Mrunal Thakur to Shah Rukh Khan: Actors who started their career on the small screen, and made it big in Bollywood
Sushant Singh Rajput, Irrfan Khan, Vikrant Massey, and Mouni Roy also started their acting careers on television.
From television to Bollywood
Both television and film play an important role in Indian entertainment. Although some may view the two mediums as being oceans apart in many ways, it's no secret that many of the stars who have made it big in Bollywood started their careers on the small screen. Actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Irrfan Khan made their acting debut on television rather than acing a role in cinema theatres. Other famous characters that became household names because of their popularity were Sujal played by Rajeev Khandelwal, Tulsi played by Smriti Irani, and Amar Upadhyay as Mihir.
There are many actors who were able to redefine their careers by transitioning from television to Bollywood. Here is a list of nine such actors who were successful in this shift and made a name for themselves in Bollywood.
Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan, the King of Bollywood actually started his career on TV. The famous actor had his first role in Lekh Tandon's TV series Dil Dariya in 1998 but the delay in the production process led him to do a role in Fauji, directed by Raj Kumar Kapoor in 1989. The tv series focused on the life of army cadets and their training period. He played the role of Abhimanyu Rai. He then starred in Aziz mirza's TV series circus. He played minor parts in Umeed (1989), and Wagle Ki Duniya (1988-90). He then made his acting debut in cinema with In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones along with famous author Arundhati Roy. He further moved to Mumbai from Delhi and pursued a full-fledged acting career in films. He then made his acting debut with Deewana in 1992.
Mrunal was last seen in the Telugu film Sita Ramam opposite Dulquer Salmaan. Mrunal, who has now made a name for himself in Bollywood did not start her career in film. The actress, while attending her college bagged a role opposite Mohit Sehgal in the StarPlus series Mujhse Kuchh Kehti...Yeh Khamoshiyaan. Later in 2013, she appeared in Har Yu Mein Aayega Ek-Arjun. She became famous for the much-talked-about television series Kumkum Bhagya. The show had Sriti Jha and Shabir Ahluwalia in lead roles and Mrunal played the role of Sriti's sister. She soon made her film debut with Vitti Dandu in 2014. She claimed critical fame with Love Sonia which was released in 2018.
She got the part in a big Bollywood movie with Vikas Bahl directed Super 30 in 2019. She has been seen starring opposite actors like Shahid Kapoor, John Abraham, Farhan Akhtar, and many more.
Sushant Singh Rajput
Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput made his acting debut with the Zee Tv television series Pavitra Rishta opposite Ankita Lokhande. The actor became very famous because of his character but he soon left the part and took a gap from acting for a few years.
The actor was then seen in the 2013 released film Kai Po Che! with Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh in other lead roles. Sushant received critical acclaim for his portrayal in the film. He bagged many parts in other Bollywood films like M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Dil Bechara, Chicchore.
Rajeev began his television career with Kya Hadssa Kya Haqeeqat (2002). Soon after he featured as the male lead in Balaji Telefims' Kahiin To Hoga, a romantic drama, alongside Amna Sharif. He portrayed the character of Suja who soon became a household name and Rajeev became the most famous television actor in the country at the time.
Rajeev then made his Bollywood debut with action-thriller Aamir (2008). His most praised character was in the psychological mystery thriller Table No. 21 (2013) with Paresh Rawal where he played the role of Vivaan Awasthi. He has featured in many Bollywood films since then but is staying away from the limelight for many years now.
The 'Haseen Dilruba' actor, Vikrant Massey has been seen in many successful Bollywood films, but many might not know that the actor made his acting debut on television. He featured in the role of Shyam Madan Singh in Balika Vadhu on Colors Tv. He then bagged the lead role in Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo. He was a famous television actor before he quit TV and joined Bollywood.
He made his Bollywood debut with Vikramaditya Motwane's Lootera in 2013 in a supporting role with Ranveer Singh as the main lead film. His first lead was in Konkana Sen's directed film A Death in the Gunj. The film won much praise and critical acclaim for its storytelling and Vikrant's acting. He has been acting in films and web series since then such as Mirzapur, Broken But Beautiful, Chhapaak, and many more.
Mouni Roy will be featured next in Ayan Mukerji's fantasy adventure film Brahmastra. The actor was a popular television actress before she started her acting career in Bollywood. She started her career in 200 with Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, playing the role of Krishna Tulsi opposite Pulkit Samrat. She was seen in many television shows before she made her mark in Bollywood. Roy made her Bollywood debut in 2018 alongside Akshay Kumar in Reema Kagti’s film Gold. She has been featured in a number of item songs and other Hindi films since then. With the looks of the trailer, Mouni is playing the role of a villain in her upcoming film Brahmastra.
Late actor Irrfan Khan had achieved the height of success before his demise. The actor was popular internationally with his projects such as Jurassic Park, Life of Pi, and many more. But what many of his fans might not know is that the actor started his career in television.
He played the role of Lenin in the Doordarshan teleplay Laal Ghaas Par Neele Ghode. He was then cast in many television shows and teleplays by Doordarshan some of which include Bharat Ek Khoj, Chandrakanta, Srikant, and many more.
He featured next in Basu Chatterjee's film Kamla Ki Maut opposite Roopa Ganguly. He became a constant in Bollywood parallel films that were made on serious subjects with films like Maqbool, and Ek Doctor Ki Maut.
His first Bollywood lead role came in 2005 with Rog. He featured in many Bollywood films since then either as a villain or as the main lead. Khan got international acclaim when he played the part of an inspector in Slumdog Millionaire. After which he featured in Acid Factory, the Amazing Spider-Man, Jurassic Park, and others.
Gangubai Kathaiwad fame actor, Shantanu Maheshwari is a famous television actor known for his role as Swayam in Channel V dance show Dil Dosti Dance. He was then seen in many episodes of Zing channel Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, Bindass' Yeh Hai Aashiqui, and other television shows.
He has been part of short films like Something Like Love and Special Day but made his Bollywood debut opposite Alia Bhatt in Gangubai Kathiawad. The actor has received much praise for his performance and has become quite popular. His fans hope to see him featuring in other Bollywood films in the coming future.
The multifaceted personality who can sing and dance started his career in television and cinema. He was first featured in the MTV show Roadies after which he was seen as a video jockey (VJ) on many MTV shows. He then turned into a host with India's Got Talent on Colors TV.
The actor then made his Bollywood debut with Shoot Sircar's Vicky Donor in 2012 opposite Yami Gautam who was also making her Bollywood debut. Ayushmann received critical praise and fame for his part and was widely accepted as a talented actor by the audience. He was soon seen in many other films in Bollywood like Nautanki Saala, Bewakoofiyaan, Hawaizaada, and many more. The actor is famous for portraying authentic characters on screen with real-life problems. The actor has a penchant for making films on socially relevant issues such as Article 15, Andhadhun, Badhai Ho, and others.
Last Updated: 05.20 PM, Aug 06, 2022