And their outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema
Bollywood’s Animal Heroes… No, I am not talking about Sanjeev Kumar from Jaani Dushman or Rahul Roy in Junoon or a shirtless Anil Kapoor; I am talking about real animals who outshone their films’ leading actors in their award-winning performances. Sadly, no award categories exist for these actors par excellence and their contribution to their films’ success went largely un-rewarded. This article is a tribute to some of the best performances by animals in leading roles.
This actor is probably the only one on this list who got the recognition he deserved. His likes became the most popular pets in the middle class and upper middle class Punjabi households. Naming one’s pet after him was like a status symbol and he literally started the trend of pet-styling in India. He is none other than India’s most popular dog actor, Tuffy the Pomeranian from Sooraj Barjatya’s 1994 blockbuster, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, also starring Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan in supporting roles. Tuffy was not only a pet in the film but the lead character; he dressed well in fancy Nermés scarves and Golce & Dabbana sunglasses and had elaborate dance sequences picturised around him. His emotional scene where he refuses food after his mother figure, Pooja (Renuka Shahane) dies was restrained and showcased mastery over his craft. His big moment in the film is the climax where Lord Krishna himself blesses him to resolve the big crisis. Tuffy saves the day by getting two lovers together and making the film one of the biggest blockbusters in the history of Indian cinema.
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