If you are new to Bollywood, here are five actors you NEED to know 

  1. Shahrukh Khan: He’s not known as King Khan for nothing. Shahrukh Khan is probably the most recognizable Bollywood face and name around the world. He as made hundreds of movies and his star power alone will bring people to the box office. King Khan is most well known as the earnest romantic lead, although he has also done a bit of action and other types. As he advances into fifties some people are calling for a change in tone to his work but King Khan is not yet dethroned. Watch him in: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Swades (2004), Devdas (2002), Raees (2017)                                                                
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  2. Salman Khan: Fans of this actor don’t call him by his name, they call him Bhai (brother). Salman Khan and Sharukh Khan both ascended to fame at about the same time and people tend to like one or the other. Salman tends to be known more as a meaty action type, although his movies always have a romance angle as well. He started out in the nineties playing the cute, shy love interest but ten years later was better known for his imposing frame and stunts. He’s run afoul of the law (*cough*) but that hasn’t slowed down Bhai’s biggest fans. What to watch him in: Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994), Dabangg (2010), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015)                      
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  3. Aamir Khan: Ok, by now you’ve seen a pattern. The top three heroes in Bollywood are all named Khan, although I’m not aware of any relation between them. Aamir Khan is the Khan for the more discerning, cerebral Bollywood fan. While he has just as much muscle, his movies tend more toward the intellectual and historical. What to watch him in: 3 Idiots (2009) , PK (2014), Lagaan (2001)                                                                           
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  4. Amitabh Bachchan: If the Bollywood film industry is family this man may be the patriarch. I have to admit that my knowledge of older Hindi cinema is lacking (working on that). But not only has this guy made some of the most iconic Bollywood movies, his family has as well. My favorite is daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai. We’ll discuss her in the post about actresses (upcoming). At any rate, you don’t know Bollywood if you don’t know Big B. Watch him in: Sholay (1975), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)                                                                                                                                  
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  5. Akshay Kumar: Akshay Kumar probably works harder than anyone to portray the ideal of Indian manhood, as he sees it. His movies usually center on a virtuous lead with  a simple heart and an intense dedication to his country and community who will stop at nothing to make things right. Sometimes the movie is silly, but he’s always dead serious. Akshay is drawn to the more political themes. He’s a supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his latest movie, Toilet Ek Prem Katha, espouses the platform of the PM’s Swacch Bharat campaign. Still, he was also in Desi Boyz, a movie about two handsome guys “escorting” as many white women as they can to earn money for their families. He’s versatile, is what I’m saying. Watch him in: Namastey London (2007), Rowdy Rathore (2012), Airlift (2016)  
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    What do you think of my list? Who’s your favorite?  

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