7 Legendary Bollywood Actors We Cannot Forget

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Dilip Kumar

Yousuf Khan or Dilip Kumar is considered one of the best performers to emerge from Bollywood. His performances have a certain realistic aesthetic and bring a deep sense of emotionality to the character. His brilliant performances in Gunga Jamna (1961), Mughal-E-Azam (1960), and Devdas (1955) will be a part of cinematic history and our collective memory.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar has always been difficult to categorize as an actor. He played versatile roles, from the anti-hero in Kismet (1943) to a Bombay noir hero in Howrah Bridge (1958), to the tortured lover in Mahal (1949), to the jaded comic elder brother in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), with idiosyncratic style and an easy charm. He was able to capture the hearts of the audiences across generations.

Guru Dutt

Guru Dutt is known for his unforgettable performance in his magnum opus Pyaasa (1957). While he is known for his more somber characters, Dutt was a virtuoso capable of bringing any kind of character to life, like the bumbling fool in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulaam (1962) or the romantic hero in Mr. and Mrs. '55 (1955).

Dev Anand

Dev Anand developed the character of the quick-witted, charming womanizer with a heart of gold. Along with his brother Vijay Anand, Dev Anand made many films that are now categorized as Bombay noir. Most famously, he played the businessman turned ascetic in Guide (1965), approaching a more spiritual subject matter in an empathetic manner.

Rajesh Khanna

Khanna occupies a special place in the history of Bollywood. His stardom created a mass hysteria amongst the people, girls apparently writing love letter to him in blood and boys copying his hairstyle. His organic performances in films like Anand (1971) and Amar Prem (1972) showcase his ability to embody the multiplicity of humanity.


Pran Krishan Sikand Ahluwalia is infamous for his negative roles. He was the villain of Bollywood in the 60s. He played his villains with a madness in his eyes and coolness in tone, absolute evil personified - allowing the audiences to feel fear, and in the end, catharsis. The notion of Bollywood is intrinsically intertwined with his performances.

Amjad Khan

Amjad Khan's performance as Gabbar in Sholay (1975) has become a bog part of popular cultural discourse. He is often remembered in public memory as a gangster, goon or conmen because of films like Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978) and Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977). However, he has played a variety of roles, famously the poet king Wajid Ali in Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) and Vatsyayan in Utsav (1984).

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