Ms. Marvel Episode 4 Features The MCU Debut Of A Major Bollywood Star

Warning: major spoilers ahead for episode 4 of "Ms. Marvel."

"Ms. Marvel" features stellar representation for us South Asians, as the Disney+ show paints an authentic picture of Pakistani culture while delving into the nuances of the India-Pakistan partition, which is an integral aspect of Kamala Khan's (Iman Vellani) backstory. In episode 2, we saw Kamala and Kamran (Rish Shah) gushing over Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, and the show's latest episode features the MCU debut of a famous Bollywood actor-director: Farhan Akhtar.

I had never expected Farhan Akhtar to pop up in "Ms. Marvel," or any MCU property for that matter, and while his cameo was brief (more on that later), it is an essential moment for fans of the actor. In case you're not familiar with Akhtar's work, fret not. Here's a breakdown of the actor's career, a brief guide to the must-see films he's starred in and directed, and the significance of his role in "Ms. Marvel."

An incredibly nuanced director and performer

Akhtar made his directorial debut in the Indian film industry with the critically-acclaimed "Dil Chahta Hai," which still stands as a timeless, relevant portrayal of the complexity of relationships, and Indian youth in particular. "Dil Chahta Hai" is a landmark film in many ways, endlessly rewatchable, offering an endearing portrayal of male friendships. After this, Akhtar went on to direct the popular "Lakshya," and the explosively successful "Don" and "Don 2," which interestingly featured Shah Rukh Khan in the titular role.

While Akhtar's directorial career is impressive enough, he went on to star in the musical drama "Rock On!!" and the soundtrack of the film is a banger to this day (seriously, please check it out). Then came the trailblazing "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara," directed by his sister Zoya Akhtar, and the film is a beautiful rumination on friendship and the bonds we make along the way, and how one can deal with the pain embedded into human existence. Akhtar won Best Supporting Actor in the National Film Awards for his portrayal of Imran Qureshi in "Zindagi."

Then on, he went on to play legendary track and field sprinter Milkha Singh in the biopic "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag," and later starred in the comedy-drama "Dil Dhadakne Do." Akhtar was heavily praised for both performances, especially for his portrayal of Milkha Singh, for which he earned the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.

Akhtar's cameo as Waleed in Ms. Marvel

In episode 4, Kamala meets Kareem aka Red Dagger (Aramis Knight), who takes her to the hidden lair of the Red Daggers, wherein Kamala meets Waleed (Akhtar). While we are not told how Waleed's story ties into that of Aisha's, he seemed to be aware of the Clandestine plan to merge Earth-616 with the Noor dimension, asking Kamala to keep the bangle safe. Waleed also explains that the Red Daggers take it upon themselves to protect people from unseen threats, and hands Kamala a special blue-green cloth, which might come in handy in the story that unfolds in the upcoming episode.

After the Clandestines attack, Waleed, Kareem, and Kamala are chased by them, and Waleed distracts the group to allow the kids to get away. Unfortunately, he is stabbed in the process, and apparently, dies. While the show puts an end to Waleed's story rather abruptly, this might just be a deliberate misdirection — is it possible that Waleed is still alive, and that he is more involved in the Clandestine plan that he initially let on?

Even if the show does not venture that route, we will hopefully learn more about this mysterious man, and how Kareem met him and started working alongside him in the first place. This also raises questions about Aisha's role in the equation, and we will hopefully get satisfying answers in the next episode, which might open with the train flashback vision Kamala experiences, courtesy of the bangle.

Which Farhan Akhtar films should you absolutely check out?

Although I am tempted to recommend a huge chunk of his films, I'll stick to the ones that truly stand out and highlight Akhtar's visionary directing skills and stellar performances:

Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

Akhtar's directorial debut, the film focuses on the transitional period between adolescence and adulthood and features an ensemble cast, including Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, and Preity Zinta, among others. "Dil Chahta Hai" is a must-see coming-of-age film and is a real tearjerker.

Lakshya (2004)

"Lakshya" follows a listless young man (Hrithik Roshan), who undergoes an immense physical and psychological transformation after he decides to enroll in the Indian Army in order to impress the woman he loves. The film achieved cult status years after its release and features a really cool soundtrack.

Rock On!! (2008)

"Rock On!!" is a great musical drama, and Akhtar shines in the role of rebellious lead singer Aditya Shroff. The tracks are great, and the film itself handles the intersection of music and interpersonal relationships rather maturely while contextualizing it within Indian culture. The film is immensely resonant in an emotional sense, and all the performances are top-tier; no notes.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

This buddy road-trip drama is another must-see, and it follows three childhood friends, Arjun, Kabir, and Imran, following their individual stories that intersect in meaningful ways. "Zindagi" is endlessly quotable, and consists of a bit of everything, as it tackles serious topics while also injecting good-natured humor into some scenes. Check out the song "Señorita" from the film, you can thank me later.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Bringing the story of a legendary Indian athlete to life is no small feat, and Akhtar plays Mikha with grace, wit, and nuance. The film, while highlighting Singh's professional talents, weaves a compelling story about the athlete's personal motivations. The dramatics are restrained, and the grounded elements of the film truly shine through.