With the Bollywood industry gaining mass popularity in recent years, as noted by Forbes, it’s of no surprise that people from all around the globe are starting to appreciate the beauty of Indian cinema.

Here are 5 famous Bollywood stars who have ventured way beyond India to achieve worldwide stardom that you should know.

1.Shah Rukh Khan


Often referred to as “King Khan” or the “King of Bollywood”, Shah Rukh Khan, 49, is undoubtedly the most famous Bollywood actor of all time. He’s starred in over 80 Bollywood films till date, most of them worldwide blockbusters.

From a corny, love-struck 20 year-old in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge to a middle-aged man suffering from the Asperger’s syndrome in My Name Is Khan, King Khan is one of few Bollywood stars who can portray themselves effectively given any role.

Shah Rukh Khan’s contribution to the Indian film industry has even been recognized by Madame Tussauds’ wax museums, with his wax figures on display at their London, New York and Singapore branches. In fact, at our local branch, his lookalike is under the ‘A-list party’ section, alongside Hollywood superstars Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Says a lot about the man eh? Actually, it’s not so surprising considering he is the second richest actor in the world (yes you read that right!) way ahead of the likes of Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp, with an estimated wealth of $600 million.

A dedicated actor with a never-say-die attitude, his character in My Name Is Khan required him to raise his eyebrow at every scene and tilt his neck a certain angle to make his autism look realistic. Despite suffering from migraine and other side effects after repeatedly doing this during filming, he soldiered on nevertheless.

Shah Rukh Khan’s elegance and charm has captured the hearts of many all around the world, including Singaporeans. Till this day in Singapore, it’s a common sight to see local bands perform his classic hits such as ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and “Maahi Ve” from Kal Ho Na Ho at Malay weddings.

What the fans think: “Whenever I think of Bollywood, I think Shah Rukh Khan. His acting captivates me and I often find myself in a daze after watching his movies.” – Zainab Saleem, 19, student.

2.Priyanka Chopra



Divine, elegant, ravishing; the list of compliments goes on.

Unlike most actresses, Priyanka Chopra, 32, made a name for herself outside the Bollywood industry first, when she was crowned Miss World 2000, following in the footsteps of fellow Miss World (1994)-turned-Bollywood star, Aishwariya Rai.

Acting and modeling skills aside, Priyanka is also blessed with a lovely voice, and her singing accolades have stretched far beyond Bollywood.

Her debut single “In My City” featured rapper will.i.am. and earned her nominations for “Best Music Video” and “Best Female Artist” at the World Music Awards 2012.

Her big break-through moment came when she paired up with Pitbull for the release of her second single “Exotic”. It was a commercial success peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Top 100 Charts, and its music video has close to 62 million views on YouTube till date.

Entertainment aside, Priyanka Chopra is a staunch advocate for Women’s rights. One of her articles titled “Priyanka Chopra: when girls are empowered, we all do better”, was featured in The Guardian, while the international women’s magazine, Elle, has her down as a regular columnist.

Much more than just your typical Bollywood movie star, this multi-faceted enigma has ventured into horizons that will continue to open more doors worldwide for the Bollywood industry.

What the fans think: “For me, Priyanka’s bravery is really commendable. The fact she gets offers for so many projects outside Bollywood says a lot about her open mindedness.” – Sanraj Singh, 18, student.

3.Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

aishwaryaraiFrom advertising for Camlin pencils in 9th grade to becoming the first Bollywood actress to win Miss World in 1994, it’s fair to say that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, 41 ,has been in the limelight from the very start.

The most distinct feature of her acting has to be her eye movements. She’s one of few Bollywood actresses that savors every dialogue that she delivers, and her intense gaze makes her appearance on screen truly mesmerizing. It’s the perfect combination of slow but effective.

So in demand is she that while filming Dhoom 2 in the beaches of Copacabana, Brazil in 2006, she even had to forgo a lunch offer with then US president George W Bush. Bollywood aside, she has also starred in two high profile Hollywood movies, Last Legion starring Colin Firth and The Pink Panther 2 featuring American comedian Steve Martin.

While Aishwarya Rai has continuously vowed audiences with her glamorous ’reel life‘, she is a beautiful person in ’real life‘ too, both inside and out.

Just a few years ago, the lady with a lovely mix of blue-green eyes pledged to donate them to the Eye Bank Association of India when she passes on, stating that, “People know me more because of my eyes. So, I decided to donate my eyes.” Now if that doesn’t scream “impressive!” at you or makes your heart melt then I am not sure what will.

What the fans think : “At first I thought of Ash as a stuck up person due to her acting style but I was so wrong. I failed to recognize the art of her acting. She’s a lot more than just a Hindi movie star in my eyes.” – Ashruf Khan, 22, undergraduate.

4.Amitabh Bachchan

BigBHe may the oldest on this list but 72-year-old Amitabh Bachchan, or “Big B” as he is fondly called in the film industry, is one of the pioneers of Bollywood for the past 56 years.

Often referred to as the jack-of-all-trades, Big B isn’t merely an actor. He sings, narrates, hosts and of course, dances (considering his age, he does it quite well!)

From all his father figure roles in the past 15 years, Amitabh has been portrayed as strict, ruthless, and even a guardian angel. Mohabbatein and Kabhi Kushie Kabhie Gham are two movies that stand out where his roles have shown the dichotomy of his personalities.

He was also named the “Greatest start on stage or on screen” in an online poll conducted by the BBC in 1999. Also, how many 72 year-olds tweet every day to thank their legions of fans and keep them updated of their latest ongoings? That says a lot about him as a person, let alone a Bollywood superstar.

What the fans think: “Contrary to popular opinion, Amitabh has always seemed like a jovial man who loves to fool around. I struggle to recognize him when he takes up serious roles in movies.” – Harveen Gill, 21, national serviceman.

5.Deepika Padukone


We go from the oldest to the youngest on our list. One of the fresh faces of present day Bollywood, Deepika Padukone, 29, is your typical, happy-go-lucky girl with big dreams

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and raised in Bangalore, India, Deepika’s rise to stardom was the stuff of dreams. Well renowned choreographer and director Farah Khan first spotted Deepika while she was working for a small-time music video.

In her first film Om Shanti Om, Deepika, then just 21, acted alongside Shah Rukh Khan. What was even more remarkable was that she played a double role in this film. How about that for a Bollywood debut?!

From a spoilt, sex-loving party girl in Cocktail to a shy and reserved introvert in Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani, her wide variety of acting styles will surely entice you.

Deepika’s talent even earned her an opportunity to act in the recent Fast and Furious 7, a rare opportunity to be in a Hollywood blockbuster. Unfortunately, she turned it down as she was too busy filming for Ram-Leela, Bollywood’s version of Romeo and Juliet. That on its own truly testifies her commitment to the Bollywood industry.

What the fans think: “I simply adore Deepika ! For someone who broke into the Indian film industry at such a young age, she’s incredibly mature and I can only see her getting better.” Siti Zafirah, 19, student.

With Bollywood becoming increasingly prominent in the international entertainment scene, we suggest you take some time off from the latest Brad Pitt installment (or whatever that is trending these days) and catch these Bollywood big shots in action. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the beauty 21st Century Indian cinema can offer.

Photos courtesy of Tag Heuer, GUESS, AP, Sony Entertainment Television and Vogue.