Bollywood Breaks

In Mumbai, his first break came around 2002. Vinay Apte, in whose play Upendra had earlier acted, was himself selected for a role by his friend, director Madhur Bhandarkar, for his forthcoming film, ‘Chandni Bar.’ A staunch admirer of Upendra’s talent, Vinay Apte recommended him to Bhandarkar, who gave Upendra a small role in the film. ‘Chandni Bar’ proved to be his entry into Bollywood’s mainstream cinema. Meanwhile, he continued getting parts in Marathi films and TV serials, where he was now a well-known actor.

And then came his real breakthrough. In 2004, Madhur Bhandarkar was planning his new film, ‘Page 3.’ Already impressed by Upendra’s talent and his commitment, he decided to cast him for the memorable role of Inspector Bhonsale in the film, vetoing the producer’s suggestion that the role should go to an established Bollywood star. When ‘Page 3’ was released in 2005, it turned out to be a blockbuster and Upendra’s role was universally praised.

It was his first mainstream commercial Bollywood movie. Suddenly, Bollywood doors opened for him. Noted film makers began calling him; offers poured in from South Indian film makers. His Bollywood journey had begun. After that, he appeared in a string of movies: Hindi film ‘Shiva,’ Madhur Bhandarkar's ‘Traffic Signal,’ Ram Gopal Verma's, ‘Darling’ and ‘Sarkar Raj,’ starring Amitabh Bacchan, Abhishek Bacchan, Aishwarya Rai, again in Ram Gopal Verma's crime drama, ‘Contract,’ H. Kambli’s ‘Pranali’ and Marathi film, ‘Urus.’