8 Hilarious Indian Standup Comics Who (Kinda, Sorta) Bombed at Bollywood
Step 1: Get noticed.
Step 2: Attain popularity.
Step 3: Bollywood, here I come!
The pull of the silver screen is hard to resist. No matter how much of a star you are in your own field, chances are when an offer comes your way you’re going to say yes, no matter how sidey the role is. Remember Sonu Nigam trying to Love in Nepal, or Lucky Ali doing the same in Sur: The Melody of Life? Two of the most popular singers in Bollywood happily went and bombed… in Bollywood. We recently noticed that the crème de la crème of the Indian standup comedy scene seems to have caught this fever too.
Vir Das may be the only actor-comedian (or comedian-actor; we are not sure what he prefers as his primary identity) who has managed to strike a perfect balance. He’s given us some of the truly memorable Bollywood moments (Delhi Belly and Go Goa Gone were heelariyus! Mastizaade we’re pretending doesn’t exist). The others on this list have…well, erm… we’ll let you guys decide what you think.
1. Sapan Verma in Luck by Chance
In Sapan Verma’s defence, it really was by chance. This Facebook post, a screengrab from the movie, explains how they were all college students who were brought in to fill the frame. But is this still something Verma brings up every time someone says ‘cameo’? Yup!
2. Tanmay Bhat in Ragini MMS 2
Tanmay Bhat has a short goofy role as Karan, who’s a part of the production crew at a haunted house. They’re filming the horrific story of Ragini, a possessed lady. Bhat’s character arrives early to get into a tête-à-tête with the spirit. Whether this was added as comic relief, or to genuinely offer some jump scares, we’re still figuring.
3. Abish Mathew in Meri Pyaari Bindu
A really short role as Bubla’s (played by Ayushmann Khurrana) friend, Abish Mathew made his Bollywood debut with Meri Pyaari Bindu. You’ve got to be a big Mathew/comedy nerd to catch his fleeting appearance in the film. But now that you know, might wanna rewatch the film?
4. Sahil Shah in Guzaarish
Guzaarish, the story of a Goan magician, did work the magic for a bunch of people in it: Sanjay Leela Bhansali made his debut as a composer with this film, Aditya Roy Kapoor got recognised here, and our favourite trick of all the tricks in the book, Sahil Shah was somewhere in there too!
5. Mallika Dua in Hindi Medium
Remember – how could you not? – Mallika Dua’s breakout video (Delhi girls at the Sarojini Nagar market)? Well, here’s a movie that gave her a chance to really lean into character. Dua was cursorily seen as a customer sharing screen space with Irrfan Khan in Hindi Medium. Even though she comes and goes in a jiffy, it’s hard to miss that loud and familiar purani dilli accent.
6. Biswa Kalyan Rath in Brahman Naman
Biswa Kalyan Rath played Illash in Brahman Namam, a horny senior who loves narrating the stories of his romantic and sexual escapades to a bunch of dorky quiz masters (sex-deprived juniors), who’d kill just to get laid. A NSFW movie, you can catch a glimpse of Rath in this trailer (at 2.26):
7. Rohan Joshi in Baar Baar Dekho
A way more significant role than all the ones stated above, Rohan Joshi supported Siddharth Malhotra’s role in Baar Baar Dekho. As Malhotra’s NRI friend, Joshi enjoyed quite a bit of screentime, and while the film didn’t do wonders at the box office (or for Joshi’s acting career), comedy fans whooped for joy when they spotted Joshi on the silver screen.
8. Kanan Gill in Noor
Perhaps the only comedian to have a full-fledged Bollywood role besides Vir Das is Kanan Gill, who starred opposite Sonakshi Sinha in Noor. A crime drama, Gill played Sinha’s best friend, that guy you turn to in all your bad times. All. He looks it too, right?