Did These Bollywood Actors Look Anything Like The Characters They Played On Screen? We’ll Never Really Know

Bollywood actors are cast for a variety of reasons. Talent, passion and sometimes just because they eerily resemble a character they’re supposed to be playing.

Bollywood Actors

This is pretty simple in most cases. Ranbir Kapoor’s get up as Sanjay Dutt for example. But it is significantly easier with a person’s picture or better yet, the actual person still being around.

The task casting directors face when trying to match a vague description and a portrait is much harder.

Which is why it’s fin to look into actors who’ve played legends who we know a lot about. Except exactly what they looked like.

NOTE: This is a subjective list, which is why only movies I’ve seen have been included. This is also not to say the actor’s performance was affected by his/her appearance. 

#1 Aamir Khan

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The revolutionary was played by Aamir Khan in a movie that received broadly mixed reviews. But the production department accounted for Pandey’s moustache and intimidating bearing and went from there.

Aamir Khan’s ferocity and a little dramatic license did the trick.

#2 Hrithik Roshan

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Akbar being a King was described in great detail by his courtiers as well as his family. Except, like most kings, the accounts vary. His son Jahangir described him as wheatish, with dark eyes and hair.

A Jesuit who visited his court mentioned that looking at him, you’d immediately know who the man was. He had a limp but no injury and legs that were perfect for horse riding.

Hrithik Roshan looks incredibly handsome while staring off into the middle distance, lending a touch of gravitas to a role that could have easily become boring to watch.

#3 Aishwarya Rai

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Historians disagree about the legitimacy of the name Jodha, however, the Rajput Queen of Akbar was known as the Mary of her day.

She came into her own as Jahangir’s mother and was exceptionally adventurous for a female consort. She owned her own ships that took pilgrimages to Mecca, received jewels from noblemen and was granted permission by Jehangir to issue official documents.

Little is known of how she actually looked, but Aishwarya Rai made us believe anyway.

#4 Dilip Kumar


Dilip Kumar was known as the Tragedy King and for good reason, but he was also reviewed as bringing a certain realism to his performances. The hot-headed and vulnerable Salim is a great example of his talents.

Which contrasted wonderfully with Prithviraj Kapoor’s larger than life performance.

#5 Prithviraj Kapoor

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A much more familiar vision of Akbar was presented to us in Mughal-E-Azam. As a portly and wise emperor, Kapoor held our rapt attention. Even without the precision and restraint of modern production design.

In K Asif’s wonderland, a fantastical Akbar is what we received and did so happily.

#6 Ranveer Singh

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Better known for his battle tactics, the Peshwa has received a revival in popularity thanks to the phenomenon that was Bajirao Mastani.

The movie did at points venture into moments where they turned a political marriage into love at first sight but Singh’s performance endured anyway.

#7 Deepika Padukone

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Historians debate about the reasons that Bajirao took a second wife, most agree it was a political match. But many concur that the Peshwa eventually regarded his second wife as a favourite. Beautiful and a skilled performer and warrior, Mastani is more of a legend than a real person.

Padukone did her great justice and gave us a strong protagonist with a real vulnerability. Skin lightening aside.

#8 Mehtab

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’s poem gave every school going child in India an impression of the Queen of Jhansi looked like. Brave, strong and rising into battle on her horse with her child tied behind her back.

Countless fancy dress outfits and essays were penned about her throughout our childhood.

And this fantastical figure is brought to life by Mehtab. Even though the movie performed abysmally, there’s no denying her efforts.

#9 Mahesh Manjrekar


Shivaji had various portraits commissioned and they all seem to resemble the same man.

Short-statured with a piercing gaze and a trimmed beard. Described as being fairer than most of his kingdom and quick on his feet. Many remarked however that he was quieter than you’d expect and only spoke when necessary.

Manjrekar’s performance echoed what the movie needed him to. And watching Shivaji Maharaj lecture a man about heritage and priorities is pretty enjoyable to watch.

#10 Shah Rukh Khan



Brooding Shah Rukh Khan is not what they were going for but it’s what they ended up with. To be fair, the filmmakers did insist the story isn’t a true historical adaptation, they were right.

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Posted by

Mehernaz Patel

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