Were these actors offbeat or off the mark?
With Sriram Raghvan's gritty Badlapur -- set to release February 20 -- its lead actor Varun Dhawan seems to be stepping into the offbeat territory.
Experimenting with varied roles early on in their careers has been a mixed bag for Bollywood actors as far as past instances go.
Here's a look at how dabbling in offbeat roles early on has worked out for Bollywood stars through the years.
Varun Dhawan, Badlapur
After starring in mainstream hits like Student Of The Year, Main Tera Hero and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhnaiya, Varun Dhawan takes a detour from his chocolate boy image for his fourth film Badlapur.
The 27-year-old actor had reportedly signed the film right after debuting in Student Of The Year.
Priyanka Chopra, Aitraaz
She started her Bollywood innings by turning on the heat in Suneel Darshan's Andaaz.
For her sixth film, she signed up for Abbas-Mustan’s Aitraaz, which was inspired from the Demi Moore-starrer Hollywood film Disclosure.
She impressed audiences and critics with her villainous role and was a major contributing factor for the film’s bumper success.
Surprisingly, she played a negative role only once again, in Yakeen.
Kareena Kapoor, Refugee
Verdict: Below average
After rejecting Hrithik Roshan's masala movie launch vehicle Kaho Na... Pyar Hai, Kareena chose to debut in an unglamorous role, opposite Abhishek Bachchan, in J P Dutta’s Refugee.
A cross-border love story that was high on drama and dry on romance, the film wasn't the ideal star launch.
However, Kareena did well. She compensated for this later with a series of highly glamorous parts, notably in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
Shah Rukh Khan, Baazigar
Few superstars have played negative roles with aplomb and managed to win both audience sympathy and commercial success.
Shah Rukh Khan did so, very early in his career with Abbas-Mustan's Baazigar. It was his sixth film.
Aamir Khan, Raakh
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak redefined romance in Bollywood.
Immediately after that, its hero Aamir Khan played a vengeful brooding youngster in Raakh.
In fact, the core concept of Raakh is similar to Badlapur. The film was released only in a few theatres and went unnoticed.
Salman Khan, Suryavanshi
After a series of mushy romantic films, Salman Khan teamed up with Sheeba for the reincarnation film Suryavanshi that gave him an different look and avatar.
The film came fairly early in his career -- it was his eighth film -- and didn’t exactly enthuse audiences. Neither did a similar film of his, Chandramukhi.
Hrithik Roshan, Fiza
Verdict: Below average
After the bumper success of Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai, Hrithik Roshan took a risk by playing a terrorist in his second film, Fiza.
He also played brother to Karisma Kapoor, one of the top actresses of the time.
The film fetched him good reviews and had a good opening, but was unable to sustain at the box office.
John Abraham, Jism
A successful model back then, John Abraham kickstarted his movie career by playing an alcoholic in Jism.
It was a dark film, where he was cast opposite Bipasha Basu.
Though Basu featured more prominently in the film's publicity, John managed to find his place in the industry.
His critics took time to take him seriously as an actor, but John has managed to be around for a long time now.
Arjun Rampal, Moksha
Though his Pyaar, Ishq Aur Mohabbat and Deewanapan released earlier, Arjun Rampal had signed Moksha first.
The film took some time to be made and was partially shot in black and white.
Arjun played a lawyer in this experimental film that failed to set the cash registers ringing.
Arjun has dabbled in different genres in the last 15 years of his career.
Neil Nitin Mukesh, Johnny Gaddaar
In the few films he has acted in in the last eight years, Neil Nitin Mukesh has continued to work across genres.
This was apparent at the start of his career when he played a villain in Johnny Gaddaar, and was brilliant in it.