deepika Padukone: The current queen of Bollywood started her career as a sought-after model, who appeared in a diverse range of projects. One of her early assignments was being the eye-candy in Himesh Reshammiya’s 2006 music video for the song Naam Hai Tera. Hindi cinema took notice and a year later, she made her Bollywood debut in Om Shanti Om opposite Shah Rukh Khan.
John Abraham: The popular Bollywood actor started off his career as a much skinnier award-winning model. Before getting his big break in 2003 thriller Jism, Abraham appeared in a number of music videos, including Chupke Chupke by Pankaj Udhas and Surma by Jazzy B. He also appeared in music videos for singers Hans Raj Hans and Babul Supriyo.
Bipasha Basu: The Bollywood actress first captured the attention of audiences with various modelling assignments including one rather saucy advert. She also made a memorable appearance in Sonu Nigam’s music video for the song Tu from his 1998 album Kismat before making her Bollywood debut in 2001 film Ajnabee.
Riya Sen: The Bengali actress hails from a famous film family, but first shot to fame by appearing in a music video as a teenager in singer Falguni Pathak’s 1998 song Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi. The hit track did wonders for the career of Falguni and Riya, who went to act in films in a number of languages and became a pin up.
Ayesha Takia: The actress got her big break, thanks to dandiya queen Falguni Pathak. Before Ayesha made the leap to the big screen, she had a starring role in the music video for the 2000 song Meri Chunnar Udd Udd Jaye, which became a global hit. Four years later, she made her Bollywood debut in 2004 film Taarzan: The Wonder Car.
Malaika Arora: One of the hottest faces of the big screen, Arora is famous for her spicy item numbers. Before lighting up the screen with her envy-worthy body, the Bollywood beauty appeared in music videos when she was less well known. One of these songs was the Bally Sagoo remix of Malkit Singh’s song Gur Naal Ishq Mitha.
Shahid Kapoor: The popular star has risen through the ranks to become an award-winning actor and being declared the sexiest Asian man on the planet, in 2017. Before starting his amazing acting journey, Shahid appeared as a backup dancer in songs for the movies Dil To Pagal Hai and Taal. He also appeared as a love-struck youngster in the song Aankhon Mein Tera Hi Chehra by the music band Aryans.
Priyanka Chopra: The former Miss World has become a major international movie icon and perhaps the most famous Indian female film star right now. Before hitting the big time, the teenage Priyanka appeared in Daler Mehndi’s music video for the song Sajan Mere Satrangiya, from the hit album Ek Dana.
Vidya Balan: Acclaimed actress Vidya Balan started her career on television. Before finding fame in Bollywood, she appeared in the music video of prominent band Euphoria’s song Kabhi Aana Tu Meri Gali, which was a major hit in 2003. She made
an award-winning Bollywood debut two years later in 2005 drama Parineeta.
Sameera Reddy: Another star who got a big break, thanks to ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas was actress Sameera Reddy. She was a teenager when she appeared in his music video for the song Aur Aahista in 1997. Five years later she made her Bollywood debut opposite Sohail Khan in the 2002 film Maine Dil Tujhko Diya.
Drashti Dhami: Today Drashti Dhami is one of the biggest television stars in India. She started off her career as a model and had a number of winning turns in music videos before finding global fame. She appeared in music videos for various artists in songs including Saiyyan Dil Mein Aana Re, Humko Aaj Kal Hai, Teri Meri Nazar Ki Dori and Nachle Soniyo Tu.
Nimrat Kaur: The talented actress worked as a model at the beginning of her career and first came to attention when she starred in the 2004 music videos of hit songs Tera Mera Pyar and Yeh Kya Hua, which were sung by Kumar Sanu and Shreya Ghoshal, respectively. She also starred in the hit 2013 film The Lunchbox.
Dia Mirza: The beauty queen-turned-actress appeared in various songs before finding fame, including as a backup dancer in Tamil film En Swasa Kaatre. She also starred in a music video for the Asha Bhosle song Na Marte Hum, which also featured Aashish Chaudhary, a respected film and television actor. In 2001, Dia made her cinematic debut in the romantic drama Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein.
Amrita Rao: The actress worked as a model and got her big break playing the lead role in the music video for the Alisha Chinai song Woh Pyar Mera in 2002. Later that year the star made her Bollywood debut in action romance Ab Ke Baras.
Dino Morea: The model-turned-actor made a forgettable cinematic debut in Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi in 1999. A year later, he re-emerged with a chiselled physique in the music video for Abhijeet’s song Yaad Karne Se, which grabbed global attention in 2000. He also appeared in Abhijeet’s music video for the song Koi Lauta De Woh Pyare Pyare Din. Two years later Dino starred in mega-hit horror film Raaz.
Neha Dhupia: The actress was crowned as the Femina Miss India 2002. Dhupia also did various modelling campaigns and appeared in a music video of Indi-pop band Euphoria’s 1998 song Sha Na Na Na. In 2003 she made her film debut in the thriller Qayamat: City Under Threat.
Mallika Sherawat: The glamour girl quit her job as an air hostess and worked as a model. Her real name was Reema Lamba. It was during her struggling days that she appeared in a music video for Punjabi singer Surjit Bindrakhia’s song Lak Tunu Tunu. In 2002 she made her Bollywood debut with a supporting role in Jeena Sirf Merre Liye.
Gauahar Khan: Before she became a multi-talented film and television star, the actress worked as a model and also appeared in some music videos including Bombay Vikings’ stunning cover version of the classic song Hawa Mein Udati Jaaye. But her most famous music video appearance was after she found fame in the Rahat Fateh Ali Khan song Zaroori Tha, which has been viewed over 312 million times on YouTube.