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Looking at Bollywood's nerdy heroes

Last updated on: January 6, 2010 10:16 IST

Image: A scene from Pyaar Impossible

We're told Uday Chopra plays a geek in his upcoming Pyaar Impossible, written by the actor and featuring the luscious Priyanka Chopra.

The nerd role isn't new to Bollywood, though. Here's a look at some of our favourites.

Akshay Kumar in Jaan-E-Mann

Image: A scene from Jaane-E-Mann

Shirish Kunder cast against type in his directorial debut, setting up Akshay Kumar as the bespectacled geek Agastya Rao.
Salman Khan's cocky Suhaan was given the task of setting some style upon the soft-spoken and shy Agastya, who wore braces and jerri-curls in his college days and while his present-day avatar missed such obvious visuals, he still wore glasses and laughed heh-huh-heh like a good-natured jackass.

Amitabh Bachchan in Chupke Chupke

Image: A scene from Chupke Chupke

It was a time when A-listers didn't often play nerds, and Amitabh Bachchan balanced out his Deewar and Sholay the same year by playing Professor Sukumar Sinha in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Chupke Chupke.

An English professor forced to pretend to be a Botanist, his character was further burdened by big glasses perpetually slipping off his nose. An unforgettable Bachchan role.

Urmila in Khubsoorat

Image: A scene from Khubsoorat

Comic writer Sanjay Chhel entered direction with this simple reworking of the Rajesh Khanna classic Bawarchi, his update featuring Sanjay Dutt in the role of an imposter living with a big family and solving their problems.

Chief among these problems was the bespectacled, awkward Shivani, played by Urmila, who Dutt turned into a non-geeky swan, so to speak.

Aamir Khan in Deewana Mujhsa Nahin

Image: A scene from Deewana Mujhsa Nahin

In this 1990 film that foreshadowed Shah Rukh Khan's obsessed roles in Darr and Anjaam, Aamir Khan played the goofy and dweeby yet unmistakenly obsessed Ajay, a photographer well besotted by Madhuri Dixit's Anita.

As his obsession grew increasingly unhealthy, it showed that not just are nerds people, but they can be pretty scary too.

Shah Rukh Khan in Main Hoon Na

Image: A scene from Main Hoon Na

In Farah Khan's directorial debut, Shah Rukh Khan plays Major Ram Sharma. Asked to go undercover and infiltrate a college, he poses as an overage student and turns up in sweater-vests and is instantly a laughing stock.

The too-good-to-be-any-fun nerd act, while memorable, doesn't last too long, however, Khan soon turning into the inevitable college hero.

Hrithik Roshan in Koi... Mil Gaya

Image: A scene from Koi... Mil Gaya

In Rakesh Roshan's sci-fi superhit Koi... Mil Gaya, Hrithik plays the developmentally disabled Rohit, an uber-geek forced to go to school with children much, much younger than he is.

In typically Bollywood fashion, this retardation is treated geekily instead of stupidly, and one touch of an alien solves every problem.

Tushhar Kapoor in Gayab

Image: A scene from Gayab

In Prawal Raman's invisibility flick, Tusshar Kapoor's Vishnu Prasad is a nerd pining for neighbourhood hottie Antara Mali.

Randomly wishing he was invisible makes him so, and instead of doing more with the limitless opportunities handed his way by invisibility, he goes into voyeurism and tries everything to impress the girl -- making us believe he wasn't really smart enough to be a geek after all.

Ayesha Julka in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

Image: A scene from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

In Mansoor Khan's college classic, every character conforms to a collegey stereotype.

While Aamir Khan is the laidback cool dude and Pooja Bedi's the local hottie, Julka plays a bookish version of Betty Cooper, forever studying and doing well in class, stopping only to pause and twirl when smitten by the cool dude. Heh.

Ajay Devgn in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Image: A scene from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

In Sanjay Leela Bhansali's most colourful film, Aishwarya Rai stars as the firebrand Nandini, embarking on a whirlwind forbidden romance with the dashing and cavalier Sameer, played by Salman Khan.

The family objects and she's married off to Devgn's Vanraj, a soft-spoken young man who rather embarrassingly breaks into song when asked to. And then he decides to take his wife back to her lover. A screen dweeb if ever there was one.

Shah Rukh Khan in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Image: A scene from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

In Aditya Chopra's befuddling 2008 film, SRK stars as the quiet and mousy Surinder Suri, a mid-level executive at Punjab Power.

He's a meek, shy fellow with glasses and many inhibitions yet -- thanks to the script -- he can shrug it all off with hairgel and a snap of his fingers, transforming into the typically SRK 'Raj' character. If only every geek could just 'change,' based on mood, ha.