Top 10 Bollywood Actors Who Changed the Definition of Hero

So there are lots of film industries in the world; almost every country having one of their own. India has Bollywood and one very typical thing about Indian Film industry is that it is hero oriented. And when we are saying hero; we mean not the male actor in the lead; no, that is not the case. A hero in general is the one that has a macho personality that he uses to beat the villain and a charming face with which he woos the heroine and the female audiences. But with the change of time; taste of viewers changed and here is a list of a few Bollywood actors who instead of a heroic personality; let their acts be the hero in the movies.

10 Rajkumar Rao (31st August 1984, Gurgaon)


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5 years in Bollywood since his debut in Love Sex and Dhokha in 2010; this young chap already bagged National Film Award for Best Actor. He got this award for his awesome role played in the movie Shahid. This Delhi University pass out is a stage actor and that can be easily seen in his polished acting in his various movies. Rajkumar has also achieved critical acclaim with his performance in the 2014 released Queen. A method actor; he visited Wasseypur for the small role of Shamshad Alam that he played in the movie Gangs of Wasseypur 2; in order to give a real touch to his character and accent.

Best Performance: Shahid in Shahid (2013).

9 Manoj Bajpayee (23rd April 1969, Narkatiaganj, Bihar)

Manoj Bajpai

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So only a few of us would be aware of the fact that Manoj was a school teacher in Salaam Balak Trust in Delhi. This Bihar born versatile actor was a gift from Doordarshan serial; Swabhimaan; the serial that also yield Ashutosh Rana and Rohit Roy to the industry. After playing several small roles in various movies; Manoj’s first big break was when he played the role of Bhikhu Mahatre in Satya. A very weird thing about him is that this gem of an actor was rejected by National School of Drama for 4 times before he started doing theater with Barry John. So this was NSD’s fault we can say.

Best Performance: Bhikhu Mahatre in Satya (1998).

8 Kay Kay Menon (2nd October 1966, Kerala)

Kay Kay Menon

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Kay Kay is one of the finest actors of Bollywood and the same can be proved by his performances in movies like Gulaal, Black Friday, Pinjar, Haider etc. Now Menon can be called a real versatile as earlier in his life he was a graduate from Physics in Mumbai University and also completed his MBA in Marketing from University of Pune and if that was not enough this man has also been popular in his class as a singer of Ghazals. Making his way to the big screen through televisions; Kay Kay is an actor with whose acting skills; even the stars of the mainstream would be jealous. His work in Haider got him the awarded as “Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award” and “Best Performance” for role of Dukey Bana in Gulaal (2009).

7 Nana Patekar (1st January 1951, Maharashtra)

Nana Patekar

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An actor with military discipline; Nana is famous for his simple lifestyle. He is so skilled that even the most complex and complicated of roles show his effortlessness when he plays them. An actor with a unique style of dialogue delivery; Nana has numerous awards in his bag including some of National and Filmfare awards. He has been awarded with “National Film Award for Best Actor” for his performance in Krantiveer and “National Awards for Best Supporting Actors” in the movies Parinda and Agni Sakshi.

And not only this; he also been awarded “Padma Shri Award” by Indian Government for his outstanding contribution in the Indian film society. Other than movies the actor is in limelight for his philanthropy works where he has been known to donate handsome amount of money for the relief of grief ridden farmers of India and others.

Best Performance Award: Pratap Tilak in Krantiveer.

6 Nawazuddin Siddiqui (19th May 1974, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh)

Nawazuddin Siddiqui

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In the looks and the appearance oriented Hindi Film Industry; this man was unnoticed even after delivering small but effective performances in various movies for more than a decade. After a long time of struggle where he shared flats; didn’t had rent to pay and was almost out of work, Nawaz was introduced and recognized to mainstream cinema with his work in Aamir Khan’s Peepli Live.

Talaash and Kahaani were few big offers for him but the thing that proved to be a turning point and was escalated his fame into the masses was his portrayal of Faizal in Gangs of Wasseypur 2. Immense pool of talent; Nawaz is the diamond that was hidden in the coal mine for so long. In a short span of his career he has already won 4 national awards and it does not look like that he is going to stop anytime soon.

Best Performance: Faizal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur 2.

5 Anupam Kher (7th March 1955, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh)

Anupam Kher

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He has not only been a former student at NSD but also has been its chairman. Another esteemed institute related to acting and films; Central Board of Film Certification has also seen Anupam as its Chairman. Winner of 2 national awards and 5 times winner of Filmfare Award for Best performance in a comic role; he has also been awarded Padma Shri in 2004 by Indian Government.

He drew the attention of the big names in Indian Cinema in 1984 when at the age of 28; he played the role of a retired middle class man who sees the ugly face of corrupted office system after losing his son. Kher has also appeared in some of the Hollywood Projects including Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Performance: B.V.Pradhan in Saransh.

4 Irrfan Khan (7th January 1967, Jaipur, Rajasthan)

Irfan Kahn

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You would want to believe us when we say that we are not promoting National School of Drama from this article! Another student from NSD; Irrfan has a long history of acting behind him. He appeared on the silver screen for the first time in Salaam Bombay in 1988; the same year he became a part of Bharat Ek Khoj.

One of the lead actors in Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire; he has acted in various Hollywood films and is noted for his work and acting skills even in Hollywood. Other than claiming national award for Paan Singh Tomar in 2012; Irrfan has also been awarded with Padma Shri award in 2011.

Best Performance: Paan Singh Tomar in Paan Singh Tomar.

3 Pankaj Kapoor (29th May 1954, Ludhiana, Punjab)

Pankaj Kapoor

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Another alumnus of National School of Drama; he has been bestowed with the acting skills that are just incredible. The characters that he play in his movies and plays and even serials; you will forget that he is Pankaj Kapoor and you will only look at him as that character. If you are a true admirer of acting in its purest form; I can bet that his acting will give you goose bumps. Winner of 3 national awards you can remember him as Musaddilal in Office Office.

Best performance: Jahangir Khan in Maqbool.

2 Om Puri (18th October 1950, Patiala Punjab)

Om Puri

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One of the walking acting schools of India; there is not much that can do justice if one has to write about his acting skills. If you are a football fan just think of him as Diego Maradona in the field of acting. Co- student of Naseeruddin Shah in 1973 batch of NSD; Om has an almost 40 year old career after he made his debut in 1976 in the Marathi Film Ghashiram Kotwal.

Not just Bollywood; even Hollywood has realized the acting potentials of Om other than several wins of National awards and Filmfare awards; he has won “Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire” for the services he rendered to the British Film Industry. In 2009 he received Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.

Best Performance: Anant Welankar in Ardh Satya.

1 Naseeruddin Shah (20th July 1950, Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh)

Naseerudin ShahImage Courtesy : fotomaps

The winner of three national awards, 3 Filmfare awards and receiver of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by Indian Government for his contributions to Indian Cinema. It does not get any better than this when it comes to acting and in true sense Naseeruddin Shah is a true gift to the film fraternity. His acting skills are unparallel and unmatched and modern generation will relate to that after seeing his impeccable performance in A Wednesday and Iqbal.

Best Performance: Anirudh Parmar in Sparsh.


So these were the 10 Bollywood Actors Who Changed the Definition of Hero who believed in delivering their best in every movie and the work they did in the movies is milestone for Indian Cinema. Not only the present and the past but even the future generations will keep inspiring from their work while learning what real acting is all about.

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