The hundred years of Indian films especially the Hindi films has seen a galaxy of male actors capture the hearts of the audiences. Beginning from the silent era through advent of sound till today all types heroes have adorned the filmy screen. Looking back, the first sound film made was Alam Ara released in 1931. It starred Prithvi Raj Kapoor,W.M.Khan,Yakub, Master Vithal and the heroine was Zubeida. All its male actors went on to act in a number of films during the thirties and the forties.The movies of the thirties were mostly based on social protest. The other hero to gain fame was V Shantaram in films like Aadmi and Padosi. But the find of the decade was the legendary actor Ashok Kumar who went on to dominate the Hindi movies for decades.

The forties saw besides social protest the making of period films. Shorabh Modi made and acted as a powerful actor in movies like Sikander,Pukar and Prihvi Vallabh.Towards the end of the decade Indian cinema got Raj Kapoor in movies like Barsaat and Aag. Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand also made their entry into the Hindi films.This trio of Dilip, Dev and Raj Kapoor was to dominate Hindi films for the next more than three decades.

However it was the fifties which not only saw a rich haul of a variety of movies being produced but also  equally saw a rich haul of male actors join the Hindi filmdom. Actors like Rajendra Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Sunil Dutt, Balraj Sahni, Raj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Jhonny Walker, Mehmood made their mark during this decade. Actors like Mahipal, Bharat Bhushan, Pran, Jayant, Om Prakash, Kanhaiyalal, Ajit were also the actors of repute to start their acting careers during this highly productive decade.

Almost all the actors of the forties and fifties continued in the sixties. Manoj Kumar was one actor who blossomed in this decade with patriotic movies. The creativity of the fifties was giving way to emphasis on the box office returns. Dharmendra,Jeetendra and Sanjeev Kumar amongst others made their entry and mark in the sixties.

The seventies saw the era of new wave films being produced. Actors like Utapl Dutt came to the lime light. Amitabh Bachchan was the find of the decade and was to go on to become an industry by himself. However it was the first Super Star of the Hindi filmindustry Rajesh Khanna  to whom the decade rightly  belonged. Amongst others the decade saw new actors like Rishi Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Shatrugan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Feroz Khan enter the Hindi filmdom .However it was the entry of a special class of trained actors like Nasseerudin Shah, Om Puri, Amrish Puri that caught the eye of the discerning audiences of the seventies.The movies of this decade were action packed and revenge was a popular theme.

The eighties and nineties saw musical films being made and love stories made a come back. Romantic heroes were in demand. Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan Salman Khan made their debutes and the 'Khans' are still dominating the Hindi film scene .Another hero to make his mark was Anil Kapoor especially in Mr India. Sunny Deol also made his entry during the early part of this period.The much in news Sanjay Dutt also established himself during this period.The other notable actors who went on to make both name and fame were Govinda, Jackie Shroff, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Ajay Devgan,and Suneil Shetty. Vastly talented actors like Anupam Kher, Nana Patekar and Paresh Rawal also made their entry during this period.

The early 2000's saw emergence of  heroes like Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi, Emraan Hashma, Shahid kapoor and later on Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan.

Actors will come and go but who can match the tragedy king Dilip Kumar or the socialistic prankster Raj Kapoor or the romantic Dev Anand or the 'junglee'  Shammi Kapoor or the sauve Ashok Kumar or the meloncholy Guru Dutt or the funster Mehmood amongst others from the golden era of the forties and fifties of the Hindi films. It seems today the hero is gradually begining to give way to strong stories and where acting talents rather than star image is needed. But we can thank these and all other heroes who have given us hours of joy in the dingy theaters of the past to the posh multiplexes of today. 


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