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Living Legends of Bollywood: 11 Veteran Actors Who Shaped Indian Cinema

As these legendary actors continue to flourish on the big screen, their influence on Indian cinema is unquestionable.

By Newsd
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Living Legends of Bollywood: In the ever-changing world of Indian cinema, there are actors who transcend time, who have not only left an indelible imprint on the silver screen, but have also played a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s very fabric. What makes this list exceptional is that these actors are not just part of history; they continue to grace the silver screen with their remarkable talent, wisdom, and charisma. This compilation honours the ageing actors who have transformed  Bollywood.

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Living Legends of Bollywood

Kamal Haasan

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Kamal Haasan is an actor par excellence, and his ability to transform into different characters is unmatched. His contributions transcend numerous Indian film industries, and his work demonstrates an innate grasp of the art form. Kamal Haasan, a genuine visionary, continues to enrich the cinematic landscape.


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When Rajinikanth appears on screen, it is a cultural phenomenon. His unparalleled fan base and the fervour surrounding the release of his films have elevated him to a divine status. His films are phenomenon that redefine cinematic celebrations.

Amitabh Bachchan:

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Amitabh Bachchan, a name that transcends generations, has been both “Angry Young Man” and the forerunner of thought-provoking film. From his impactful performances in action-packed spectacles to his collaborations with Hrishikesh Mukherjee, where social issues were dissected through comedy and satire (think “Anand” and “Namak Haraam”), Bachchan has indeed been the torchbearer of Indian cinema’s golden era.

Shabana Azmi

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Shabana Azmi is one of the greatest actors of all time because she exemplifies grace and talent. Her versatility is unparalleled, as she has navigated effortlessly between mainstream, independent, and parallel film. Her ability to weave stories that resonate with the multitudes and classes is exemplified by a body of work comprised of pivotal roles and collaborations with a wide variety of directors.


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Rekha, whose name requires no introduction, exemplifies grace and versatility. Her transformation from child actor to leading woman in such iconic films as “Umrao Jaan,” “Silsila,” and “Khoobsurat” has been a fascinating one. Her ability to effortlessly transition between diverse roles has made her a Bollywood legend.


Mammootty brought about a paradigm transformation within the Malayalam film industry. His charismatic performances and commitment to his craft have propelled Mollywood to new heights. His presence inspires reverence, and his contributions to cinema continue to shape the identity of the industry.


Sheela’s association with the Malayalam film industry has been nothing less than legendary. Her on-screen rapport with Naseeruddin Shah in multiple films is a testament to their acting abilities. Her films “Chemmeen,” “Kuttyedathi,” and “Kallichellamma” have established her as an important figure in the annals of Mollywood.


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Chiranjeevi, affectionately known as the “Megastar” of Telugu cinema, has captivated audiences for generations with his charisma and larger-than-life presence. Not only have his iconic films “Swayam Krushi,” “Indra,” and “Khaidi No. 150” broken box office records, but they have also prepared the way for contemporary Telugu cinema.

Nandamuri Balakrishnan

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Nandamuri Balakrishnan, affectionately known as “Balayya,” is a force to be reckoned with in Telugu cinema. He began his acting career at the juvenile age of 14, and he is a force to be reckoned with in Telugu cinema. His professional career spans four decades. The cult following for films such as “Mangammagari Manavadu,” “Narasimha Naidu,” and “Gautamiputra Satakarni” is enormous. Balayya’s colossal presence and ferocious performances continue to captivate audiences.

Sowcar Janaki

Sowcar Janaki’s contribution to Indian cinema is nothing short of remarkable, given her six-decade career. Her effortless ability to switch between roles has made her an industry icon, leaving an indelible mark on both her contemporaries and the generation that followed.


Shobana has captivated audiences with her exceptional acting and delicate dance performances throughout her illustrious career. Her contributions to film demonstrate her dedication to her craft and love of storytelling.

As these legendary actors continue to flourish on the big screen, their influence on Indian cinema is unquestionable. From Amitabh Bachchan’s charisma to Shabana Azmi’s depth, from Rajinikanth’s aura to the versatile performances of Mammootty and the indomitable spirit of Rekha, Sheela and Shobana – these living legends have not only shaped the past but also continue to influence the present and future of Indian cinema. Their journeys are evidence of the artistry, commitment, and enchantment that cinema possesses.