Shah Rukh Khan to Kareena Kapoor: 9 times we fell in love with non-romantic roles played by actors

Bollywood superstars have played roles where they are the lead - yes - but not the romantic lead we are so used to them playing. Read on.

Our Bollywood movies are known for their over-the-top melodrama, completely unrealistic portrayal of real life with song and dance sequences, and characters who are either black or white. For decades, our industry has been functioning in the same manner but it wasn’t always like that. The Hindi film industry has also created some realistic masterpieces, and no, we are not talking about movies like Gangs of Wasseypur, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Gulaal, Parched, which featured brilliant underrated actors. Mainstream actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukerji, Amitabh Bachchan and many others have experimented with their roles and while the masses may or may not have loved it, critics and cinema lovers have definitely loved it.

Bollywood superstars have played roles where they are the lead – yes – but not the romantic lead we are so used to them playing:

1. Aamir Khan 

Aamir Khan began experimented with roles a long time ago, when he did Sarfarosh in 1999. Although, he kept doing commercial Bollywood movies but his focus had clearly shifted. Thanks to Lagaan (2001), Rang De Basanti (2006), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Dhobi Ghat (2010), Talaash (2012), and Dangal (2016) – Aamir has done what no other actor has – he’s proven that one cannot quite beat him, commercially or otherwise.

Aamir Khan Dangal

Aamir Khan in Dangal

2. Amitabh Bachchan 

Amitabh Bachchan began his career as an  ‘angry young man’ that that role stuck with him for eons but lately he has been pretty open with experimenting and Black (2005), Paa(2009), Piku (2015) and Pink (2016) are a testimony to his success.

Amitabh Bachchan Black

Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji in Black

3. Kareena Kapoor 

When Kareena Kapoor decided to do Chameli, wasn’t it a relief from the roles she had been doing them. Her acting as well as her makeover in the film was appreciated not just by the critics but by her fans as well. She later did Talaash (2012), Satyagraha (2013) and Udta Punjab (2016) – all of which received critical acclaim.

Kareena Kapoor Chameli

Kareena Kapoor in a still from Chameli

(Also read: From Shah Rukh Khan to Sonam Kapoor, Quora lists 7 Bollywood actors who spoiled excellent movies)

4. Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla in Gulaab Gang (2016)

Although the movie tanked miserably at the Box Office, 90’s actresses did try something completely different what we have seen them doing on-screen, romancing heroes and singing and dancing (not saying that is bad). A biopic on Uttar Pradesh’s social activist, Sampat Pal.

Gulaab Gang

5. Deepika Padukone in Piku (2015)

Deepika Padukone played a role an independent architect, who shared a lovely bond with her father, played by Amitabh Bachchan.

Deepika Padukone Piku

Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan in Piku

6. Akshay Kumar

Bollywood’s action hero and ‘Khiladi’, Akshay Kumar has also some great movies with a social message like Sangharsh (1999),  Oh My God (2012) and Jolly LLB2 (2017).


Akshay Kumar OMG

Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal in a still from Oh My God

7. Shahid Kapoor 

Shahid Kapoor has done movies like Ishq Vishk to R…Rajkumar but has given powerful and memorable performances in Haider (2014), Udta Punjab (2016).

Shahid Kapoor Udta Punjab

Shahid Kapoor in Udta Punjab

8. Alia Bhatt 

Alia Bhatt does not only deliver commercial successes like Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya (2017) but also excels at offbeat movies like Highway (2014), Dear Zindagi (2016) and Udta Punjab (2016). Of the current crop of actors, she alone has found success in experimentation.

Alia Bhatt in Highway

Alia Bhatt in Highway

9. Shah Rukh Khan 

We have seen King Khan romancing Kajol, Juhi, Madhuri to Anushka, Deepika, but he has delivered some of the marvellous performances as Mohan Bhargav in Swades (2004) and hockey coach Kabir Khan in Chak De! India (2007). 

Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De India

Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De India

(Also read: Shah Rukh Khan to Priyanka Chopra: 7 times Bollywood villains were more iconic than heroes)

(Also read: Zoya Akhtar to Alankrita Shrivastava: 9 female directors trying to bring down Bollywood’s glass ceiling)

Did we miss anyone? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.