10 Bollywood actors who started with small roles before achieving stardom: Shah Rukh Khan to Shahid Kapoor

Take a look at our compilation of Bollywood actors who began their journey with modest roles before skyrocketing to stardom, including Shah Rukh Khan, Dia Mirza, Deepika Padukone, and Shahid Kapoor.

Updated on Nov 16, 2023   |  01:26 PM IST  |  94.4K
10 Bollywood actors who started with small roles before achieving stardom: Shah Rukh Khan to Shahid Kapoor
Picture Courtesy - Shah Rukh Khan' Instagram / Twitter
Key Highlight

Embarking on a dream often begins at the grassroots, a truth embraced by our Bollywood celebrities. The trajectories of some beloved stars serve as profound inspiration—starting from the bottom and soaring to career pinnacles. Witness the transformative journeys of 10 Bollywood actors who, despite humble beginnings with minor roles, have emerged triumphant in their filmy careers. Their stories aren't just narratives; they're sagas of determination and success, proving that starting small is merely a prologue to reaching the zenith of stardom. Let's delve into the inspiring evolution of these Bollywood icons who turned dreams into dazzling realities.

Related Story


With Tiger 3 scoring Rs 270 crore in November, Salman Khan is the Pinkvilla Star Of The Month

10 Bollywood actors who kicked off their journeys with small roles before reaching the heights of fame

1. Shah Rukh Khan

Pooja Dadlani' Instagram / Twitter

Shah Rukh Khan, the undisputed Badshah of Bollywood, initiated his career on the small screen with the television show Fauji before making his Bollywood debut in 1992. Prior to his silver screen breakthrough, Khan took on minor roles in various shows and notably appeared in a single episode of the iconic Doordarshan sitcom, Wagle Ki Duniya. In this brief stint, he portrayed a young man who, in a twist of events, collided with Mr. Wagle using his car. 

2. Shahid Kapoor

Shahid Kapoor' Instagram / Tips Official

Before stepping into the spotlight as an actor, Shahid Kapoor honed his skills as a dancer under the tutelage of Shiamak Davar. His journey in the entertainment industry began as a background dancer, contributing his moves to various films, music videos, and commercials. Notably, in the movie Taal, Shahid caught the eye as a background dancer behind Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the song Kahin Aag Lage. Additionally, he showcased his dancing prowess in Dil To Pagal Hai, where he featured behind Karisma Kapoor in the energetic song Le Gayi.


3. Dia Mirza

Dia Mirza Instagram / Rajshri Tamil YouTube channel

Dia Mirza captivated 90s kids' hearts when she made her Bollywood debut in 2000 with Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein opposite R. Madhavan. However, before stepping into the limelight, she had a stint as a background dancer in the Tamil song En Swasa Kaatre in 1999.

4. Pankaj Tripathi

IMDB / Zee5

The National Award-winning actor, Pankaj Tripathi, has traversed an impressive journey in the film industry. In an early role, he had a cameo in the 2004 film Run. Notably, he featured in the iconic Choti Ganga scene, where Vijay Raaz takes a daring jump into a drainage canal. In this memorable sequence, Pankaj Tripathi's character seizes the opportunity and makes a quick getaway with Vijay Raaz's clothes.

5. Deepika Padukone


Deepika Padukone, a leading Bollywood actress today, first made waves as a popular runway model before her debut as Shantipriya in Om Shanti Om opposite Shah Rukh Khan. However, even before her breakthrough in acting, she made a cameo appearance in Himesh Reshammiya’s song Naam Hai Tera.

6. John Abraham

IMDb/ Tips Punjabi

John Abraham, who took the spotlight with his role in the blockbuster Pathaan this year, commenced his career as a model. During his modeling days, he made his first musical appearance in Jazzy B’s song Surma, marking the beginning of his journey in the entertainment world. Subsequently, he featured in a music video by Pankaj Udhas before making his impactful Bollywood debut in the 2003 film Jism, opposite Bipasha Basu.

7. Nawazuddin Siddiqui

IMDb / Prime Video

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, acclaimed for his role in Gangs Of Wasseypur and Sacred Games has made cameo appearances in various films, including Sarfarosh, Jungle and Shool. However, his cameo in Munna Bhai MBBS remains indelible. In a scene where a pickpocketer swipes the hero's father's wallet and faces a beating, Nawazuddin played the memorable role of the pickpocketer.

8. Irrfan Khan

IMDb / Twitter

Irrfan Khan had a quick stint in Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay. He played the role of a young letter writer in the movie. But unfortunately, his role was significantly shortened to a blink-and-miss appearance in the final cut. In an interview, he spilled the beans about spending the whole night bawling after Mira Nair broke the news that his role was slashed to almost zilch. But, that tough time became a game-changer for him. He mentioned it kind of got him all geared up for whatever curveballs his career might throw at him.


9. Sushant Singh Rajput


Following his standout debut in Kai Po Che, Sushant Singh Rajput ventured into various film genres, embodying a diverse array of characters. While Hrithik Roshan steals the show with his impeccable dancing in the title song of Dhoom 2, there's an interesting tidbit: Sushant Singh Rajput was actually a background dancer in this popular track. Additionally, he was also part of the background dancers in the song Nach Baliye from the film Bunty Aur Babli.

10. Daisy Shah

IMDb / Tseries

Daisy Shah began her Bollywood journey with the 2014 released Jai Ho alongside Salman Khan. But get this, even before that official debut, she had shared the screen with the Tiger 3 actor. Daisy was part of the background dancers in the hit song Lagan Lagi from Tere Naam.

ALSO READ: 7 Hindi Web Series celebrating camaraderie of female friendships: Four More Shots Please to Girls Hostel

About The Author

Sanchi Gupta is your ultimate Bollywood buff. She traded in her finance and HR degree for the glitz and


Highlights of the Month


Salman Khan

Salman Khan

Born: 27 Dec 1965 (age 57 years), Indore, india
Zodiac Sign: Capricornus
Latest Movies: Tiger 3
NET Worth: ~ 344.45 MN USD (RS 2,850 cr)

Salman Khan is among the most celebrated actors of Indian Cinema and has been a trendsetter in the true sense. It has been 35 years since he made his acting debut and his sheer consistency to deliver hit films is intact even in 2023. The month of November saw the release of the Maneesh Sharma-directed Tiger 3 starring Salman ...

Read more


The Batman

The Batman

Action, Drama, Crime



Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Kravitz

BOX OFFICE Collection: ₹ 77 cr.

Robert Pattinson, who played the role of Batman, in the 2022 movie. The Batman once landed up leaving fans upset. The actor joked about not working out on his physique for his role and left fans enraged. Despite all the love he got for being cast, he also faced a massive negative backlash after one particular joke he made. Ba...

Read more
Pinkvilla Exclusive

Latest Articles