On 3rd May,1913-a century ago-the first Indian film:Raja Harishchandra opened it's doors to the audience giving an upstart to an era of glory,glitz and greatness and an obsession with our stars from time immemorial. As Indian Cinema completes a glorious century of entertaining billions today let us look at the actors and actresses across the country whom we've admired not only for their disarming hysterics but also box-office appeal,good looks,nationwide appeal.First a look at the several Indian actors who made an impression on Indian Cinema.As per a poll by CNN-IBN,kate Telegu giant NTR was adjuged the greatest Indian actor of 100 years.Who do you reckon out of these giants is the best?
N.T. RAMA RAO:
NTR, as he was fondly known, was a giant of Telugu cinema famous for playing mythological characters, including Krishna and Rama. Later in his career, he switched from playing deities to the common man fighting the system. NTR became one of the most successful crossovers from movies to politics. He founded the Telugu Desam Party and served as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh for three terms. He died of a massive heart attack in 1996.
The first man to get a Filmfare Award for acting,Dilip Kumar was a splendidly naturalistic hero, one of the first mainstream actors to eschew theatricality in favour of a more understated approach. And yet, perhaps because of this very approach, few could ever do high drama quite like Dilipsa'ab.Appearing in many of Bollywood's landmark films, including Mughal-e-Azam, Naya Daur, Ganga-Jamuna, Madhumati, Devdas and Ram Aur Shyam and is cited as the favourite of countless future greats-from Amitabh Bachchan to SRK.
Forty years and counting. The Big B is a legend without parallel in Indian or World cinema, a man who has been ruling the industry for an unfathomably long time.Best known for playing the Angry Young Man through the 1970s when audiences thirsted for a fighter, Bachchan evolved over the years into an actor who can do anything at all: from his “angry young man” in Zanjeer, Deewar,Sholay and Agneepath, through the romantic and comedic hero of Silsila,Kabhi Kabhie,Namak Halaal & Amar Akbar Anthony. Undeniably the “Poster Boy Of Indian Cinema”.
If ever there was a one-man industry, Kamal Haasan is it. Actor, director, screenwriter, producer and choreopgrapher, there is nothing that he can't do. A highly respected actor, Kamal is unquestionably a living legend, one who has stretched himself beyond the points of fathomable versatility. Perhaps most applauded for his performance in Mani Rathnam's Nayagan, Haasan is a rigid method actor who breathes the air his characters do.The truly impressive thing, however, is his refusal to be pigeonholed into any one 'kind' of cinema.
The Showman of Bollywood took the Kapoor clan from a travelling theatre group to the first family of the screen. Cinema's lovable tramp, Kapoor gamely put himself through the popular poor-man prism to entertain audiences by giving them just what they most longed for. Brimming with an almost unbearable optimism, Kapoor's screen persona smiled at the hardest of times, showering simple, sheer pleasure on grateful audiences hungering for escape.He and his films were adored in the USSR, China and Middle East, creating a diplomatic channel for India.
Literature-loving Bengal embraced the movies with abandon, and never more so when Uttam Kumar romanced Suchitra Sen in black-and-white. He ushered in a new Bengali hero – urbane, sophisticated and charming dominating Bengali cinema for three decades.A veritable one-man industry, Uttam Kumar was the first ever recipient of the National Award for Best Actor, winning the prize for his performances in Anthony Firinghee and Satyajit Ray's Chiriyakhana. He died of a heart attack in 1980 and Kolkata came to a standstill as the funeral procession would it's way to the crematorium, with fans thronging the streets for a last look at their hero.
In the Tamil lexicon, Sivaji Ganesan is legendary. The first ever Indian star to win a Best Actor award at an international film festival, Sivaji Ganesan is cited by many South Indian actors as their biggest influence. He played a variety of roles, from villain to hero, and was beloved for his portrayal of mythological characters. Many of his films were remade in other languages.Sivaji Ganesan also had a surprisingly unsuccessful stint in politics, serving with the Congress and Janata Dal. He died in 2001 after having suffered from heart illness for years.
The term “superstar” was coined for Rajesh Khanna, who inspired fan frenzy and hysteria of unprecedented proportions. Film lore says that the mere sight of him caused women to faint, he was sent letters written in blood, and his driver had to clean lipstick marks off his car everyday. Rajesh Khanna was beloved not just for his hairstyle, distinctive kurta and sideways nod, but also for memorable screen characters like the eponymous Anand, from who he took a cue and left a prerecorded farewell message to be played after his death.
Google ”Rajnikanth jokes” and you’ll find out how Rajni spins the world like a basketball or how he’s the only one who can count to infinity.Asia's second highest paid actor after Jackie Chan,he might be the country's most revered Superstar, but very early in his career did Rajnikanth decide to go incredibly mainstream, embracing a larger-than-life persona that mythically overshadowed his impressive thespian abilities. Rajinikanth has not died on-screen for several years now because producers fear that his character's death would send fans on a rampage.
Film experts often discuss with surprise and wonder the fact that an actor of Balraj Sahni's caliber never received a single award. A disarmingly natural actor with a sophisticated style that naturally veered away from showiness, Sahni was an excellent foil for the NeoRealist filmmakers in India.Several of his performances are acting masterclasses, but he will perhaps be remembered most for his role in Garam Hawa, where he played a defiant Muslim man refusing to leave India during the partition.
MGR, an actor-politician like Telugu counterpart NTR, was the heartthrob of Tamil cinema, appearing in a string of blockbuster romance and action films. MGR won the National Award for Rickshawkaran and broke box office records with Ulagam Sutrum Vaalibhan, one of the early films to be shot abroad. MGR founded the AIADMK and served three terms as chief minister of Tamil Nadu which was short lived as he was shot in the ear by actor-politician M R Radha. MGR died of a kidney illness in 1987.
Without question one of the finest actors ever seen on our screens, Kapur possesses the chameleonic ability to completely immerse himself into his characters.Be it the hopeless junkie from Khamosh, the exasperated tongue-flicker of Ek Ruka Huya Faisla, the sinister mafia head in Maqbool or the despicably corrupt builder from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro: the result is always stunning.
A tour de force in the modern Indian theatre movement, Utpal Dutt straddled the world of Bengali cinema and Bollywood with ease. He made the character actor respectable in films like in Gol Mal, Rang Birangi and Naram Garam. Satyajit Ray cast him in several movies including Agantuk, Jana Aranya and Hirak Rajar Deshe. In Mrinal Sen's landmark Bhuvan Shome his performance of an uncompromising civil servant who takes a holiday that transforms him and his world view fetched him a National Award.
Unlike most other South Indian stars, he never appeared in films in any other language but Kannada, though some of him movie were dubbed into Telugu. Dr Rajkumar began acting at the age of eight and starred in over 220 films. Winner of two National Film awards for Best Actor, his popularity was unmatched while he was active in movies.Although he did not opt for a political career,he is credited with promoting and protecting the Kannada language.
A pioneer actor from the parallel cinema movement, Naseeruddin Shah's impact on Indian pop culture has been immense. The first true star of independent Hindi cinema, Naseer was one of the few actors who, thanks to his dashing charm, flourished on both sides of the fence, finding both arthouse as well as masala success. Few heroes can manage a Tirchhi Topiwale alongside a Mirch Masala, but Shah remains every director's dream actor.
Like Rajinikanth, Malayalam titan Mohanlal started his tryst with destiny as a villain. 25 films later, he switched to playing the hero and also forged a hit partnership with director Priyadarshan. He has since played a variety of roles ranging from romantic to tragic, comic to dramatic while also making successful inroads into Tamil and Hindi cinema winning three National Awards for Best Actor, including a Special Jury award.
When it comes to sheer versatility and the ability to portray characters as different as chalk and cheese then Ashok Kumar’s resume-that stretching over six decades and 305 films,ranging from a grandfather to a suave criminal to a dirty old man-would be hard to beat.After all he’s the most recognised star from India’s silent film and immediate post-indepedence era.
Three-time National Award winner Mammootty is a matinee idol in Kerala, star of hit films like Athirathram and Oru CBI Diary Kurippu. A frequent collaborator of director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mammootty has also appeared in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films.With Mohanlal, Mammootty makes up the top echelon of Malayalam movies. He is also beloved in Kerala for his involvement in philanthropic projects.
It's impossible to narrow down this terrific actor's most memorable performance, and for sheer awesomeness we can just look at two ends of the Sanjeev Kumar spectrum: Sholay, where he played a dramatically helpless hero, making up for lack of limbs with spectacular grit; and Angoor, where he delivered one of the most effortlessly perfect comedic performances of all time.
In keeping with the tradition of Rajinikanth and Mohanlal, Chiranjeevi started out as an anti-hero. His stylized performances gradually earned him not just the lead roles but also superstardom. By the mid-Eighties he churned out blockbuster after blockbuster & was hailed as the man who put act into action also appearing in Bollywood films.
"When you are at an impressionable age you make idols. But when you grow out of the phase, you develop your own persona. I don't want to be known as India's Gregory Peck, I am Dev Anand",said Dev of his comparison to Gregory Peck. Indeed when you’re Dev Anand,the coiffed hair,the deer-stalker hat,the uber-cool collars and never-say-die attitude is enough to have fans swooning left,right and centre.With a career spanning over 65 years and 114 films,the forever young Devsaab continued to rule the hearts of the audience from films like Jewel Thief,Guide,C.I.D.,Kala Pani in the 60s to his death two years back.
Recently awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award,Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee is a living legend in his own terms known among other things for his frequent collaborations with the great Bengali film director Satyajit Ray and his constant comparison with the Bengali screen idol Uttam Kumar.
Bollywood actors were never quite known to be lookers,leaving that part to the pretty ladies to fulfil.When the lean and mean Dharmendra burst into screen with his chiselled face and alpha male personality,it had all the women in the audience quivering with delight at the arrival of Indian Cinema’s definitive He-Man.Also considered to be one of Bollywood’s most commercially successful stars,Garam Dharam’s illustrious career has spanned over decades including Sholay.
The fresh-faced teen idol of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak proved he was not going to be an average superstar with his second film.Known for his willingness to experiment and his dedication to detail, Aamir has played against type his whole life, graduating from chocolate boy roles in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander to dramatic successes in Sarfarosh, Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai and Rang De Basanti while making an acclaimed debut as director with Taare Zameen Par & starring in Bollywood's top-grossing film 3 Idiots.Just named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People, Aamir has proved over and over again that following convention is not what this Khan does.
According to a global survey 2.7 billion people know Tom Cruise while 3.2 billion know Shah Rukh Khan,making SRK the biggest movie star in the world today. From the proverbial outsider to a reigning superstar, Shah Rukh Khans enjoyed uninterrupted success for the greatest chunk of his career.And while the critical jury may be polarized regarding his acting skills, clearly King Khan makes enough of an impression on the audience-from playing the loverboy in DDLJ to an anti-hero in Darr and a hockey coach in Chak De!-to still remain etched in the public consciousness for more than two decades.
So who do you think is the greatest Indian actor of all times?