The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Indian Actors of all time. This list of famous Indian Actors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Indian Actors.
With an HPI of 78.77, Amitabh Bachchan is the most famous Indian Actor. His biography has been translated into 108 different languages on wikipedia.
Amitabh Bachchan (pronounced [əmɪˈt̪ɑːbʱ ˈbətːʃən]; born as Amitabh Shrivastav; 11 October 1942) is an Indian actor, film producer, television host, occasional playback singer and former politician known for his work in Hindi cinema. He is regarded as one of the most successful and influential actors in the history of Indian cinema. Referred to as the Shahenshah of Bollywood (in reference to his 1988 film Shahenshah), Sadi ka Mahanayak (Hindi for, "Greatest actor of the century"), Star of the Millennium, or Big B. His dominance in the Indian movie scene during the 1970s–1980s made the French director François Truffaut call it a "one-man industry".Bachchan was born in 1942 in Allahabad to the Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and his wife, the social activist Teji Bachchan. He was educated at Sherwood College, Nainital, and Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. His film career started in 1969 as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen's film Bhuvan Shome. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s for films such as Zanjeer, Deewaar and Sholay, and achieved greater stardom in later years, dubbed India's "angry young man" for some several of his on-screen roles in Hindi films. He has since appeared in over 200 Indian films in a career spanning more than five decades, He has won numerous accolades in his career, including four National Film Awards as Best Actor, Dadasaheb Phalke Award as lifetime achievement award and many awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies. He has won sixteen Filmfare Awards and is the most nominated performer in any major acting category at Filmfare, with 42 nominations overall. In addition to acting, Bachchan has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter. He has hosted several seasons of the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, India's version of the game show franchise, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. He also entered politics for a time in the 1980s. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions to the arts. The Government of France honoured him with its highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of honour, in 2007 for his exceptional career in the world of cinema and beyond. Bachchan also made an appearance in a Hollywood film, Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (2013), in which he played a non-Indian Jewish character, Meyer Wolfsheim. Beyond the Indian subcontinent, he acquired a large overseas following of the South Asian diaspora, as well as others, in markets including Africa (South Africa, Eastern Africa and Mauritius), the Middle East (especially UAE and Egypt), the United Kingdom, Russia, Central Asia, the Caribbean (Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago), Oceania (Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand), Canada and the United States.
With an HPI of 76.69, Vivien Leigh is the 2nd most famous Indian Actor. Her biography has been translated into 93 different languages.
Vivien Leigh ( LEE; 5 November 1913 – 8 July 1967; born Vivian Mary Hartley), styled as Lady Olivier after 1947, was a British actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, for her definitive performances as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939) and Blanche DuBois in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), a role she had also played on stage in London's West End in 1949. She also won a Tony Award for her work in the Broadway musical version of Tovarich (1963). Although her career had periods of inactivity, in 1999 the American Film Institute ranked Leigh as the 16th-greatest female movie star of classic Hollywood cinema. After completing her drama school education, Leigh appeared in small roles in four films in 1935 and progressed to the role of heroine in Fire Over England (1937). Lauded for her beauty, Leigh felt that her physical attributes sometimes prevented her from being taken seriously as an actress. Despite her fame as a screen actress, Leigh was primarily a stage performer. During her 30-year career, she played roles ranging from the heroines of Noël Coward and George Bernard Shaw comedies to classic Shakespearean characters such as Ophelia, Cleopatra, Juliet and Lady Macbeth. Later in life, she performed as a character actress in a few films. At the time, the public strongly identified Leigh with her second husband, Laurence Olivier, who was her spouse from 1940 to 1960. Leigh and Olivier starred together in many stage productions, with Olivier often directing, and in three films. She earned a reputation for being difficult to work with and for much of her life, she had bipolar disorder, as well as recurrent bouts of chronic tuberculosis, which was first diagnosed in the mid-1940s and ultimately led to her death at age 53.
With an HPI of 71.72, Shah Rukh Khan is the 3rd most famous Indian Actor. His biography has been translated into 107 different languages.
Shah Rukh Khan (pronounced [ˈʃɑːɦɾʊx xɑːn]; born 2 November 1965), also known by the initialism SRK, is an Indian actor, film producer, and television personality who works in Hindi films. Referred to in the media as the "Baadshah of Bollywood", "King of Bollywood" and "King Khan", he has appeared in more than 80 films, and earned numerous accolades, including 14 Filmfare Awards. He has been awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India, as well as the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Legion of Honour by the Government of France. Khan has a significant following in Asia and the Indian diaspora worldwide. In terms of audience size and income, he has been described as one of the most successful film stars in the world. Khan began his career with appearances in several television series in the late 1980s. He made his Bollywood debut in 1992 with Deewana. Early in his career, Khan was recognised for portraying villainous roles in the films Baazigar (1993) and Darr (1993). He established himself by starring in a series of top-grossing romantic films, including Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Mohabbatein (2000) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001). Khan earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of an alcoholic in Devdas (2002), a NASA scientist in Swades (2004), a hockey coach in Chak De! India (2007) and a man with Asperger syndrome in My Name Is Khan (2010). His highest-grossing releases came with the comedies Chennai Express (2013), Happy New Year (2014) and Dilwale (2015), and the crime film Raees (2017), but this was followed by a brief setback and hiatus. Many of his films thematise Indian national identity and connections with diaspora communities, or gender, racial, social and religious differences and grievances. As of 2015, Khan is co-chairman of the motion picture production company Red Chillies Entertainment and its subsidiaries, and is the co-owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders and the Caribbean Premier League team Trinbago Knight Riders. He is a frequent television presenter and stage show performer. The media often label him as "Brand SRK" because of his many endorsement and entrepreneurship ventures. Khan's philanthropic endeavours have provided health care and disaster relief, and he was honoured with UNESCO's Pyramide con Marni award in 2011 for his support of children's education and the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award in 2018 for advocating for women's and children's rights in India. He regularly features in listings of the most influential people in Indian culture, and in 2008, Newsweek named him one of their fifty most powerful people in the world.
With an HPI of 69.06, Julie Christie is the 4th most famous Indian Actor. Her biography has been translated into 63 different languages.
Julie Frances Christie (born 14 April 1940) is a British actress. An icon of the Swinging Sixties, Christie is the recipient of numerous accolades including an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She has appeared in six films ranked in the British Film Institute's BFI Top 100 British films of the 20th century, and in 1997, she received the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement. Christie's breakthrough film role was in Billy Liar (1963). She came to international attention for her performances in Darling (1965), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and Doctor Zhivago (also 1965), the eighth highest-grossing film of all time after adjustment for inflation. She continued to receive Academy Award nominations, for McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Afterglow (1997) and Away from Her (2007). In the following years, she starred in Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Petulia (1968), The Go-Between (1971), Don't Look Now (1973), Shampoo (1975), and Heaven Can Wait (1978). She's also known for her performances in the critically acclaimed Hamlet (1996), and Finding Neverland (2004), and the blockbusters Troy and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (both 2004).
With an HPI of 68.07, Aishwarya Rai is the 5th most famous Indian Actor. Her biography has been translated into 106 different languages.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (née Rai; born 1 November 1973) is an Indian actress who is primarily known for her work in Hindi and Tamil films. The winner of the Miss World 1994 pageant, she has established herself as one of the most popular celebrities in India. Rai has received numerous accolades, including two Filmfare Awards, and was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2009 and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France in 2012. She has often been cited in the media as "the most beautiful woman in the world".While in college, Rai did a few modelling jobs. Following appearances in several television commercials, she entered the Miss India pageant, in which she placed second. She was then crowned Miss World 1994, after which she began receiving offers to act in film. She made her acting debut in Mani Ratnam's 1997 Tamil film Iruvar and had her first Hindi film release in Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya that same year. Her first commercial success was the Tamil romantic drama Jeans (1998), which was the most expensive Indian film at the time. She achieved wider success and won two Filmfare Awards for Best Actress for her performances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's romantic dramas Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Devdas (2002). Rai garnered critical appreciation for portraying a passionate artist in the Tamil romance film Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), Tagore's heroine, Binodini, in the Bengali film Chokher Bali (2003), a depressed woman in the drama Raincoat (2004), Kiranjit Ahluwalia in the British drama film Provoked (2006), and a nurse in Bhansali's drama Guzaarish (2010). Rai's greatest commercial successes have been the romantic drama Mohabbatein (2000), the adventure film Dhoom 2 (2006), the drama Guru (2007), the period film Jodhaa Akbar (2008), the science fiction film Enthiran (2010), the romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016), and the period film Ponniyin Selvan: I (2022). Rai married actor Abhishek Bachchan in 2007; the couple have one daughter. Her off-screen roles include duties as a brand ambassador for several charity organisations and campaigns. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS). In 2003, she was the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.
With an HPI of 66.53, Salman Khan is the 6th most famous Indian Actor. His biography has been translated into 87 different languages.
Abdul Rashid Salim Salman Khan (Hindi: [səlˈmɑːn xɑːn]; 27 December 1965) is an Indian actor, film producer, and television personality who works in Hindi films. In a film career spanning over thirty years, Khan has received numerous awards, including two National Film Awards as a film producer, and two Filmfare Awards as an actor. He is cited in the media as one of the most commercially successful actors of Indian cinema. Forbes has included Khan in listings of the highest-paid celebrities in the world, in 2015 and 2018, with him being the highest-ranked Indian in the latter year.The eldest son of screenwriter Salim Khan, Khan began his acting career with a supporting role in Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988), followed by his breakthrough with a leading role in Sooraj Barjatya's romance Maine Pyar Kiya (1989). He established himself in the 1990s, with several commercially successful films, including Barjatya's family dramas Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994) and Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999), the action film Karan Arjun (1995) and the comedy Biwi No.1 (1999). After a period of decline in the 2000s, Khan achieved greater stardom in the 2010s by starring in top-grossing action films like Dabangg (2010), Ready (2011), Bodyguard (2011), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Dabangg 2 (2012), Kick (2014), and Tiger Zinda Hai (2017), and dramas such as Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015) and Sultan (2016). Khan has starred in the highest-grossing Hindi films of 10 years, the highest for any actor.In addition to his acting career, Khan is a television presenter and promotes humanitarian causes through his charity, Being Human Foundation. He has been hosting the reality show Bigg Boss since 2010. Khan's off-screen life is marred by controversy and legal troubles. In 2015, he was convicted of culpable homicide for a negligent driving case in which he ran over five people with his car, killing one, but his conviction was set aside on appeal. On 5 April 2018, Khan was convicted in a blackbuck poaching case and sentenced to five years imprisonment. He is currently out on bail while an appeal is being heard.
With an HPI of 57.14, Girish Karnad is the 7th most famous Indian Actor. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Girish Karnad (19 May 1938 – 10 June 2019) was an Indian actor, film director, Kannada writer, playwright and a Jnanpith awardee, who predominantly worked in South Indian cinema and Bollywood. His rise as a playwright in the 1960s marked the coming of age of modern Indian playwriting in Kannada, just as Badal Sarkar did in Bengali, Vijay Tendulkar in Marathi, and Mohan Rakesh in Hindi. He was a recipient of the 1998 Jnanpith Award, the highest literary honour conferred in India.For four decades Karnad composed plays, often using history and mythology to tackle contemporary issues. He translated his plays into English and received acclaim. His plays have been translated into some Indian languages and directed by directors like Ebrahim Alkazi, B. V. Karanth, Alyque Padamsee, Prasanna, Arvind Gaur, Satyadev Dubey, Vijaya Mehta, Shyamanand Jalan, Amal Allanaa and Zafer Mohiuddin.He was active in the world of Indian cinema working as an actor, director and screenwriter, in Hindi and Kannada cinema, and has earned awards. He was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India and won four Filmfare Awards, of which three are Filmfare Award for Best Director – Kannada and the fourth a Filmfare Best Screenplay Award. He was a presenter for a weekly science magazine programme called "Turning Point" that aired on Doordarshan in 1991.
With an HPI of 56.97, Ajay Devgn is the 8th most famous Indian Actor. His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.
Vishal Veeru Devgan (born 2 April 1969), known professionally as Ajay Devgn, is an Indian actor, film director and producer who works in Hindi cinema. Devgn has appeared in over a hundred films and has won numerous accolades, including four National Film Awards and four Filmfare Awards. In 2016, he was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour of the country.Devgn began his professional career with Phool Aur Kaante in 1991. He then rose to prominence as an action hero starring in successful films such as Jigar (1992), Dilwale (1994), Diljale (1996). He went on to give critically acclaimed performances in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Company (2002), Deewangee (2002), for Zakhm (1998) and The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002), he won National Film Award for Best Actor. After the success of Golmaal: Fun Unlimited (2006), he went on to collaborate with Rohit Shetty on a number of action-comedies including Golmaal Returns (2008), All the Best: Fun Begins (2009), Golmaal 3 (2010), Singham (2011), Bol Bachchan (2012), Singham Returns (2014), and Golmaal Again (2017). His highest-grossing movies include Total Dhamaal (2019), Tanhaji (2020) and Drishyam 2 (2022).Devgn owns a production company Ajay Devgn FFilms, which was established in 2000. In 2008, he debuted as a film director with U Me Aur Hum.
With an HPI of 56.68, Dharmendra is the 9th most famous Indian Actor. His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.
Dharam Singh Deol (born 8 December 1935), also known mononymously as Dharmendra, is an Indian actor, producer and politician who is known for his work in Hindi films He has also worked in few Punjabi films. Known as the first "He-Man" of Bollywood, Dharmendra has worked in over 301 films in a career spanning over six decades,He is one of the most successful actors in the history of Hindi Cinema. In 1997, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Hindi cinema. He was a member of the 15th Lok Sabha of India, representing Bikaner constituency in Rajasthan from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2012, he was awarded India's third-highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
With an HPI of 56.65, Shilpa Shetty is the 10th most famous Indian Actor. Her biography has been translated into 52 different languages.
Shilpa Shetty Kundra (born Ashwini Shetty; Née Shetty; 8 June 1975) is an Indian actress who works mainly in Hindi-language films. Shetty made her screen debut in the thriller Baazigar (1993) which garnered her nominations for two Filmfare Awards, after which she played a dual role in the action comedy Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994). Shetty's career saw a resurgence as a lead actress by the turn of the millennium with the romantic drama Dhadkan (2000), marking a turning point in her career. This was followed by roles in Indian (2001) and Rishtey (2002), which earned her praise and another Filmfare nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the latter. Shetty received critical acclaim for playing a career woman suffering from AIDS in the social drama Phir Milenge (2004), which received a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. She subsequently appeared in successful films such as the action thriller Dus (2005), the ensemble drama Life in a... Metro (2007), for which she received critical praise, and the sports drama Apne (2007). She was also noted for her dance performance in the song "Shut Up & Bounce" from the romantic comedy Dostana (2008). Following this, she took a break from acting in films In 2006, she ventured into reality television by judging the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. In early 2007, Shetty joined the fifth season of the UK reality show Celebrity Big Brother. During her stay in the house, Shetty received much international media coverage and attention for the racism she faced by her fellow contestants and for ultimately winning the show. This was followed by her hosting the second season of the reality show Bigg Boss. Shetty has since taken on the role of judge on several Indian dance reality shows such as Zara Nachke Dikha (2010), Nach Baliye (2012–20) and Super Dancer (2016–present). In addition to acting in films, Shetty is a celebrity endorser for brands and products and is vocal about issues such as feminism and animal rights. Shetty has worked with PETA since 2006 as part of an advertising campaign against the use of wild animals in circuses. She is also a fitness enthusiast and she launched her own Yoga DVD in 2015. She is involved in several fitness campaigns such as the Fit India Movement, launched by the Government of India. Shetty was awarded the Champions of Change Award for her work on the Swachh Bharat Mission cleanliness campaign. From 2009 to 2015, she was a part-owner of the Indian Premier League team Rajasthan Royals.
Pantheon has 482 people classified as actors born between 1877 and 2008. Of these 482, 408 (84.65%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living actors include Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Julie Christie. The most famous deceased actors include Vivien Leigh, Girish Karnad, and Amrish Puri. As of April 2022, 90 new actors have been added to Pantheon including Soumitra Chatterjee, Kumar Pallana, and Michael Bates.
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Which Actors were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Actors since 1700.