Small screen to big screen: TV actors who made it big in Bollywood


More often than not, it is every actor’s dream to make it big in films, and it is true for out television actors. Many actors from the small screen made transition to Bollywood, but not all of them were able to taste success. Here is a list of some actors who started their career from TV and made it big in Bollywood.

Sushant Singh Rajput: Sushant is garnering appreciation for essaying cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the latter’s biopic ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’. He was a bright student, but dropped out of his engineering college to pursue his passion for acting. He became a household name with his role of Manav Deshmukh in the popular TV series ‘Pavitra Rishta’. Sushant got his big Bollywood break with Abhishek Kapoor’s critically acclaimed film ‘Kai Po Che!’ He then went on to feature in ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’, ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ and ‘PK’, and has a few more, including ‘Raabta’, lined up.   

Ayushmann Khurrana: He is a mixed bag of talents. Ayushmann started out by working in television as a video jockey for several shows. He had also participated and won the reality show ‘Roadies 2’ on MTV and has worked as a radio jockey. Ayushmann made his Bollywood debut with Sojit Sircar’s critically acclaimed film ‘Vicky Donor’ in 2012, where he also sang a song. He won Filmfare Awards for Best Male Debut and Best Male Playback Singer. He then featured in ‘Nautanki Saala!’, ‘Bewakoofiyaan’, and the National Award winning film ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’. He is currently working of ‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’ and ‘Manmarziya’. 

Yami Gautam: This beautiful actress started her acting career by working in television shows like ‘Chaand Ke Paar Chalo’ and ‘Yeh Pyaar Na Hoga Kam’. Yami made her Bollywood debut with the small-budget film ‘Vicky Donor’, which went on to be a big commercial and critical success. She has starred opposite A-listers like Ajay Devgn and Varun Dhawan in ‘Action Jackson’ and ‘Badlapur’ respectively. She will be next seen opposite Hrithik Roshan in ‘Kaabil’. Yami is also a part of the cast of Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Sarkar 3’.

Vidya Balan: Vidya is now an established actress with a National Award and five Filmfare Awards in her kitty. She has featured in acclaimed and successful films like ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiya’, ‘No One Killed Jessica’, ‘The Dirty Picture’, ‘Kahaani’ etc. The talented actress had always aspired for a career in films, but had struggled a lot in her initial days in the south film industry in vain. She then acted in the hit comedy series ‘Hum Paanch’, and featured in television commercials and music videos for Euphoria and Shubha Mudgal, before Pradeep Sarkar signed her up for ‘Pareenita’, her Bollywood debut.

Irrfan Khan: After acting on the small screen, this National Award winning actor not only made a name in Bollywood, but also carved a niche for himself in Hollywood. A graduate of National School of Drama, Irffan acted in numerous television serials, including ‘Chanakya’, ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, ‘Sara Jahan Hamara’, ‘Chandrakanta’ and others, before Mira Nair offered him a cameo in 1988 film ‘Salaam Bombay!’. However, his role was edited out from the final film. But Irrfan’s natural acting skills got noticed with his critically acclaimed films like ‘Ek Doctor Ki Maut’, ‘Maqbool’, ‘Haasil’ amongst many others, and today, he is considered one of the finest actors of Indian cinema.

Pulkit Samrat: Pulkit started his acting career with Ekta Kapoor’s popular soap ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ in the role of Lakshya Virani, which earned him recognition. He stepped into Bollywood with 2012 comedy ‘Bitto Boss’. He then starred in the much-loved film ‘Fukrey’ followed by some more like ‘Dolly Ki Doli’, ‘Bangistan’, ‘Sanam Re’ and was last seen in ‘Junooniyat’. But Pulkit made more news for his troubled marriage with Salman Khan’s rakhi-sister Shweta Rohira, than his films.

R. Madhavan: He has featured in several commercially successful and critically acclaimed films like ‘Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ and its National Award winning sequel ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’. Madahvan has made a name for himself in Bollywood as well as in Tamil cinema. He too made his transition to films through television. Madhavan has starred in TV shows like ‘Banegi Apni Baat’, ‘Ghar Jamai’, ‘Sea Hawks’ and ‘Aarohan’ among others.   

Shah Rukh Khan: The list will be incomplete without mentioning King Khan’s name. Shah Rukh, who is today one of the biggest stars of Bollywood, started out with TV serials like ‘Fauji’ and ‘Circus’ that aired on Doordarshan channel in late 1980s. At that time, TV industry was not so big as it is today. He made his Bollywood debut as the second male lead in ‘Deewana’, and the rest, as they say, is history!