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The other desis: Hollywood actors of Indian origin

Hollywood actors of Indian origin may be few in number, but they seem to be far more visible now than ever before

The excitement that follows the news of an Indian actor working in a Hollywood project often gets nullified by the negligible screentime that is allotted to the actor in the film’s final cut. Think of Anil Kapoor in Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011) and Irrfan Khan in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).

However, that doesn’t really diminish the brouhaha associated with crossover cinema. With Nargis Fakhri making her Hollywood debut in Spy which also stars Jude Law, hitlist takes a look at Indian actors who are doing reasonably well in Hollywood but have chosen to stay away from Bollywood...

Dev Patel
Dev Patel
Age: 23
Notable films: Slumdog Millionaire, The Last Airbender, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The lowdown: The London-born bunny-eared actor has shifted base to the US. As of now, he’s starring in four films: Child 44, The Road Within, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2, and The Man Who Knew Infinity. He also appears on the popular TV show, The Newsroom.

Dileep Rao
Dileep Rao
Age: 41
Notable films: Avatar, Inception, Drag Me to Hell
The lowdown: Remember the bearded Yusuf in Christopher Nolan’s Inception? In the film, his character drives the van into the river. The Los Angeles-based actor juggles films with TV and will be next seen in Murder of a Cat.

Kal Penn
Kal Penn
Age: 36
Notable films: The Namesake, Superman Returns, Epic Movie
The lowdown: An advocate for Obama’s presidential campaign, Kal is active in public administration. However, he is also engaged in Hollywood and his next, The Sisterhood of Night, is slated to release in 2014.

Kunal Nayyar
Kunal Nayyar
Age: 32
Notable film: Ice Age: Continental Drift
The lowdown: Famous for playing the eccentric scientist, Raj Koothrappali, in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Kunal has two releases — Dr Cabbie, and The Scribbler — lined up this year. He also turned producer last year.

Archie Panjabi
Archie Panjabi
Age: 41
Notable films: Bend it like Beckham, The Constant Gardener, A Good Year, A Mighty Heart, Traitor
The lowdown: Last year, she won an Emmy for her performance in the hit show, The Good Wife, and she will be next seen in the film, San Andreas. This upcoming action thriller also stars The Rock.

Sanjeev Bhaskar
Sanjeev Bhaskar
Age: 50
Notable films: The Guru, London Boulevard, Scoop
The lowdown: Popular for his show, The Kumars at No 42 (which has been renamed this year as The Kumars), Sanjeev is shooting for the film, Absolutely Anything. He is active in British films as well as American ones.

Naveen Andrews
Naveen Andrews
Age: 45
Notable films: The English Patient, Provoked: A True Story, Diana
The lowdown: One of the most recognisable faces in crossover cinema, Naveen is presently shooting for the TV series, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. He’s planning to turn director.

Indira Varma
Indira Varma
Age: 40
Notable films: Kama Sutra, Bride and Prejudice, Basic Instinct 2
The lowdown: A regular in popular television projects, the actress was last seen in the TV series, Game of Thrones. She is currently shooting for the film, Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Freida Pinto
Freida Pinto
Age: 29
Notable films: Slumdog Millionaire, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Immortals
The lowdown: The Mumbai-born actress is yet to work in a Bollywood film, and her next outing, Knight of Cups, will see her star with Christian Bale and Natalie Portman.

Suraj Sharma
Suraj Sharma
Age: 21
Notable film: Life of Pi
The lowdown: After wowing audiences with his work in Ang Lee’s magnum opus, the Delhi-born actor will be next seen with Jon Hamm in the film, Million Dollar Arm.

Aasif Mandvi
Aasif Mandvi
Age: 48
Notable films: Spider-Man 2, Margin Call, Premium Rush
The lowdown: Aasif has worked in a number of Hollywood films and he will be next seen in Million Dollar Arm.

Understated and underrated

Not many people may know this but the Indore-born Kumar Pallana worked in Hollywood films. He appeared in films like Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal and Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited.

Tom Hanks and Kumar Pallana in The Terminal
Tom Hanks and Kumar Pallana in The Terminal

Pallana passed away last October at the age of 94. Two films featuring him Snap Shot, and Hamlet A.D.D are slated to release this year.

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