Celebrities are always in the public eye and we can recognize a lot of them just from the movies we’ve seen with them or the songs we love from them. One thing almost no one pays attention to are the roots the celebrities have. We know the famous couples, but we don’t know where they come from.

We’ve all heard about Bollywood and you’ve probably seen at least one Bollywood movie. Hindi cinema offers a lot of good movies and some of them are well known all around the world. However, a lot of the celebrities that start-up in Bollywood or just the Indian scene climb the steps and become world-famous.

These are the most famous people who come from India! Some of these celebrities are 100 percent Indian, while others are half White, half Indian and some of them have a mixed heritage. All of these people of Indian descent have had a lot of success in their film, television and even literature careers.

Ben Kingsley

source: independent.co.uk

Kingsley was born on December 31, 1943, in Yorkshire, England. His mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman) was an English actress and his father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was a Kenyan-born medical doctor, of Gujarati Indian descent.

Ben’s birth name is Krishna Bhanji, but soon after gathering fame, he changed his name to Ben Kingsley to make sure that a foreign name won’t hamper his acting career. Some of the movies that brought him fame and awards are Gandhi (1982), Schindler’s List (1993), The Tale of Sweeney Todd (1997), and Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001).

His iconic role featuring his Indian heritage in the movie Gandhi earned him the Best Actor trophy from the Academy Awards. He also has four Golden Globe nominations and a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Priyanka Chopra

source: thejakartapost.com

This actress is one of the most successful Bollywood stars who continued her career in Hollywood. She started getting recognized all around the world when she got the role of the lead character in the TV show Quantico.

At the same time, Priyanka played one of the lead roles in Bajirao Mastani, a Bollywood blockbuster. You’ve probably seen Chopra in Baywatch (2017). This amazing actress who manages to juggle Hollywood and Bollywood has gotten a lot of awards and recognitions for her amazing acting skills.

Priyanka, who was crowned Miss World in 2000, also has a thriving musical career. She had collaborations with famed musicians like Pitbull, Will.i.am, The Chainsmokers, and Jay Sean. Hollywood also paved the way for her to meet her husband, Nick Jonas. Today, they’re one of the most high-profile couples in the world.

She’s also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, allowing her to do philanthropic activities promoting girls’ education and children’s rights.


Nicki Minaj

source: toofab.com

One of the most famous pop singers of this generation, Minaj was born on December 8, 1982. Her father, Robert Maraj was an Indo-Trinidadian and her mother was Afro-Trinidadian. Nicki’s birth name is Onika Tanya Maraj and she was born in the twin Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

After she started her career and her path to success was almost guaranteed she changed her name from Maraj to Minaj.

Nicki is the first female solo artist who has had seven singles simultaneously on the U.S. Billboard hot 100 charts and the first female artist to have ever made the MTV Hottest MC List. She is world-famous and her success has gotten her a lot of awards, nominations and other prestigious musical accolades.

Because of this, the tabloids are filled with details about her public and private life. If you’re interested in reading something that you didn’t know before about Nicki and other world-famous celebrities, check out chilloutradio.com.

Irrfan Khan

source: cnn.com

This famous actor was born in Jaipur, Rajasthan (NW India) on January 7, 1967. His birth name is Born Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan and his family name comes from the Mongol and Turkish languages meaning king or a great leader. Khan was a skilled cricket player, but he couldn’t focus on his cricket career because he couldn’t afford it. In 1984 he earned a scholarship to the National School of Acting in New Delhi.

After starring in some Bollywood movies, he moved to the United States and his global acting career began. Some of the movies he’s most famous about are Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Life of Pi (2012), Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016).

Norah Jones

source: qwest.tv

Norah is the daughter of Sue Jones and the sitar virtuoso Pandit Ravi Shankar and her birth name is Geetali Norah Jones Shankar. She dropped part of her given name when she was 16, so she could fit better in the American music scene.

By 2001 Norah became an international star. She’s sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and she is a Grammy-winning singer and actress. Jones was named by Billboard as the top jazz artist of the last decade (2000-2009).

Norah’s angelic voice has wowed the world and earned her several Grammys on her debut album Come Away With Me in 2002. She has sold millions of records worldwide and is revered not only for her beautiful singing voice but her soft and versatile piano skills.  

Similar to Norah’s melodic voice is that of Arjit Singh, a famous Indian playback singer and composer who’s lent his voice to many Bollywood films. Today, the excellent singer married to Koel Roy is considered one of the most sought-after singers in the competitive Indian music industry.  

Freida Pinto

source: pinterest.com

Pinto was born in a Mangalorean family in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India. Her birth name is Freida Selena Pinto and unlike her colleagues, she didn’t change or modify her name after becoming part of Hollywood.

Her career began in modeling a few years before being discovered by the director Danny Boyle and gave her the role of the female lead in Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

Besides the award-winning movie, she’s known for her roles in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Immortals (2011) and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010).

Diana King

source: repeatingislands.com

This Jamaican by birth singer comes from a family with Indian roots. Her mother is of Indian descent and her father was Afro-Jamaican. Her international career began after releasing the hit single “Shy Guy” on the Sony Music Label in 2005. One of her songs was in the official soundtrack in the Hollywood movie Bad Boys (1995).

Her second album got to the number one position in the Billboard top 100 which made her become one of the most recognizable names in music. Wanting to get closer to her roots, she made a five-city tour of India in 1999. During her tour, she spoke of her roots and she said that she never thought she’d go back to India.

Other people who’ve made a career outside of India and are now well known all around the world are:

  • Aziz Ansari (comedian)
  • Padma Lakshmi (actress, TV host)
  • Night Shyamalan (director)
  • Mindy Kaling (actress)
  • Dev Patel (actor)
  • Kal Penn (actor)
  • Fareed Zakaria (journalist, political scientist, and author)
  • Maulik Pancholy (actor)
  • Tatyana Ali (singer)

All of these people are proof that you can make a career and become world-famous if you just focus on the things you love and believe in yourself. Did you know that these celebrities are of Indian descent? Who would you like to add to this list?