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Top 10 Bollywood Actors of the 1970s: A Golden Era of Indian Cinema

ByCinema Chapter

Aug 2, 2023

The 1970s marked a significant era in Bollywood, the Indian film industry. It witnessed the rise of exceptional talents who left an indelible mark on Indian cinema. This article celebrates the top 10 Bollywood actors of the 1970s, their accomplishments, and their journey to stardom. From legendary actors who gained international acclaim to those who became the heartthrobs of millions, the 1970s were a golden period that continues to inspire filmmakers and actors today.

Top 10 Bollywood Actors of the 1970s

  1. Amitabh Bachchan:
    • Short Bio: Son of renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan is a true icon of Indian cinema. With a degree in Arts from Delhi University, he ventured into acting and earned fame through his unique baritone voice.
    • Birth City: Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
    • Debut Film: “Saat Hindustani” (1969)
    • Most Popular Films: “Sholay,” “Deewaar,” “Don,” “Zanjeer”
    • Spouse: Jaya Bachchan
    • Children: Abhishek Bachchan, Shweta Bachchan Nanda
    • Awards: Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, numerous Filmfare Awards
  2. Dharmendra:
    • Short Bio: Dharmendra, born as Dharam Singh Deol, hails from Punjab. He pursued his education in Mumbai and later discovered his passion for acting.
    • Birth City: Sahnewal, Punjab, India
    • Debut Film: “Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere” (1960)
    • Most Popular Films: “Sholay,” “Mera Gaon Mera Desh,” “Yaadon Ki Baaraat”
    • Spouse: Hema Malini
    • Children: Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Esha Deol, Ahana Deol
    • Awards: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
  3. Rajesh Khanna:
    • Short Bio: Known as the “First Superstar of Bollywood,” Rajesh Khanna’s real name was Jatin Khanna. He completed his education in Mumbai and later embarked on a successful acting career.
    • Birth City: Amritsar, Punjab, India
    • Debut Film: “Aakhri Khat” (1966)
    • Most Popular Films: “Anand,” “Bawarchi,” “Amar Prem”
    • Spouse: Dimple Kapadia
    • Children: Twinkle Khanna, Rinkie Khanna
    • Awards: Padma Bhushan, Filmfare Best Actor Award (Multiple)
  4. Shashi Kapoor:
    • Short Bio: Shashi Kapoor, a member of the renowned Kapoor family, was drawn to acting from an early age. He pursued his education at Don Bosco High School in Mumbai.
    • Birth City: Calcutta (now Kolkata), West Bengal, India
    • Debut Film: “Dharmputra” (1961)
    • Most Popular Films: “Deewar,” “Kabhie Kabhie,” “Namak Halaal”
    • Spouse: Jennifer Kendal
    • Children: Kunal Kapoor, Karan Kapoor, Sanjana Kapoor
    • Awards: Padma Bhushan, National Film Award for Best Actor
  5. Vinod Khanna:
    • Short Bio: Before venturing into acting, Vinod Khanna was a successful businessman. He decided to pursue his passion for the arts and became one of the most sought-after actors in Bollywood.
    • Birth City: Peshawar (now in Pakistan)
    • Debut Film: “Man Ka Meet” (1968)
    • Most Popular Films: “Amar Akbar Anthony,” “Qurbani,” “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”
    • Spouse: Geetanjali Khanna (Divorced), Kavita Khanna
    • Children: Akshaye Khanna, Rahul Khanna, Sakshi Khanna
    • Awards: Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor (Multiple)
  6. Rishi Kapoor:
    • Short Bio: Born into the illustrious Kapoor family, Rishi Kapoor was destined to be a star. He received his education in Mumbai and made his mark as a versatile actor.
    • Birth City: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
    • Debut Film: “Bobby” (1973)
    • Most Popular Films: “Karz,” “Amar Akbar Anthony,” “Chandni”
    • Spouse: Neetu Kapoor
    • Children: Ranbir Kapoor, Riddhima Kapoor Sahni
    • Awards: National Film Award for Best Child Artist (for “Mera Naam Joker”), National Film Award for Best Actor (for “Mera Naam Joker” and “Chandni”)
  7. Shatrughan Sinha:
    • Short Bio: Shatrughan Sinha, affectionately known as “Shotgun,” started his career in Bollywood after completing his education in Patna and Pune.
    • Birth City: Patna, Bihar, India
    • Debut Film: “Sajan” (1969)
    • Most Popular Films: “Kalicharan,” “Vishwanath,” “Dostana”
    • Spouse: Poonam Sinha
    • Children: Sonakshi Sinha, Luv Sinha, Kush Sinha
    • Awards: IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
  8. Sanjeev Kumar:
    • Short Bio: Sanjeev Kumar, one of the most accomplished actors of his time, completed his education in Mumbai and began his acting journey in the film industry.
    • Birth City: Surat, Gujarat, India
    • Debut Film: “Hum Hindustani” (1960)
    • Most Popular Films: “Sholay,” “Koshish,” “Angoor”
    • Spouse: N/A
    • Children: N/A
    • Awards: National Film Award for Best Actor, Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Multiple)
  9. Jeetendra:
    • Short Bio: Jeetendra, born Ravi Kapoor, hails from a business family and pursued his education in Mumbai. He later shifted gears to become one of the top actors in the 1970s.
    • Birth City: Amritsar, Punjab, India
    • Debut Film: “Navrang” (1959)
    • Most Popular Films: “Himmatwala,” “Tohfa,” “Parichay”
    • Spouse: Shobha Kapoor
    • Children: Ekta Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor
    • Awards: Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Multiple)
  10. Manoj Kumar:
    • Short Bio: Manoj Kumar, often known as “Bharat Kumar,” holds a degree in acting from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). His patriotism and powerful performances set him apart in Bollywood.
    • Birth City: Abbottabad, North-West Frontier Province, British India (now in Pakistan)
    • Debut Film: “Fashion” (1957)
    • Most Popular Films: “Upkar,” “Roti Kapada Aur Makaan,” “Kranti”
    • Spouse: Shashi Goswami
    • Children: Vishal Goswami, Kunal Goswami
    • Awards: Padma Shri, National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film (for “Upkar”), Filmfare Award for Best Director (for “Upkar”)

Bollywood Legends Who Shaped the 1970s

The 1970s was a transformative decade for Bollywood, and these legends played pivotal roles in shaping the industry:

  1. Amitabh Bachchan: The towering presence and charisma of Amitabh Bachchan made him the “angry young man” of Indian cinema. His iconic roles in “Zanjeer” and “Deewaar” catapulted him to stardom, and he continues to reign as a megastar even today.
  2. Dharmendra: Known for his rugged charm and impeccable acting, Dharmendra was a heartthrob for many. His on-screen chemistry with Hema Malini in films like “Sholay” left audiences mesmerized.
  3. Rajesh Khanna: Rajesh Khanna’s boyish charm and unmatched acting prowess made him an instant sensation. His romantic roles in movies like “Anand” and “Amar Prem” earned him a massive fan following.
  4. Shashi Kapoor: With his boy-next-door charm and versatility, Shashi Kapoor left an indelible impression on the hearts of moviegoers. He was known for his powerful performances in both commercial and art-house cinema.
  5. Vinod Khanna: Vinod Khanna’s brooding looks and intense acting skills made him a superstar of the 1970s. His performances in movies like “Mera Gaon Mera Desh” and “Qurbani” are still celebrated.
  6. Rishi Kapoor: Rishi Kapoor’s charming smile and effortless acting endeared him to the audience. His romantic roles in movies like “Bobby” and “Chandni” made him the heartthrob of a generation.
  7. Shatrughan Sinha: Shatrughan Sinha’s powerful dialogue delivery and unmatched style made him stand out as a versatile actor. He excelled in both negative and positive roles, leaving a lasting impact on cinema.
  8. Sanjeev Kumar: With his ability to portray diverse characters, Sanjeev Kumar was a true actor’s actor. His performances in movies like “Sholay” and “Koshish” earned him critical acclaim.
  9. Jeetendra: Jeetendra’s energetic dance moves and boyish charm made him the “Jumping Jack” of Bollywood. He dominated the 1970s with his charismatic presence.
  10. Manoj Kumar: Manoj Kumar’s patriotic image and dedication to meaningful cinema earned him the title of “Bharat Kumar.” His movies had strong social messages and resonated with the audience.

Bollywood Legends: Personal Lives and Awards

  1. Amitabh Bachchan:
    • Personal Life: Amitabh Bachchan’s marriage to fellow actor Jaya Bhaduri, now Jaya Bachchan, has been a strong pillar of support throughout his career. Their children, Abhishek and Shweta, also ventured into the film industry.
    • Awards: Amitabh Bachchan’s incredible talent has been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan. He has also won numerous Filmfare Awards for his exceptional performances.
  2. Dharmendra:
    • Personal Life: Dharmendra’s love story with dream girl Hema Malini became the stuff of legends. They tied the knot and have two daughters, Esha and Ahana.
    • Awards: Dharmendra’s contributions to cinema earned him the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, a well-deserved recognition for his immense talent and dedication.
  3. Rajesh Khanna:
    • Personal Life: Rajesh Khanna’s marriage to the talented actress Dimple Kapadia was one of the most talked-about unions in Bollywood. Their daughter Twinkle Khanna and son-in-law Akshay Kumar are also prominent figures in the industry.
    • Awards: Rajesh Khanna was honored with the Padma Bhushan and numerous Filmfare Best Actor Awards for his outstanding performances.
  4. Shashi Kapoor:
    • Personal Life: Shashi Kapoor’s love story with British actress Jennifer Kendal is a heartwarming tale. Their children, Kunal, Karan, and Sanjana, have also dabbled in the world of cinema.
    • Awards: Shashi Kapoor received recognition for his exceptional work with the Padma Bhushan and a National Film Award for Best Actor.
  5. Vinod Khanna:
    • Personal Life: Vinod Khanna’s personal life was marked by two marriages – first with Geetanjali Khanna, with whom he had two sons, Akshaye and Rahul, and later with Kavita Khanna.
    • Awards: Vinod Khanna’s impressive acting skills were acknowledged with the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor on multiple occasions.
  6. Rishi Kapoor:
    • Personal Life: Rishi Kapoor’s marriage to the ever-charming Neetu Kapoor was a delightful pairing. Their children, Ranbir and Riddhima, also followed in their parents’ footsteps.
    • Awards: Rishi Kapoor’s versatile performances earned him the National Film Award for Best Child Artist and later the National Film Award for Best Actor and numerous Filmfare Awards.
  7. Shatrughan Sinha:
    • Personal Life: Shatrughan Sinha’s marriage to Poonam Sinha resulted in a family that boasts successful actors, including daughter Sonakshi Sinha and sons Luv and Kush.
    • Awards: Shatrughan Sinha was honored with the IIFA Lifetime Achievement Award and the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor.
  8. Sanjeev Kumar:
    • Personal Life: Sanjeev Kumar remained unmarried throughout his life, dedicating his time entirely to acting and the world of cinema.
    • Awards: Sanjeev Kumar’s brilliance as an actor earned him the National Film Award for Best Actor and multiple Filmfare Awards.
  9. Jeetendra:
    • Personal Life: Jeetendra’s marriage to Shobha Kapoor was a loving partnership that has stood the test of time. Their children, Ekta and Tusshar, are successful film producers and actors.
    • Awards: Jeetendra’s charming performances were acknowledged with the Filmfare Award for Best Actor on multiple occasions.
  10. Manoj Kumar:
    • Personal Life: Manoj Kumar’s marriage to Shashi Goswami has been a strong bond that has supported him throughout his career. Their sons, Vishal and Kunal, also ventured into the film industry.
    • Awards: Manoj Kumar’s patriotic roles were recognized with the Padma Shri, National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film, and the Filmfare Award for Best Director.

The Iconic Debut Films and Most Popular Movies

ActorDebut FilmMost Popular Films
Amitabh Bachchan“Saat Hindustani” (1969)“Sholay,” “Deewaar,” “Don,” “Zanjeer”
Dharmendra“Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere” (1960)“Sholay,” “Mera Gaon Mera Desh,” “Yaadon Ki Baaraat”
Rajesh Khanna“Aakhri Khat” (1966)“Anand,” “Bawarchi,” “Amar Prem”
Shashi Kapoor“Dharmputra” (1961)“Deewar,” “Kabhie Kabhie,” “Namak Halaal”
Vinod Khanna“Man Ka Meet” (1968)“Amar Akbar Anthony,” “Qurbani,” “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”
Rishi Kapoor“Bobby” (1973)“Karz,” “Amar Akbar Anthony,” “Chandni”
Shatrughan Sinha“Sajan” (1969)“Kalicharan,” “Vishwanath,” “Dostana”
Sanjeev Kumar“Hum Hindustani” (1960)“Sholay,” “Koshish,” “Angoor”
Jeetendra“Navrang” (1959)“Himmatwala,” “Tohfa,” “Parichay”
Manoj Kumar“Fashion” (1957)“Upkar,” “Roti Kapada Aur Makaan,” “Kranti”

Bollywood Legends: An Array of Awards

Here is the table format of the awards received by the top 10 Bollywood actors of the 1970s:

ActorAwards
Amitabh BachchanPadma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, numerous Filmfare Awards
DharmendraFilmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
Rajesh KhannaPadma Bhushan, Filmfare Best Actor Award (Multiple)
Shashi KapoorPadma Bhushan, National Film Award for Best Actor
Vinod KhannaFilmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor (Multiple)
Rishi KapoorNational Film Award for Best Child Artist (for “Mera Naam Joker”), National Film Award for Best Actor (for “Mera Naam Joker” and “Chandni”), numerous Filmfare Awards
Shatrughan SinhaIIFA Lifetime Achievement Award, Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
Sanjeev KumarNational Film Award for Best Actor, Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Multiple)
JeetendraFilmfare Award for Best Actor (Multiple)
Manoj KumarPadma Shri, National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film (for “Upkar”), Filmfare Award for Best Director (for “Upkar”)

    Bollywood Legends: FAQ’s

    Q: What made Amitabh Bachchan a megastar in the 1970s?
    A: Amitabh Bachchan’s commanding presence, unique baritone voice, and intense acting skills set him apart from his contemporaries. His iconic roles in movies like “Sholay” and “Deewaar” made him the “angry young man” of Indian cinema.

    Q: Who was known as the “First Superstar of Bollywood”?
    A: Rajesh Khanna earned the title of the “First Superstar of Bollywood” due to his extraordinary success and immense popularity in the 1970s. His romantic roles and boyish charm won the hearts of millions.

    Q: Which iconic movie brought Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor together on-screen?
    A: The movie “Deewaar” brought Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor together in unforgettable roles. Their powerful performances and intense dialogue delivery added to the film’s success.

    Q: Did Vinod Khanna have a successful career in politics as well?
    A: Yes, Vinod Khanna had a successful career in politics. He was a prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from Gurdaspur, Punjab.

    Q: What was the memorable on-screen pairing of Dharmendra and Hema Malini?
    A: Dharmendra and Hema Malini’s chemistry sizzled on-screen in the cult classic “Sholay.” Their portrayal of Veeru and Basanti, respectively, became iconic in Indian cinema.

    Q: How did Rishi Kapoor’s debut film “Bobby” become a blockbuster?
    A: Rishi Kapoor’s debut film “Bobby,” directed by his father Raj Kapoor, was a coming-of-age romantic drama that struck a chord with the audience. The film’s fresh and youthful story captured the hearts of young viewers, making it a blockbuster hit.

    Conclusion

    The 1970s was a magical decade for Bollywood, filled with exceptional talent and unforgettable movies. The top 15 Bollywood actors of this era, including Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Shashi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Sanjeev Kumar, Jeetendra, and Manoj Kumar, left an everlasting impact on Indian cinema.

    From intense performances to romantic portrayals, these legendary actors mesmerized audiences with their charisma and talent. Their personal lives and achievements added to their star power, making them iconic figures in the history of Indian cinema.

    As we continue to celebrate the golden era of Bollywood, let us remember and cherish the timeless contributions of these Bollywood legends who have left an indelible mark on the hearts of millions.

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