The Indian sports industry is enjoying astronomic growth. Elite stars like Virat Kohli and Sunil Chhetri have become global celebrities, with millions of fans and thousands more engaging in online crypto football betting when these sports stars play.
More interestingly, the Indian sports industry is experiencing an exciting intersection with Bollywood. Athletes who have featured extensively in some of the biggest tournaments both in India and globally have appeared in Bollywood movies, giving these movies a unique, entertaining flavor.
In this article, we will explore some of the most renowned Indian athletes to appear in Bollywood movies.
1. Ajay Jadeja
Before going on to have a life in Bollywood, Ajay Jadeja was known to be an all-rounder, right-arm medium cricket player. He had played severally for the Indian cricket team from his glory days which lasted from 1992 – 2000.
During that time, he played 196 One Day Internationals (ODI) and 15 Test matches for India.
From 1988 – 2013, Ajay Jadeja also played for domestic teams, including Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Rajasthan. After retiring from playing cricket in 2013, he became the main coach of the Delhi cricket team in 2015 and later resigned to be a cricket commentator.
Meanwhile, during his playtime in the early 2000s, Ajay Jadeja branched into Bollywood. Ajay Jadeja appeared in the 2003 movie Khel, where he played the lead role alongside Sunil Shetty and Sunny Deol.
He also appeared in the 2009 movie, Pal Pal Dil Ke Ssaat, which was directed by V.K.Kumar.
2. Sunil Gavaskar
Known for his fast bowling technique and acknowledged as one of the finest opening batsmen in India, Sunil Gavaskar had most of his career playing cricket for the Indian cricket national team.
He also played for two domestic cricket teams, which are Bombay and Somerset.
Throughout his cricket career, which lasted from 1971 – 1987, Sunil Gavaskar has played 108 times in the One Time Internationals (ODI), 125 times in Test matches, 348 times in First-Class cricket, and 151 times in List A cricket.
Sunil Gavaskar also held captain while at the Indian cricket national team and received the Arjuna Award.
Seven years before his cricket career was over, Arjuna Award appeared in Bollywood, playing a lead role in a 1980 movie, Savli Premachi.
Immediately after his retirement from playing cricket in 1987, he started appearing on TV specials. The following year, we saw him in Bollywood again playing a guest role in the 1998 movie, Maalamaal.
3. Vijay Amritraj
Vijay Amritraj is one of the Indian right-handed (one-handed backhand) finest tennis players who were actively playing in the 70s up until the early 90s when he retired.
He has won several career titles and honors to his name, including an honor for his contributions to tennis in London, which was given by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and International Tennis Federation.
Before retirement, Vijay Amritraj juggled acting alongside playing tennis. His most memorable and oldest movie is the 1983 James Bond film, Octopussy, where he played Vijay, the MI6 intelligence operative.
In 1986, he had a short appearance as a random captain in the popular movie, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Vijay Amritraj also starred in Television series too, like Yakov Smirnoff’s comedy series, What a Country, and the NBC TV series, The Last Precinct.
4. Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev is one of Indian brightest and most respected cricketers. He was known to be one of the fast-medium bowlers of all time, and his hard-hitting middle-order batsmanship spoke of true skills.
He started his career as a cricketer in a domestic team, Haryana, and later went on to play for the Indian national cricket team.
During his glory days as a veteran all-rounder cricketer, Kapil Dev had several career title and awards to his name, some of which includes the Indian Cricketer of the Century (2002), the Arjuna Award, ICC Cricket Hall of Fame, and more.
To add to that, he has also set amazing records like becoming the youngest captain to lead the national team to victory at the World Cup cricket competition and holding the highest number of wickets taken before the year 2000.
Four years after retirement (1994), we could see Kapil Dev starring in Season 1, Episode 289,290 (Howzzat?) of the Indian police TV series, C.I.D.
He also went on to act in more movies including Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004), Iqbal (2005), Chain Kulii Ki Main Kulii (2007), 83 (film) (2021), and Double XL (2022).
5. Dara Singh
Dara Singh had a successful wrestling career between 1947 – 1983 and stood mostly undefeated before switching over to acting.
Lead roles for Dara Singh started coming in 1962 when he starred in the 1962 movie, King Kong, directed by Babubhai Mistry.
As of 1963, he had already garnered 16 more Hindi movies to his belt whilst partnering with Mumtaz. In that year, Dara Singh rose to be one of the highest-paid Bollywood actors.
Further, into his acting career, Dara Singh went on to act in many Bollywood movies and TV series. He also dabbled into directing and politics. But he mainly gained fame as an actor until he died in 2012.
6. Vinod Kambli
Vinod Kambli started his cricket carer as a right-arm batsman in the Mumbai cricket team. He played cricket from 1989 – 2011 only for the Indian national cricket team and the Mumbai cricket team.
Vinod Kambli didn’t have many stays playing cricket as he later retired in 2011.
Although during his career as a cricketer, Vinod Kambli ventured into Bollywood. He starred in the movies: Annarth (2002), Pal Pal Dil Ke Ssaat (2009), and Bettanagere (2015). He also appeared in the 2002 TV series, Miss India.
To finalize this article, the line between sports and screens is becoming thin. These Indian athletes have shown the world that it is possible to delve into the many career aspects you love and still be good at it.