Six Indian supporting characters who made their movies hits

Contemporary Bollywood sidekicks who stole the spotlight


November 18, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Six Indian supporting characters who made their movies hits

Farhaan, Rancho and Raju made an iconic trio in 3 idiots

These iconic sidekicks often compete with the hero’s charm and magnetism to win audiences’ hearts, from Munnabhai MBBS’s Circuit to Avi from YJHD.

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Splashed on glossy posters and billboards advertising a new release, the heroes and heroines of Bollywood are often the most sought-after actors and reigning stars of the film industry. But a large number of films, made in India or overseas, have always had strong supporting cast and sometimes, it is the supporting cast that carry the film on their shoulders, overshadowing the ‘first couple’ of the film.

Over the years, names like Johnny Walker, Mehmood or Kader Khan had built a strong fan following and played at least as crucial a role in the success of the film as the hero. Habitually more relatable than the perfectly charismatic protagonist, these character artists often accompany the main character in their quest for a girl, revenge, or general happy ending, but also may end up overshadowing the hero at times with their hilarious antics and unending charm. While some iconic characters may have only gotten a few minutes of screentime, for others, screenwriters have provided incredible individual storylines and character development for cinema buffs to get the full picture while watching the film. Years later, many of these characters have become an institution unto themselves, with their own loyal fan following.

Here are some of the recent supporting cast roles that have been as instrumental in the success of the film as the main lead.

Arshad Warsi as Circuit 

Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)

Sanjay Dutt’s iconic performance as a goon nicknamed Munna Bhai in Rajkumar Hirani’s Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) is arguably one of the most recognised roles of his career. Fans of the film series were almost equally in love with his best friend and right-hand man, Sarkeshwar a.k.a. Circuit who aids him in his amusing attempts to enrol as a medical student. Many of the film’s unforgettable one-liners were thanks to Warsi’s brilliant delivery and comical dialect, such as “Bhai … tension nahin lene ka bhai” (Brother, don’t get stressed) and his “Aye chilli chicken” remark. Warsi was nominated for a Filmfare Award for his performance.

Uday Chopra as Ali

Jai and Ali on a mission

With similar undertones to Munna Bhai, the Dhoom film franchise would also have been incomplete without Chopra’s hilarious portrayal of Ali Khan, a local bike racer turned police informer who helps no-nonsense cop Jai Dixit, played by Abhishek Bachchan, catch internationally wanted criminals, one of the most iconic played by Hrithik Roshan – Mr “A” in Dhoom 2 (2006). Ali, notoriously and hysterically in love with all (or most) women, flirts with Jai’s wife, childhood friend, and even his rival throughout the films, but is also the one who promptly comes to Jai’s rescue when needed, participating in thrilling high-speed chases of criminals alongside his partner.

Shreyas Talpade as Pappu Master


Om Shanti Om (2007)

Farah Khan’s blockbuster hit Om Shanti Om (2007), starring Shah Rukh Khan as Om Prakash and later, the reincarnated OK, is famous for being Deepika Padukone’s debut and gave audiences hit songs like ‘Dard-e-disco’ and Padukone’s much-quoted dialogue, “Ek chutki sindoor ki keemat, tum kya jaano Ramesh Babu” (What would you know the value of a pinch of vermillion, Mr Ramesh). Pappu Master, played by Talpade, was Om’s loyal confidante, who tried his best to make Om’s dreams of becoming a superstar come true, from being the random extra on film sets to helping him reunite with Shanti and take revenge on Mike, the villain brilliantly played by Arjun Rampal.

R Madhavan as Farhan Qureshi & Sharman Joshi as Raju Rastogi

Farhan, Rancho and Raju create trouble at a wedding

Setting the global super hit apart from other movies with hero-best friend dynamics, in 3 Idiots (2009) we see the character development and properly explored side stories of both of Aamir Khan’s character, Rancho’s, troublemaking college buddies. Rajkumar Hirani’s hit successfully drove home the message about India’s flawed education system, as Madhavan’s Farhan, who has a gift and passion for wildlife photography gives up his dream for his father’s obsession with pursuing engineering. Raju, played by Joshi, is initially scandalised by Rancho’s genius yet rebellious ways, but like Farhan, eventually realises that to pursue a career path simply to please society only results in fruitless efforts. Throughout the film, all three “idiots” faithfully stick by each other through four tough years at college, whether it be academic pressure, family issues or first love.

Lisa Haydon’s Vijaylakshmi

Queen (2014)

Vikas Bahl’s Queen (2014) was released to commercial and critical acclaim, telling the story of naïve Rani, played by Kangana Ranaut, who is jilted by her fiancé right before her wedding day and decides to go her honeymoon solo. A quintessentially feminist film, the message is painfully clear that contrary to Indian societal belief, a man with good breeding, education, and chosen by your parents still may not be Mr. Right. Aiding Rani on her journey of self-discovery is Vijaylakshmi, played by Lisa Haydon, who is every Indian mother’s nightmare – a self-confident, liberated single mother who sleeps with random men in hotel rooms and shows Rani how to have fun in the city of love, without even needing a man. Hayden’s portrayal of Vijaylakshmi as crazy and free-spirited on the outside but an extremely caring friend on the inside showed audiences the importance of letting go of society’s expectations and the loving yourself first and foremost.

Aditya Roy Kapur’s Avi

Avi and Bunny making up

Alhough now a star in his own right with movies like Aashiqui 2 (2013) and Malang (2020) under his belt, one of Kapur’s early acclaimed performances was as Avi in Ayan Mukerji’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013). Less sidekick and more troubled brother-in-arms, Kapur expertly portrayed the role of a lost man dealing with alcoholism and a gambling addiction, who notices life passing him by as he sees his best friend Bunny, played by Ranbir Kapoor, fulfill his dreams without him. Avi’s character growth from a playboy teenager to an adult realising that he cannot blame everyone else for his failures in life is one of the best aspects of the film and is on par with its addictive love story. YJHW also became the highest grossing film of Kapur’s career.



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