When the world thinks of Indian cinema, often what comes to mind is Bollywood. With its onslaught of colours, catchy tunes and multi-million dollar productions it is easy to see why. Indian cinema is so much more than Bollywood, but given the industry’s global scope when an actor crosses over they receive wider fame and recognition. Here are six Tamils that have made their mark Mumbai’s tinsel town.
Vijainthimala is the first South Indian actresses to cross over to Bollywood. An iconic dancer, she was unrivalled in her performances for nearly two decades. She has been celebrated as one of the first female superstars in Indian cinema, paving the way for more Kollywood celebrities to foray into B-town.
Sridevi has been a superstar in Bollywood since her iconic performance in Himmatwala in 1983 but has been familiar to Tamil audiences since her debut at age four. Performing with a slew of leading men ranging from Rajinikanth to Anil Kapoor, Sridevi quickly established herself as an influential heroine. Most recently, she made a comeback with English Vinglish which was released in 2012 after a 15 year hiatus.
3) Kamal Hassan
A triple threat, Kamal Hassan’s cinematic vision is always eagerly anticipated. Starting his career as a child artiste, Hassan has firmly established himself as a cornerstone of Indian cinema. Whether he is delving into the topic of child trafficking in Mahanadhi, or exploring terrorism in a post 9/11 world in Vishawaroopam, his personal and professional life is ever mired in controversy. Touted as a Pan-Indian actor, he has helped global audiences see the talent in the South.
4) A R Rahman
Chikku Bukku Railye is still a staple at any Tamil gathering, and for good reason. This Chennai native has garnered global accolades for his one of a kind musical scores. Rahman famously went on to win two Academy Awards in 2009 for his work on Slumdog Millionaire.
5) Hema Malini
The original dream girl, Hema Malini has made over 150 films. A breathtaking dancer who has been trained in Bharathnatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi, she found fame in 1968’s Sapno Ka Saudagar opposite Raj Kapoor.
The most recent addition, Dhanush is making waves in B-town with his new film Ranjhanaa. Having recently won the national award for his work in Aadukalam, Dhanush has already received tremendous accolades for his role in Ranjhanaa, and has also signed on to do a second Bollywood film with director Anand Rai.