Over the years, the stereotypical notion of ‘heroes,’ ‘heroines’ and ‘villains’ have changed in Bollywood. Though once a year there is a successful big-budget action film where a single hero takes on a hundred baddies, people have now started appreciating other kinds of films as well.
With this factor in mind, many film stars are reinventing themselves. Gone are the days when Bollywood stars only accepted hero-centric films.
Let us take a look at stars who had no qualms in doing ensemble films despite delivering solo hits.
Though ensemble films have now gained popularity again following a period of scarcity, Amitabh Bachchan was an actor who never shied away from taking such roles. From Chupke Chupke, Sholay and Satte Pe Satta to recent films like Mohabbatein, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Wazir and his upcoming Chehhre, the megastar has always kept his filmography versatile. He is arguably the actor with the longest successful career and it is probably because of his great script sense. Despite being the ‘century’s superstar’, he is not stubborn about the spotlight constantly being on him.
Ajay Devgn’s success lies in the fact that he is constantly reinventing himself. If you take a look at his last five films, they will all be of different genres. Similarly, he has been a part of many ensemble films and franchises. Be it Qayamat: City Under Threat, LOC: Kargil, the Golmaal franchise, Baadshaho, Omkara, or Total Dhamaal, he has effortlessly adapted into each ensemble role, never sticking out like a sore thumb.
From Andaz Apna Apna, Rang De Basanti to 3 Idiots, Dhoom 3 and Dangal, some of Aamir Khan’s most popular roles have been in ensemble films. Sure, many of these did focus on him, but the spotlight was shared equally by all the actors. The 90s was full of ‘macho’ heroes, and many of his contemporaries still like to do one-hero films. Hence, Aamir is much ahead in this category.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
In Bollywood, the choices given to female actors in terms of the variety of their roles are less. That is why this list is male-dominated by default. Kareena Kapoor Khan is one of the very few actresses who have been given the opportunity of choosing between ensemble and solo-lead films. And she has been amazing in both the categories. With films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Omkara, Yuva, Golmaal 2 and Golmaal 3, LOC: Kargil, 3 Idiots, Udta Punjab and Veere Di Wedding, Kareena has proved that she is more than willing to share the spotlight. Her upcoming film Takht will also fall in this category
Sushant Singh Rajput
It can be argued that some of Sushant Singh Rajput’s best performances were in ensemble films. He debuted with Kai Po Che, which had three leads. He then went to give memorable performances in PK, Sonchiriya and Chhichhore. Sushant cared about his performance more than the spotlight and his filmography is testament to the fact.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (cameo), Veer Zara, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehla, Talaash, LOC: Kargil, are among a few ensemble films Rani has done. She has also done more movies with three lead actors such as Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega. Rani, too, has constantly given epic performances, be it in solo lead projects or in ensemble films. In fact, her upcoming film, Bunty Aur Babli 2 is also an ensemble project with Saif Ali Khan, Siddhanth Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh.
Sanjay Dutt has had a long and successful career as a superstar in Bollywood, right from Rocky. However, that hasn’t stopped him from doing ensemble films. From LOC: Kargil, Dhamaal, Kaante, PK, Double Dhamaal, and Shootout at Lokhandwala, he has been a part of many ensemble movies, many of which are blockbusters. In fact, his upcoming films, Bhuj: The Pride of India and KGF Chapter 2 are also multi-starrers.
Actor Sharman Joshi’s 2012 film Ferrari Ki Sawaari was an unprecedented Box-office hit. The actor has, however, not limited himself to solo hit films after that. He has worked in the 1920 films, Hate Story 3, Mission Mangal, 3 Storeys, Gang of Ghosts, among others. Before Ferrari Ki Sawaari, he was a part of superhit ensembles including 3 Idiots, Golmaal: Fun Unlimited, Style, Hello, Life in a Metro, Dhol, Xcuse Me among others.