Most Versatile Indian Actors. Ever.

by Prabhat_KS | created - 15 Feb 2016 | updated - 10 Jan 2017 | Public

In a dialogue in 'Andaz Apna Apna', Ram Gopal Bajaj (Paresh Rawal) tells Amar (Aamir) and Prem (Salmaan) that they look 'filmy'. It was meant to be a euphemism for idiotic!

As a native of Hindi heartland, I can attest to the fact that cinema plays strange role in people's lives - our lives. Inspiring, beguiling, amusing and entertaining, all at same time. A lot of youngsters aspire to be 'film-stars' but perhaps a few truly understand the meaning of acting. Indian cinema doesn't attract talent proportionately to the money involved. In such popular culture its hard to rate actors especially when you've been copiously exposed to the likes of Leo Caprio and Tom Hanks. But following actors of Indian cinematic universe do stand out for their artistic panache and captivating on-screen presence. In my opinion, following are the best Indian actors of all-time.

1. Irrfan Khan

Actor | Dabba

Born Sahabzade Irfan Ali Khan, in Jaipur, Rajasthan (NW India) January 7, 1967 to a Pashto speaking Muslim family. Khan's mother, Begum Khan, was from the Tonk Hakim family and his father, Jagirdar Khan, from the Khajuriya village near the Tonk district, ran a tire business.

The Khan family name ...

2. Naseeruddin Shah

Actor | The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Naseeruddin Shah was born on July 20, 1950 in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India. He is an actor, known for The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), A Wednesday (2008) and Iqbal (2005). He has been married to Ratna Pathak Shah since April 1, 1982. They have three children.

3. Raj Kapoor

Actor | Sangam

Raj Kapoor was the son of well-known Indian actor Prithviraj Kapoor, who acted both in film and on stage. After apprenticing in the Bollywood production studios of the 1940's, at 24 years of age Raj Kapoor produced, directed and acted in Aag (1948), with his new company, RK Films. His next ...

4. Paresh Rawal

Actor | Hera Pheri

Paresh Rawal was born on May 30, 1950 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India. He is a producer and actor, known for Hera Pheri (2000), OMG: Oh My God! (2012) and Awara Paagal Deewana (2002). He is married to Swaroop Sampat. They have two children.

Most versatile Indian actor cutting across all genres.

5. Kamal Haasan

Actor | Vishwaroopam

Kamal Haasan was born November 7, 1954 in Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu. He debuted as a child artiste in the film "Kalathoor Kannamma" (1960), which was released in the year 1960. Since then, he has starred in nearly 200 films in the major Indian languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. ...

6. Shashi Kapoor

Actor | Deewaar

Shashi Kapoor is one of the leading actors of Indian cinema having appeared in 160 movies - 12 in English and 148 in Hindi. He has appeared in 148 Hindi films - of them played the solo lead hero in 61 films, was lead hero in 53 released multi star cast Hindi films, 2 unreleased multi star film and ...

7. Guru Dutt

Actor | Pyaasa

Considered to be a man ahead of his time, Guru Dutt was one of the greatest icons of commercial Indian cinema. Although he made less than fifty films, they are believed to be the best to come from Bollywood's Golden Age, known both for their ability to reach out to the common man and for their ...

8. Pankaj Kapur

Actor | Maqbool

Pankaj Kapur the acclaimed film, television and stage actor signified the young crop of great actors of which Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Ifran Khan formed a part. Unlike his other counterparts Kapur hasn't broken the vow to work only in good Art and Independent projects. A perfect actor Pankaj ...

9. Amrish Puri

Actor | Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Believe it or not, Amrish Puri wanted to become a Bollywood movie hero but failed a screen test in 1954. And what a failure it was! Mr. Puri went on to become one of the most renowned and credible villains in the history of Indian cinema. His most memorable and often quoted role is the character of...

10. Manoj Bajpayee

Actor | Gangs of Wasseypur

Manoj Bajpayee was born on April 23, 1969 in Belwa, Bihar, India. He is known for his work on Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Satya (1998) and Aks (2001). He has been married to Neha since February 23, 2005.

11. Raaj Kumar

Actor | Kaajal

Raaj Kumar was born on October 8, 1926 in Loralai, Baluchistan, British India as Kulbhushan Pandit. He is known for his work on Kaajal (1965), Waqt (1965) and Dil Ek Mandir (1963). He died on July 3, 1996 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

12. Dilip Kumar

Actor | Gunga Jumna

Dilip Kumar is considered to be one of the greatest actors of Indian cinema. Starting his career in 1944, he has starred in some of the biggest commercially successful films in the period 1949-1961. . He was the first actor to receive a Filmfare Best Actor Award and holds the record for most number...

13. Anupam Kher

Actor | Silver Linings Playbook

Anupam Kher was born on March 7, 1955 in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India. He is an actor and producer, known for Silver Linings Playbook (2012), M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) and The Big Sick (2017).

14. Amitabh Bachchan

Actor | Black

Son of well known poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan. He has a brother named Ajitabh. He completed his education from Uttar Pradesh and moved to Bombay to find work as a film star, in vain though, as film-makers preferred someone with a fairer skin, and he was not quite fair enough. But ...

15. Om Puri

Actor | The Hundred-Foot Journey

Om Puri was an Indian actor who has appeared in both mainstream Indian films and art films. His credits also include appearances in British and American films. He has received an honorary OBE.

Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana. His father worked on the railways and served in the Indian Army. Puri ...

16. Boman Irani

Actor | 3 Idiots

Boman Irani was born on December 2, 1959 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India. He is an actor, known for 3 Idiots (2009), Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) and Don 2 (2011). He has been married to Zenobia since January 28, 1985. They have two children.

17. Ashok Kumar

Actor | Mahal

Ashok Kumar was one of India's most famous actors from before to after its independence from the UK. As a young assistant to Bengali film-maker Himanshu Rai, he got his start in acting by accident when he volunteered to substitute for the lead actor, Jeevan Naya (1936), who fell ill before ...

18. Anil Kapoor

Actor | Slumdog Millionaire

Living in a Chawl in Tilak Nagar, Punjabi-speaking Anil was born in 1959 to Surinder and Nirmal aka Suchitra Kapoor. He has an elder brother, Boney, a sister, Reena, and a younger brother, Sanjay. His dad used to be Shammi Kapoor's Secretary.

A loner, without many friends, he studied in the nearby ...

19. Ashutosh Rana

Actor | Sangharsh

Ashutosh Rana born in Gadarwara, Madhya Pradesh is an Indian actor working in the Hindi Film and Telugu Film industry. He finished his Primary School education in Gadarwara and used to play the role of ravana in the city Ramleela. Later, he went to National School of Drama (New Delhi) for acting. ...

20. Mehmood

Actor | Do Phool

Mehmood was born on September 29, 1932 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He is known for his work on Do Phool (1974), Andaz Apna Apna (1994) and Dil Tera Diwana (1962). He died on July 23, 2004 in Pennsylvania, USA.

21. Rajesh Khanna

Actor | Anand

Rajesh Khanna, the first superstar of Indian and Hindi Cinema with 74 Golden Jubilee Hits - (which includes 48 Platinum Jubilee hits and 26 Golden Jubilee Hits) & in addition had 22 Silver Jubilee Hits and 9 average hits, was born on 29 December 1942 in Amritsar, Punjab, India.Rajesh entered Hindi ...

22. Arshad Warsi

Actor | Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.

Arshad Warsi was born in Mumbai, India, and did his schooling at a boarding school, Barnes School, Deolali in Nashik district, Maharashtra. He was orphaned at the age of 14 and struggled for a living in Mumbai during his early days.

Financial circumstances forced Warsi to start work as a door-to-door...

23. Sanjay Mishra

Actor | Dilwale

Sanjay Mishra is known for his work on Dilwale (2015), Masaan (2015) and Port Djema (1997).

24. Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Actor | Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Nawazuddin Siddiqui (born 1974) also known as Nowaz is an Indian film actor who has appeared in some of Bollywood's major films including, Black Friday (2004), New York (2009), Peepli Live (2010), Kahani (2012), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2 (2012).

Early life and ...

25. Aamir Khan

Actor | Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

Aamir is no doubt one of the most dedicated actors in this world. With his recent success in India and China markets combined he has got the title of Worlds Biggest Superstar. He went through rapid transformations in his body structure for his films to bring out the reality factor in his characters...

26. Dharmendra

Actor | Sholay

Dharmendra is one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema. Dharmendra Deol played the romantic hero in woman centric films from 1960-1968 and became romantic hero from 1968-69 and played the role of action hero from 1971-1997. Dharmendra has appeared in 306 films.

He is known as 'Garam' Dharam in ...

27. Javed Jaffrey

Actor | Salaam Namaste

Javed Jaffrey was born on December 4, 1963 in Malliwala, Uttar Pradesh, India. He is known for his work on Salaam Namaste (2005), 3 Idiots (2009) and 8 x 10 Tasveer (2009).

28. Shakti Kapoor

Actor | Andaz Apna Apna

Shakti Kapoor is one of the most comic actors to grace the Bollywood screen. Since the start of his career he has done more than 300 films. He had been often nominated for the Filmfare Award in the most comic performance category. His on-screen pairing with another comic actor Kader Khan as the ...

29. Nana Patekar

Actor | Taxi No. 9 2 11: Nau Do Gyarah

Vishwanath Patekar (born on January 1, 1951 in Murud-Janjira, Maharashtra, India) is an actor, writer and filmmaker. He is known for his work on Ab Tak Chhappan (2004), Raajneeti (2010) and Parinda (1989). He made his acting debut in the early 70's and since then has been nominated for multiple ...

30. Saurabh Shukla

Actor | Slumdog Millionaire

Shukla's family left Gorakhpur for Delhi when he was two years old. After completing his schooling, he graduated from Khalsa College, Delhi. His professional career began in 1984 with his entry into theater.

Shukla began serious theater in 1986 with roles in plays like A View From The Bridge (Arthur...

31. Brijendra Kala

Actor | Paan Singh Tomar

He began his acting career in films in 2005 with a credited role in the film 'Haasil' directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. His major breakthrough came in 2012 film 'Paan Singh Tomar' in which he played the role of a local reporter. In both 'Paan Singh Tomar' and Haasil' he worked with Tigmanshu Dhulia (...

32. Nagesh

Actor | Nammavar

Nagesh was born on September 27, 1933 in Dharapuram, Tamil Nadu, India as Gunddu Rao. He is known for his work on Nammavar (1994), Dasavatharam (2008) and Jewel Thief (1967). He was married to Regina. He died on January 31, 2009 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

33. Johnny Lever

Actor | Awara Paagal Deewana

Johnny Lever, born in Andhra Pradesh and was brought up in Mumbai's King's Circle area (Dharavi). His mother tongue is Telugu. Johnny studied in Andhra Telugu School till the seventh grade but couldn't study further because of financial problems in his family, after which he decided to leave school...

34. Rajat Kapoor

Director | Raghu Romeo

Rajat Kapoor was born on February 11, 1961 in New Delhi, India. He is an actor and director, known for Raghu Romeo (2003), Ankhon Dekhi (2013) and Bheja Fry (2007).

35. Ashish Vidyarthi

Actor | 24

Ashish Vidyarthi was born on June 19, 1962 in Tellicherry, Kerala, India. He is an actor, known for 24: India (2013), Haider (2014) and Pokiri (2006).

36. Kay Kay Menon

Actor | Haider

Kay Kay Menon was born on October 2, 1966 in Kerala, India as Krishna Kumar Menon. He is an actor, known for Haider (2014), Black Friday (2004) and Gulaal (2009). He is married to Nivedita Bhattacharya.

37. Vinay Pathak

Actor | Bheja Fry

Vinay Pathak was born on July 12, 1968 in Bhojpur District, Bihar, India. He is an actor and writer, known for Bheja Fry (2007), Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) and My Name Is Khan (2010).

38. Ranvir Shorey

Actor | Ek Tha Tiger

Ranvir Shorey was born on August 18, 1972 in Jalandhar, Punjab, India. He is an actor, known for Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006) and Bheja Fry (2007). He was previously married to Konkona Sen Sharma.

39. Jeetendra

Actor | Kalyug Ke Avtaar

Ravi Kapoor was born in a business family that dealt with imitation Jewelery and used to live in a chawl. While supplying jewelry to V. Shantaram, he was cast as Sandhya's double in the 1959 movie 'Navrang'.

His first break as a Bollywood leading man came in 'Geet Gaya Patharon Ne'. Although Ravi ...

40. Asrani

Actor | Sholay

Asrani was born in a middle class Sindhi family. His father migrated to Jaipur after the Partition of India and opened a shop selling carpets. He has four sisters and three brothers: two elder and one younger. Asrani was highly uninterested in business and very weak in mathematics. He completed his...

41. Shammi Kapoor

Actor | Vidhaata

Shamsher Raj "Shammi" Kapoor was the son of theater and film actor Prithviraj Kapoor and his wife Ramsarni "Rama" Mehra Kapoor. Shammi's acting career began in 1948, when he joined his father's theatrical company "Prithvi Theatres." Like his father and his brothers, Shammi eventually moved into the...

42. Kader Khan

Actor | Taqdeerwala

Kader Khan was born on December 11, 1937 in Pishin, Balochistan, British India. He was an actor and writer, known for Taqdeerwala (1995), Naseeb (1981) and Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri (1990). He was married to Azra Khan. He died on December 31, 2018 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

43. Shah Rukh Khan

Actor | Don 2

Shahrukh Khan was born on 2 November 1965 in New Delhi, India. He married Gauri Khan on 25 October 1991. They have three children, son Aryan Khan (b. 1997), son AbRam (b.2013) and daughter Suhana (b. 2000). Khan started out his career by appearing in several television serials during 1988-1990. He ...

44. Rahul Bose

Actor | Everybody Says I'm Fine!

Rahul Bose was born on July 27, 1967 in India. He is an actor and writer, known for Everybody Says I'm Fine! (2001), Split Wide Open (1999) and Poorna (2017).

45. Manoj Joshi

Actor | Devdas

Manoj Joshi is an India film and television actor. Joshi began his career in Marathi theatre, also putting up performances in Gujarati and Hindi theatre. He has also acted in over 60 films since 1998, many of his roles being comedic. His earliest well known serials include Chanakya, Ek Mahal Ho ...

46. Salman Khan

Actor | Sultan

Born on December 27, 1965 Salman Khan is the son of the legendary writer Salim Khan, who penned many super-hits in the yesteryear's like Sholay (1975), Deewaar (1975), and Don (1978). Salman started his acting carrier in 1988 by doing a supporting role in the movie Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988). The ...

47. Gulshan Grover

Actor | Badman

Gulshan Grover was born, raised and educated in Delhi, India. After receiving his master's degree in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, he decided to pursue his passion and made a lifelong commitment to entertainment industry. He honed his acting skills in theatre, and after many stage ...

48. Rajinikanth

Actor | Enthiran

Rajinikanth has been a megastar in the Tamil movie industry since the 70s. He is one of the highest earning actors in Asia. Primarily starring in Tamil movies, he has also worked in Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and American movies. He was born in Bangalore (India), and was employed as a bus conductor ...

49. Randeep Hooda

Actor | Sarbjit

Randeep Hooda was born in a small village called Daseya in the Rohtak district of Haryana. His mother, Asha Hooda, is a BJP politician and his father is a surgeon by profession. He did schooling from Delhi Public School before moving to Australia for higher studies. He is Bachelors in Marketing & ...

50. Mahesh Manjrekar

Actor | Slumdog Millionaire

Mahesh Manjrekar was born on May 13, 1953 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India. He is an actor and director, known for Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Astitva (2000) and Nidaan (2000).

51. Mukesh Tiwari

Actor | Dilwale

Mukesh Tiwari was born on August 24, 1969 in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, India. He is an actor, known for Dilwale (2015), Gangaajal (2003) and Yehi Hai Zindagi (2005).

52. Hrithik Roshan

Actor | Kaabil

Hrithik Roshan is an Indian actor, born on 10th January 1974, well known globally for his versatile roles, unmatchable dancing skills and attractive looks.

After having appeared in films as a child actor in the 1980s, Roshan made his film debut in a leading role in Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000) for ...

53. Ajay Devgn

Actor | Shivaay

Ajay Devgn is an Indian film actor, director, and producer. He made his film debut with Phool Aur Kaante in 1991 and received a Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut for his performance in the film. He then starred in films such as Courage (1992), Dilwale (1994), Suhaag (1994), Naajayaz (1995), Diljale...

54. Kunal Kapoor

Actor | Rang De Basanti

Kunal Kapoor was born on October 18, 1975 in New Delhi, India. He is an actor and assistant director, known for Rang De Basanti (2006), Don 2 (2011) and Dear Zindagi (2016).

55. Shahid Kapoor

Actor | Haider

Shahid's rise to stardom reads like a bollywood script: from a struggler to a winner. With his hard work, perseverance and sincerity, he has written his own destiny.

Shahid is a mine of unabashed talent and spark, beneath his calm and innocent veneer. Shahid Kapoor is young and vibrant, with a ...

56. Farhan Akhtar

Producer | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Writer Javed Akhtar's and Honey Irani's son 'Farhan Akhtar' is an extremely talented and creative and young director and has made a place for himself in very little time.

He entered Bollywood at the age of 17, assisting directors and cinematographers. He dropped out of college and did various jobs ...

57. Akshay Kumar

Actor | Baby

Akshay Kumar, born September 9, 1967, is an actor. He studied martial arts in Hong Kong. It was a student that suggested that he try modeling. Because of his success as model, he was offered films. Along with his good looks and excellent martial art skills, he was always the first choice to do ...

58. Vivek Oberoi

Actor | Company

Vivek Oberoi was born on the 3rd of September,1976 and attended Mayo college in Ajmer. At an actors' workshop in London he was spotted by none other than the director of NYU who (unsurprisingly) whisked Vivek off to New York, where he completed his Masters Degree in film acting. Back home in India ...

59. Vicky Kaushal

Actor | Sanju

Vicky Kaushal is an actor and assistant director, known for Sanju (2018), Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).

60. Jackie Shroff

Actor | Devdas

Jaikishen was born in the Gujarati-speaking Shroff family on February 1, 1957. His dad's name is Kakubhai, his brother's is Hemant, and they live in Bandra, Bombay in a bungalow named 'Le Pepeyon".

A vegetarian, Jaikishen made his Bollywood debut in a bit-role as a villain in the hit Heera Panna (...

61. Alok Nath

Actor | Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...

Alok Nath was born on July 10, 1956 in Khagaria, Bihar, India. He is an actor and producer, known for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001), Sapna Babul Ka.... Bidaai (2007) and Gandhi (1982).

62. Satish Shah

Actor | Kal Ho Naa Ho

Satish Shah was born on June 25, 1951 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India as Satish Ravilal Shah. He is an actor, known for Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), I'm Always Here (2004) and Om Shanti Om (2007).

63. Senthil

Actor | Jeans

Senthil was born on March 23, 1951 in Llanjambore, India. He is known for his work on Jeans (1998), Muthu (1995) and Malayur Mambattiyaan (1983).

64. Pankaj Tripathi

Actor | Gangs of Wasseypur

Pankaj Tripathi is an actor, known for Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Stree (2018) and Newton (2017).

65. Omi Vaidya

Actor | 3 Idiots

Omi Vaidya is an actor and editor, known for 3 Idiots (2009), The Desert Rose (2007) and Out of Time (2003). He has been married to Minal Patel since August 22, 2009.



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