Top 12 Actors Who Had The Longest Career In Terms Of Films
Top 12 Actors Who Had The Longest Career In Terms Of Films View All Articles
Posted On: 01 Oct 2021 | Last Updated: 01 Oct 2021
We all know how difficult it is to be an actor. Thousands of people come to Mumbai every year with a dream to become a Bollywood star, but only a handful get a chance to be featured in a movie. Many actors start their career with the film funded by the big banners of Bollywood, but that does not promise them a successful Bollywood career. The Indian film industry is dynamic, and it could be cruel to many, as the actors who make their screen debut with a blockbuster may also have a short spree in Bollywood. Where many fail to make it big in Bollywood and disappear from the silver screen after the first few films, there have been some actors who have ruled the silver screen for over five decades and appeared in more than 150 films. Let’s check out these top 12 Bollywood actors with the longest acting career.
1. Ashok Kumar – 63 Years (Active Years – 1934 to 1997) – 300 Films
The legendary Bollywood actor Ashok Kumar, fondly known as Dadamoni, ruled the silver screen for 63 long years and appeared in over 300 films. He is one among the few actors who appeared in lead roles throughout his career, and holds the Guinness World record for most leading roles. He started his acting career in Bollywood with the 1936 film Jeevan Naiya. However, the first movie to give him fame was Acchut Kannya (1936), which was among the earliest super-hit movies of Bollywood. Later, he appeared in several superhits like Savitri (1937), Jhoola (1941), Kismet (1943), Sajan (1947), Mahal (1949), Howrah Bridge (1958), Jewel Thief (1967), Pakeezah (1972) and many more. He was honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke Award and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his contribution to Indian cinema. At the age of 90, the actor died in 2001, but became an inspiration for generations of aspiring actors.
2. Amitabh Bachchan – 50+ Years (Active Years – 1969 to present) – 300 Films
The ‘Shahenshah’ of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, is one of the most iconic actors whose fan following continues to grow by the day. Amitabh Bachchan’s debut film was K. A. Abbas’ Saat Hindustani in 1969, which was followed by a series of flops, until he appeared in Zanjeer in 1973 that helped him rise to stardom. He then appeared in blockbusters like Sholay (1975), Deewaar (1975), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Don (1978), Naseeb (1981), Satte Pe Satta (1982), Shahenshah (1988), Agneepath (1990), and many more. Amitabh Bachchan, however, despite his age and acting in movies for over five decades, continues to grow in popularity by appearing in versatile roles in movies.
3. Dharmendra – 60+ Years (Active Years – 1960 to present) – 300 Films
Dharmendra, also known as the ‘He-Man’ of Indian cinema, is among the top actors who made the longest career in the Bollywood industry. Dharmendra has starred in more than 300 films in his career spanning over 60 years. He made his Bollywood debut with the 1960 film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere, alongside Kum Kum. It was followed by his blockbuster films like Phool Aur Patthar (1966), Anupama (1966), Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Sholay (1975), Dream Girl (1977), Dharam-Veer (1977) and many more. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2012 by the Government of India, for his contribution in Indian cinema.
4. Dev Anand – 65 Years (Active Years – 1946 to 2011) – 150 Films
Dev Anand was one of the most successful actors in the Indian film industry who gave a new dimension to the word Stardom. In a career span of over six decades, he acted in over 150 movies. Dev Anand was referred as the ‘Evergreen Hero’ and no one could match his romancing style till date. He’s best known for his works in movies like Baazi (1951), Jaal (1952), C.I.D. (1956), Kala Pani (1958), Hum Dono (1961), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967), Johny Mera Naam (1970), Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), Tere Mere Sapne (1971), Des Pardes (1978) and many others. In 2001, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan and in 2002 with Dadasaheb Phalke Award by the Government of India for his contribution to Indian cinema.
5. Paidi Jairaj – 67 Years (Active Years – 1929 to 1995) – 170 Films
Paidi Jairaj was a legendary Indian actor who holds the record of having the longest career in Indian films. He was one of the top actors who made a successful career in Bollywood. In a career span of around 65 years, he appeared in about 170 feature films. For about two decades, he appeared in lead roles and later, he started appearing in character roles. He is best known for his works in movies like Shah Jahan (1947), Hatim Tai (1956), Amar Singh Rathore (1957), Tipu Sultan (1959), Prithviraj Chauhan (1959), Maharana Pratap (1960), Haider (1962), Chandrashekhar Azad (1963), Durga Das (1964) and many more. In 1980, he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award by the Government of India. He was dedicated to Indian cinema till the end and to celebrate his journey the Government of Telangana made and released Life Journey of Jairaj, a one-hour documentary, in 2018.
6. Shammi Kapoor – 63 Years (Active Years – 1948 to 2011) – 140 Films
Shammi Kapoor, the son of actor Prithviraj Kapoor and a member of the Kapoor family, was one of the successful Indian actors. He made his Bollywood debut with six releases in 1953 that include Jeewan Jyoti, Gul Sanobar, Khoj, Laila Majnu, Rail Ka Dibba, Thokar, all of which failed at the box office. It was followed by his other box-office flops, until he had his breakthrough with Tumsa Nahi Dekha (1957), which gave him the image of stylish playboy and dancer. In a career span of over six decades, Shammi Kapoor acted in over hundred movies. He is best known for his works in movies like Dil Deke Dekho (1959), Junglee (1961), Professor (1962), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Teesri Manzil (1966), An Evening in Paris (1967), Brahmachari (1968), Prince (1969), Andaz (1971) and Parvarish (1977). In 1995, he was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
7. Bhagwan Dada – 60 Years (Active Years - 1931 to 1996) – 370 Films
One of the most versatile actor-directors of Bollywood, Bhagwan Aabaji Palav, better known as Bhagwan Dada or Master Bhagwan, who ruled the silver screen for over six decades. He made his debut with the silent era film Bewafa Ashiq in 1931. He started acting in important lead roles from the early 30s to 60s and continued appearing in character roles till the late 1990s. He has acted in movies like Bachke Rahna (1949), Albela (1951), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955), Chori Chori (1956), Bhagam Bhag (1956), Gateway of India (1957), Gunda (1969), Bhoola Bhatka (1976), Agent Vinod (1977), Azaad (1978), Jhoota Kahin Ka (1979), Naseeb (1981) and many more. Later in his career, he was only seen in small roles, in which he performed his dance that became famous when Amitabh Bachchan started using it as his default dance step.
8. Iftekhar – 55 Years (Active Years – 1937 to 1992) – 400 Films
Iftekhar Ahmed was an Indian actor who mainly appeared in character roles in movies. He acted in over 400 movies in his career span of around 55 years. Iftekhar was one of the actors who was typecast in one kind of role. He appeared in the role of a police officer in several movies. Iftekhar is best known for his works in movies like Bandini (1963), Sawan Bhadon (1970), The Train (1970), Raja Rani (1973), Zanjeer (1973), Deewaar (1975), Khel Khel Mein (1975), Agent Vinod (1977), Don (1978) and others.
9. Om Prakash – 52 Years (Active Years – 1942 to 1994) – 307 Films
Om Prakash, the former Indian actor, appeared in supporting roles in several movies since the start of his acting career. He appeared in lead roles in movies like Dus Lakh (1966), Annadata (1972) and Charandas (1977). However, he mostly appeared in character roles in movies which totalled to over 300 films in a career spanning of over 50 years. He’s best known for his works in movies like Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963), Pyar Kiye Jaa (1966), Padosan (1968), Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968), Buddha Mil Gaya (1971), Dil Daulat Duniya (1972), Apna Desh (1972), Joroo Ka Ghulam (1972), Loafer (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975), and Julie (1975).
10. Pran – 67 Years (Active Years 1940 to 2007) – 362 Films
Pran, the former Indian actor, was known as the greatest villain ever in the history of cinema. Since the start of his career, he appeared in a few lead roles and then switched to character roles. In a career span of over 65 years, Pran appeared in over 350 movies. He is best known for his works in movies like Madhumati (1958), Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960), Shaheed (1965), Upkar (1967), Ram Aur Shyam (1967), Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool (1969), Johny Mera Naam (1970), Purab Aur Paschim (1970), Zanjeer (1973), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Don (1978), and Duniya (1984). The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2012 for his contribution in Indian cinema.
11. Prem Chopra – 60+ Years (Active Years – 1960 to present) – 380 Films
Prem Chopra, another veteran Bollywood actor who mostly appeared in villainous roles in movies. In a career span of over 60 years, he acted in over 350 movies. Among his earlier films, he played Sukhdev in Shaheed (1965), one of his rare positive performances which became a hit. Since the late 1960s, he has been a leading villain in Hindi films. He is known for his works in movies like Upkar (1967), Do Raaste (1969), Purab Aur Paschim (1970), Kati Patang (1970), Keemat (1973), Ajnabee (1974), Prem Nagar (1974), Kaala Sona (1975), Kranti (1981), Oonche Log (1985), Phool Bane Angaarey (1991), and many more.
12. Rishi Kapoor – 50 Years (Active Years – 1970 to 2020) – 160 Films
The son of legendary actor Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor was one of the most successful leading actors of his time. He started his acting career as a child artist in his father Raj Kapoor’s film Mera Naam Joker (1970), which earned him the National Film Award for Best Child Artist. As an adult, he made his debut in Bollywood in the teenage romantic drama Bobby (1973), alongside Dimple Kapadia. His role in the movie won him that years Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Rishi Kapoor was dedicated to the Indian film industry till the end. In April 2020, he breathed his last and in a career span of around five decades, he appeared in over 150 films. He is best known for his works in movies like Khel Khel Mein (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Sargam (1979), Karz (1980), Prem Rog (1982), Nagina (1986), Chandni (1989), Bol Radha Bol (1992) and many more.