Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022

Star Power: How Bollywood Star Lookalikes Are Seeking Their Place Under The Sun

Former TikTok stars from rural India are struggling to get noticed on a more elitist Instagram Reels

Beyond the stars (left) Md Islam Khan as Suneil Shetty; and Shashikant Pedwal as Big B

Life has changed a lot for Md Islam Khan in the last five years. Once a small mas­o­nry contractor for fitting floor tiles in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh, he is now a Mumbaikar, following his passion for acting. His appearance—when he dons black goggles and lip syncs to dialogues from the film Dhad­kan, he does look a lot like Bollywood star Suneil Shetty—was a big help.

But Khan never thought of acting until 2017. “Once, I was busy in my usual work fitting tiles at a house, when someone told me you look like Anna (Shetty in Dhadkan). I thought he was kidding. But people kept repeating that. At the time, TikTok was getting popular, so somebody suggested I make mimicry videos. So, I started making videos on TikTok,” Khan says.