They’re not to the Bollywood manor born, but they’re on top today.
Shah Rukh Khan, actor
He had no father figure in the industry, but still has reached dizzying heights to claim the crown of King Khan. He has been the biggest exception in the perennial trend of TV stars failing to make it big in films. He is the proverbial outsider and has the most amazing grip on the Indian box-office and the heart of the masses too.
Priyanka Chopra, actress
She was just a beauty pageant winner like many others. But unlike those others, she knew how to use the latent talent. She chose the right kind of films that has made her the darling of the masses. And critics don’t complain either. She is the only female actor with the most varied mix of films in her kitty and all directors are dying to cast her.
Akshay Kumar, actor
A chef and a martial arts expert, he was a complete nobody. And then he became an action hero in a decade full of highly forgettable films. Slowly but steadily, he suddenly catapulted to a box-office magnet and one of the biggest stars in the subcontinent a decade after his debut. Critics be damned, his appeal lies with the masses.
Rajkumar Hirani, director
Supposed to be an engineer, he landed in FTII to learn the skills of editing. And then an editing assignment brought this quiet man close to completely the opposite and volatile Vidhu Vinod Chopra to form a formidable team. Now, with more back to back hits, he seems to be the only filmmaker, who can please the classes and the masses with equal élan.
Vishal Bhardwaj, director
With no connection in filmdom, fate got him connected to Gulzar and he became a music director. But the man of multiple talents soon bloomed into one of the most revered directors of modern Hindi cinema. He sings, gives music, writes, directs… God knows what’s left for this infinitely gifted man.