Ranking Bollywood’s most handsome actors in pre-2000 era

I have always felt that pre-2000 era of Bollywood had a better assortment of heroes – masochistic, charming, charismatic presence and great pull. Hence thought of ranking the best-looking heroes of Bollywood – pre-2000 and post 2000 era. In this part, I try to rank Bollywood’s most handsome actors of the 20th century.

As a warning, I must tell you that the likes of Rajesh Khanna, young Shahrukh or Amir Khan or even the great Amitabh Bachchan hasn’t made to this list. You may disagree and that’s fine. But you will agree that the list twelve was indeed handsome and scored very high on all parameters.

12. Manoj Kumar

India’s own Mr Bharat Kumar was a well-known actor-director. Manoj Kumar was at his peak between the mid-60s till late seventies. He lacked much on-screen machismo but overall was extremely handsome.

Manoj Kumar

11. Shammi Kapoor

The most maverick actor of the Kapoor clan used to be called ‘The King’ during the same era. His dance movements and dialogue style remained unmatched for decades, till Govinda in mid-1990s struck gold with his comic timing, dance skills and attitude. Shammi Kapoor may not be the best looking around, but his charisma has stayed legendary.

The maverick Shammi Kapoor

10. Sanjay Khan

Sanjay Khan, strangely makes to his list and not his more famous elder brother Feroz Khan. Sanjay acted in 30 odd films but was very good-looking.

Pran and Sanjay Khan – who’s more handsome?

9. Shashi Kapoor

Shashi Kapoor did movies for close to 50 years. Starting as a child artist in 1948 (Aag), this terrific actor from the Kapoor family has also produced and directed movies. He also has a significant number of English movies to his name.

Shashi Kapoor

8. Dev Anand

Dev Anand had so much uniqueness and charisma about him that he is known as one of the biggest influencers to Indian cinema. He has acted, written, produced and directed movies aplenty. At his peak, it was rumoured that he would copy the style and mannerism of famous Hollywood star than Gregory Peck. You decide.

Dev Anand & Gregory Peck

7. Pran

Pran is more known as the famous villain of 1960s-80s Bollywood. Truth be told he was as dashing as any of the heroes you find in this list and it was believed that he could eat up heroes in scenes by the power of his charisma.


6. Salman Khan

Salman Khan is one of the current megastars of Bollywood, but it was his early looks in the 80s and 90s which took the country by storm.With looks like this, he easily edges out many who couldn’t make it here.

5. Vinod Khanna

Vinod Khanna is one of the rare heroes who outdid a Pran. He started his career doing villainous roles but then moved to becoming a hero once his looks further sharpened. Vinod Khanna was believed to be giving a run for money to the late seventies megastar Amitabh Bachchan (who incidentally doesn’t make to this list here as I feel the 21st century Bachchan is more likely to break into the top ten list than the 20th century). Khanna has a masala life too, having entered, spiritualism, politics and then again returned back to movies. In machismo, he ranks extremely high, hence makes to fifth place.

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Dashing Vinod Khanna in a Cinthol ad

4. Kabir Bedi

In terms of towering personality and machismo, Kabir Bedi would rank higher than Vinod Khanna. Starting his movie career in 1971, he still features in movies with the same elan as always. His roles in James Bond’s Octopussy and multiple television series all over Europe gives him global personality status.

Kabir Bedi in Octopussy

3. Balraj Sahni

Balraj Sahni acted in movies from mid-forties all the way to the early seventies. Born in Rawalpindi Pakistan, he was a rage in Bollywood and possibly India’s first and most popular handsome actor, till Raj Kapoor and Ashok Kumar started sharing the limelight.

Balraj Sahni

2. Jackie Shroff

Like Vinod Khanna, Jackie Shroff’s entry into Bollywood in mid-eighties was signaled as a major rival to the then megastar Amitabh Bachchan. he acted in over 200 films spread over 9 different languages but his chiselled and macho looks quickly made him a poster boy. His face was a frequent feature over billboards and ads. He and Anil Kapoor (another star who has looked better post-2000, than pre, and hence doesn’t feature here), made a grand winning combination giving multiple hits.

Jackie Shroff was poster boy of India 1980s

1. Dharmendra

The young Dharmendra is easily the most handsome actor India ever saw in Pre-2000 era. He has a multitude of nicknames ranging from ‘He-Man’ to ‘Action King’. Needless to say, machismo came naturally to him but his personality overall was extremely balanced with an equal mix of charm and grace.

Dharmendra is the most handsome actor ever to come out of Bollywood

Do you agree with this list? And what about the most handsome heroes of the 2000’s era? Check their rankings here.

29 thoughts on “Ranking Bollywood’s most handsome actors in pre-2000 era

  1. A good attempt! I think actors like Prithiviraj Raj Kapoor, Shyam, Feroz Khan, Navin Nischol, Joy Mukherjee, Aditya Pancholi and Rajiv Kapoor could also have made into the list and lead to eliminate, atleast Salman Khan and Jackie Shroff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, not at all. Jackie was a stud back then. Was extremely Handsome and had a Charismatic macho personality. He is irreplaceable. Aditya pancholi is Handsome but nowhere is near to Jackie and salman.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. fully fake list no 1 is the great vinod khanna and why sanjay dutt feroz khan sunil dutt mithun chakraborthy all are handsome and legendry actors missing totally fake

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Most handsome Hindi cinema actors list s outstanding. But u may include good looking Jeetendra.,sanjay dutt. Otherwise Ur selection of most handsome heroes s well balanced, perfect n unique.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree Sulabh. Jeetu bhai o taaki o taaki o taaki re and Sanju baba jaadu ki jhappi are eternal memories and handsome too. Too bad they just miss out. Am so happy you enjoyed the list. Thanks for appreciation.


  4. Good list well compiled .but sad to note not a sigle south indian .unfortunately they just can make it except with exception of madhavan but maddy is tam brahm.i would vote for dharmendra as number 1 rgds drprasad panicker t m s cardiologist

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dr Panicker thanks for your comments. Madhavan is from my home town Jamshedpur .. 🙂 ..for yesteryear actors Venkatesh, Arvind Swamy and Mammootty could be considered in the category the blog is ranking. Although they haven’t done much Bollywood movies which is the subject. In modern age I like Mahesh Babu a lot. Do read my South Indian favourite movie reviews in the movie section. And thanks for your profession, for serving humanity.


  5. My dear keen observer,
    Have depicted many who have managed to make it; whilst few others are moonshine. But don’t understand why you’ve left out the ever charming, bright eyed sensation Joy Mukherjee, who’d easily out-flash, outshine and beat several turf thunders finding a place in your cabinet? I simply don’t understand my dear judge as to why the bright eyed charismatic sensation, the romanticised masculinity hasn’t been bestowed even a cameo appearance in your magnanimous pick? He is not ruggedly chauvinistic, but leads a movement that stands out as Bollywood’s lone genteel masculine phenomenon. Reconsider and include the king of charms-Joy Mukherjee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Vikram. True Joy Mukherjee was very charming. So too Biswajit or Dev Anand or Amol Palekar etc etc .. Bollywood has charmed and influenced us for decades. It was tough not to include some of them.


  6. Dear Avijit, here Lo I offer my objection addressing the jury that expresses its helplessness to include a few notwithstanding their easily noticeable worth and abilities. Of course any carrier vehicle is helpless enough to hold only prescribed number of passengers and, moreover, within its set limit. And no matter once the vehicle has left already speeding phew…. for its destination, however important person may arrive at the boarding point, he or she can’t be accommodated in that very journey. But seeing the person’s worth, undoubtedly the next flight can be thrown open to him, with a red carpet welcoming even the last tip and toe describing his legendary footsteps! AND THE CHARM OF JOY MUKHERJEE IS SO APPARENT THAT EVEN A SUPERFICIAL OBSERVER CAN’T HELP CATCHING but A GLIMPSE OF IT! EVEN A BLIND MAN SENSES THE FLASH OF FULL MOON. In my opinion READILY APPARENT CHARM DOES NOT AND MUST NOT REQUIRE SUCH APPEALS AND STRESSES AS THIS TO CONVINCE THE CRITICS OF ITS WORTH THAT’S OTHERWISE SO EASILY APPARENT EVEN LIKE A LAMP IN THE DARK! SO MY JUDGE, THINK OVER AND DO JUSTICE! You have done a very good, commendable, and hard work in your research my friend; I only want that work to cross the bars currently set and rise so high as to emulate a higher standard of consideration and include stars yet higher as Joy Mukherjee, the ever charming sensation; into its scope of survey. CONTEMPLATE, and do justice…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, from its deepest core, and it’s innermost chambers. Your sense of appreciation is as possessed of lure, lustre, and lumina, as the spellbinding object of discussion here, ably the charm of heavenly radiance, the embodiment of cupid…. and what else-well Joy alone can match himself, when words fail to deliver

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Rajesh Khanna was average looking. Shashi Kapoor all the way followed by Dharmendra when it comes to handsomeness. You can argue that Rajesh was probably a better and a more successful actor with a much more successful career. Shashi saheb didn’t know how to manage his career always caught up in undemanding movies. He readily agreed to sign up as second lead to all top actors of his generation as well. Shashi also overacted regularly appearing hyper active and over happy in many roles when a more mature approach was needed in movies like “Deewar”. He did not do justice to his career by signing so many B class movies also growing old well before his contemporaries. When older stars then him like Dharmendra were still doing hero roles Shashi saheb was playing someone’s granddad in his mid 40’s! Today the likes of Salman Khan are playing main leads in their 50’s! Shashi saheb was very dashing in his prime but it did not last very long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gul Hamid of the silent era was one of the all-time most good-looking heroes of Bollywood and a treat to watch. You may Google his photographs most of which are available on Flickr.

        Another one, Shyam Kumar of 1940s can also easily make into the list.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s just perfect. Yes, Jackie Shroff was the poster boy of 80’s and extremely Handsome. His macho looks and Charismatic personality is above all.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My list – not exhaustive, of course! – would be something like this:
    Actors and their approximate first screen appearances –

    Prithvi Raj Kapoor 1931
    Pran 1941, Rehman 1944, Iftikhar 1944, Dev Anand 1946, Kamal Kapoor 1946, Balraj Sahani 1946
    Raaj Kumar 1952,
    Dharmendra 1960, Feroze Khan 1960, Shashi Kapoor 1961, Sanjay Khan 1964, Sanjiv Kumar 1965, Rajesh Khanna 1966,
    Kabir Bedi 1971,
    Jackie Shroff 1982
    Hritik Roshan 2000, John Abraham 2003, Neil Nitin Mukesh 2007

    (Bold more handsome than others)

    ~ cinemaargi

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I believe few names could have been added like feroz khan however i completely agree with NO 1 in your list .. Dharmendra hands down was the most handsome hero ever … only hero then to have featured in 10 most handsome man alive in 70s .. what more proff would anyone need … great choice brother ..


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