Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan has been declared the greatest Bollywood star of all time in a first of its kind poll conducted by the UK based Eastern Eye newspaper, which combined votes, box office, cinematic impact and critical acclaim.
The multi-award winning star of countless classics got a lion’s share of the votes from critics, fans and the film fraternity to become the runaway winner. Bachchan’s own choice and cinematic hero Dilip Kumar came in second and Shah Rukh Khan, who got the biggest international vote came in third.
Someone who worked his way up from the very bottom, Amitabh Bachchan has been at the very top for an incredible 40 years. Shortly after changing the face of Indian cinema with police thriller Zanjeer (1973), he became the undisputed king of Bollywood as he delivered classics like Deewar (1975), Sholay (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976) and Amar Akbar Anthony (1977). Then with Mohabbatein (2000) he created a space for the older hero in Bollywood for the first time and followed it up with a string of award-winning performances. Bachchan bridged the gap between Bollywood and television, became the most popular Indian film star on cyberspace and has won countless global honours. He was also the first Bollywood star in Madame Tussauds and carried the Olympic torch at London 2012.
The highest placed leading lady Madhuri Dixit, who came in fourth on the overall list of 100 Greatest Bollywood Stars, praised all of the stars in Indian cinema. “We have had a legacy of very very talented people, which people have loved to see the world over. I am proud to be a part of that and I am also proud to be a part of the whole movement where cinema is getting better and we are trying to do something different. It’s wonderful to be highly placed, but it also comes with a great sense of responsibility on my shoulders where I have to do better every time when I am doing something. So I love it and I love what I do,” said Madhuri.
Eastern Eye showbiz editor Asjad Nazir, who put together the list of 100 greatest Bollywood movies and is chairman of the judging panel thinks Amitabh Bachchan was a clear choice. “If you take longevity, impact, number of fans and varied body of work into account then Amitabh Bachchan is the greatest movie star in the history of global cinema. No other movie star has remained at the very top for as long as he has or made a positive impact on the lives of so many,” said Asjad.
The rest of the top 10 stars in the list of 100 Greatest Bollywood stars were Raj Kapoor (5), Nargis (6), Dev Anand (7), Waheeda Rehman (8), Rajesh Khanna (9) and Sridevi (10).
Other notable stars in the list include Salman Khan (11), Aamir Khan (14), Dharmendra (15), Hema Malini (18), Madhubala (24), Kajol (30), Hrithik Roshan (32), Rani Mukerji (38), Kareena Kapoor (43), Mumtaz (50), Saif Ali Khan (59), Priyanka Chopra (86) and Katrina Kaif (93).
The full list of 100 Greatest Bollywood Stars is published in UK’s most established and popular Asian newspaper Eastern Eye on July 26.