10 Bollywood stars who went to Hollywood

Bollywood stars are not just limited to appearing in great Bollywood movies. Many have gone on to find success in the bright lights of Hollywood. From small, cameo roles to main roles, the possibility of the increased fame and big bucks lures the stars of India.

1. Frieda Pinto 

frieda pinto

Frieda Pinto became a worldwide star when she scored the leading female role in the 2008 Danny Boyle movie, Slumdog Millionaire. It was this film that Frieda made her debut and she was very well-received globally, going on to win ‘Best Breakthrough Performance’ award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. She was also nominated for the well renowned BAFTA and MTV Movie Awards. Prior to making her debut with Slumdog Millionaire, Frieda was a model and was signed to Elite Model Management and she also worked as TV presenter for NDTV. Since her Hollywood debut, Frieda has gone on to feature in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ in 2011 and ‘Immortals’ in 2011.

2. Anupam Kher


Anupam Kher is a popular Bollywood actor who has starred in nearly 470 films and 100 plays. Though mainly appearing in Bollywood movies, Anupam has made his name in Hollywood and starred in a number of Hollywood hits such as Oscar nominated ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, where he played the role of Bradley Cooper’s therapist, Dr Cliff Patel. Commenting on ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ being nominated for an Oscar, Anupam said ‘This is the biggest moment of my life.  As an Indian actor I feel rewarded for my 30 years of contribution in cinema.’

3. Irrfan Khan 


Wanted by movie producers in both the east and west, Irrfan Khan is a well respected and talented actor. Irrfan’s first appearances in Hollywood saw him land a small role in ‘New York, I Love You’ as an FBI agent and as the supporting actor in the ‘The Namesake’ in 2006. Hollywood then begun to realise the potential of Irrfan Khan and he secured a role in ‘The Amazing Spider Man 2’. Irrfan’s most notable Hollywood role is probably his part in recent blockbuster hit ‘Life of Pi, where he played the adult part of the character Pi.

4. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan 


From being crowned Miss World 1994, becoming one of Bollywood’s and the world’s most beautiful stars and then becoming a talented actress, Aishwarya is now one of the biggest and richest stars in Bollywood. Her talents were clearly recognized by Hollywood and she has been snapped up numerous times over in the west. She has starred alongside comedian Steve Martin in ‘The Pink Panther 2’, playing the role of a crime expert. Aishwarya was also asked to play the leading female role in the massive Hollywood movie ‘Troy’, in which she was asked to play Brad Pitt’s love interest. You would assume this would be any girl’s dream, but Aishwarya had to turn the role down, apparently due to the explicit, intimate scenes in the film.

5. Anil Kappor 

anil kapoor

Anil Kapoor is an all-round star. He began his acting career in Bollywood making his debut in 1979 before going on to produce a number of films, his first in 2002. In between, he was lucky enough to break it in Hollywood, starring in the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which raked in a whopping $352 million worldwide! He continued his success in the west with appearances in the popular American TV series ’24’ (to which he later played the leading role in the Indian version). The well respected actor obviously made an impact as he landed a role in ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’, starring alongside the Hollywood legend Tom Cruise.

6. Amitabh Bachchan 


Amitabh Bachchan is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema and his talents as an actor have only recently become noticed by the likes of Hollywood. Amitabh’s appearance in the Bafta winning and Grammy nominated ‘The Great Gatsby’, saw him starring alongside the great Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Despite starring in this great movie, Amitabh has remained modest about his role stating that ‘I don’t see it as my Hollywood debut. It was just a friendly gesture and nothing more’.

7. Amrish Puri 


Amrish Puri was widely known for his role in the 1984 Steven Spielberg classic ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’. In this, Amrish played the role of Mola Ram, a demonic priest who performed rituals of human sacrifice. For the role, Amrish shaved off all of his hair, which created such an impression that he kept this look to become one of the most popular villains in Hindi cinema.

8. Om Puri 

om puri

In terms of numbers, it’s fair to say that Om Puri has probably racked up the highest number of international films and has a long relation with Hollywood. He has starred in the Oscar winning film ‘Gandhi’, played the role of a paranormal scholar alongside Jack Nicholson in ‘Wolf’ and also played a part in the British comedy ‘East is East’. What’s more, in August 2014, Om plays a main part alongside Dame Helen Mirren in ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’. Keep your eyes peeled for this!

9. Tabu 


Winning four Filmfare Awards and hence becoming one of India’s most adored actresses, Tabu recently made her Hollywood debut in the critically acclaimed ‘Life of Pi’. Directed by Ang Lee, a well-renowned director globally, Tabu played the supporting actress role. Tabu has called her part in the film ‘a huge honour, especially because it’s coming from Ang. I’m very fortunate that he thought of me for the role’.

10. Suraj Sharma 


Making his debut with ‘Life of Pi’, Suraj, from New Delhi, had no prior acting experience and went on to star in one of the biggest hits of 2012. Suraj auditioned alongside his brother and 3000 others, but beat the whole lot to the role. Since landing the role, Suraj has not made any more movies and went on to study Philosophy in Delhi, but he does hope to stay in the film-making business.

Can you think of any more Indian actors or actresses that have made their mark in the bright lights of Hollywood? Let us know by commenting below…





Daniel Horgan

Author Daniel Horgan

Video Game and Wrestling fanatic. I enjoy watching the latest blockbusters at the cinema and all things film. To join in the conversation, follow Yamgo's official Twitter account @Yamgotv!

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