They may not have been a part of the glamorous world of Bollywood, but they have attained superstardom in their own accord. The thriving regional film industries have become bigger over the years and its actors have attained cult status amongst their fans. Even if they never made it big in mainstream Bollywood films, these actors have enjoyed superstardom for decades. Here’s a look at some of these actors, who rule the roost in their respective home turf.
He needs no introduction. The man, who can give the Bachchans and Khans a run for their money in southern part of the country, has been the number one actor of Tamil Cinema for decades now. The 61 year old man started his film career playing the antagonist but soon switched to playing the lead role in films and rewrote the history of Indian cinema. Each of Rajini’s film’s draw crores of revenues and he is considered the most expensive actor in Asia after Jackie Chan. His foray into Hindi films has also been a hit, but Rajini perhaps prefers to stick to Tamil Industry for his fans.
Multi talented Kamal Hassan started acting in films at the tender age of three. From commercial to art house films, Kamal has done it all. From playing a woman to a dwarf, Kamal has metamorphosed in each of his characters and has shown his versatility. This 3 time National Award winner is considered as one of the stalwarts of Indian Cinema. Although he has won critical acclaim for his art house films, his commercial films have done equally well and made him a star amongst the masses.
Malayalam cinema’s biggest star, Mammootty’s career spans over three decades. And in most part of his career, he has enjoyed cult status. The three time National Award winner started his career in 1973 but tasted success only in 1980 in a film called ‘Mela’. He was the ruling star of Malayalam film industry in the 80s and acted in almost 150 films between 1982-86. Infact, in the year 1986, Mammootty appeared in 35 films! Although, the actor has acted in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and English film, he is best known for his contribution to the Malayalam film industry.
He began his career in Bollywood but tasted success in Bhojpuri films. Ravi Kishan had to do odd roles in Hindi films and TV series till he found superstardom in the Bhojpuri film industry. Starring in a string of superhits, Ravi Kishan and his films brought Bhojpuri films in the limelight. So much so that a nation oblivious to the language and its films started taking interest in the industry and big league Bollywood producers contemplated making films there. Ravi Kisen’s overnight superstardom guaranteed him some pivotal character roles in big league Hindi films, which had eluded him at the beginning of his career. He also got to star in ‘Bigg Boss’ and play the host in ‘Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka’.
He may be known as the hapless father in hit TV series, ‘Hum Paanch’ but he has done some memorable roles in Marathi films in his career. Along with fellow comedian Laxmikant Berde, Ashok ruled the Marathi film industry in the 80s with some fine performances in rib tickling comedies.
Born to actor Biswajeet, Prosenjit started his career with a teenage romance called ‘Duti Pata’. The film was released at a time when Bengali film industry was going through a lull. No film was working and all were Box Office duds. Prosenjit and his debut film came as a breath of fresh air and needless to say a superstar was born. Bumba Da, as he is fondly called, has a career spanning over three decades and has tasted success in both commercial and art house films.
Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi, along with Mamootty, Mohanlal ruled the southern industry in the late 1970s-mid 1980s. Although he started his film career in 1978, it was only in 1981 in the film ‘Mana Voori’ that Chiranjeevi tasted success. Like Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi also started his career playing the antagonist and later went on to do some memorable leading roles. His stint in Bollywood was short but a successful one.
He is perhaps the oldest and the best known face of Punjabi music. From the early 1990s Gurdas Mann is synonym to rustic soulful Punjabi folk. The talented singer also tasted success as an actor. In fact Mann can be credited for helping both Punjabi folk music and Punjabi cinema gain international recognition.
Considered as a stalwart in Gujarati Cinema, Naresh Kanodia can almost be called a one man industry. The man along with Asrani and Kiran Kumar dominated the Gujarati Box Office in the 80s and 90s. With a career spanning over four decades, this man can easily be termed as the last word in Gujarati cinema. Needless, to say his fans till date swear by him.