25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema

Slightly old article…

25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema

Balraj Sahni
in Garam Hawa (Scorching Winds), 1974
Films about partition are usually angry in their tone. Garam Hawa is downbeat and elegiac. Sahni is the head of a Muslim family that is coming apart after the Partition of India. He fills his character with dignity, grief and is never maudlin. Sahni was a natural actor and that’s what helps his character.

Utpal Dutt
in Bhuvan Shome, 1969
An ageing and strict government employee takes a vacation in the wilderness. He comes back a changed man. He is kinder, gentler and more connected with himself than before. Dutt conducts a masterclass in acting where he goes from being a martinet to being confused and clumsy and finally, a liberated soul.

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10 Responses to “25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema”

  1. sanjana Says:

    Ridiculous list.
    Randomly picking this and that.
    For telugu only Somayajulu? What about ANR? Bhanumati Ramakrishna? Savitri?
    Irrfan? Tabu, Konkona? Meena Kumari? Ompuri? Amrishpuri?
    These people who picked this random list dont have deep knowledge about south Indian cinema and their stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved this list. Quite balanced and picks from popular cinemas.

    Would probably add

    Anupam Kher in saaransh
    Ajay Devgn in Zakham
    Manoj Bajpayee in Satya
    Paresh Rawal in Hera Pheri
    Sanjay Dutt in Vaastav
    Naseeruddin Shah in Maasoom
    Farukh Shaikh in Arth
    Amol Palekar in Golmaal
    Ashok Kumar in Mahal
    Ranbir Kapoor in Sanju
    Ranveer Singh in Bajirao Mastani
    Salman Khan in Maine Pyaar Kiyaa
    Shahrukh Khan in Baazigar
    Aamir Khan in Lagaan
    Akshay Kumar in Padman


  3. I really don’t understand how and why editors let their writers pass such articles. It is a HIGHLY subjective matter. Do these guys have an understanding of differentiating between ROLES and ACTS?

    The more and more I have seen films, the more I have realize that compiling an ALL-TIME-LIST is the stupidest exercise of all.

    Where is SRK in DIL SE here? Where is Guru Dutt in KKP or PYAASA?

    I mean…the Govt should add the such kind of articles are one of the side-effects of CV…not curriculum vitae..but corona virus..


    • No doubt top 25 performance is an impossible task because you would miss plenty of other greats.

      However would not mind if this were to emerge as popular choices.

      There.are.always two type of acting- one for the self and other for the general audience amd fans.

      I tend to align more with fan’s choices as i also find an acting for the audience more magical than those for the purist or self.


  4. Balraj didn’t really need a script….his sighs in a song were enough to raise goose-pimples..just like Amit in MILI standing over a balcony with glass of whiskey in his hand…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Again, in terms of pure-acting, Raj Kumar was never a great actor, though he is perhaps the ONLY actor in India who has played mythological, modern, historical characters and started from stage…BANGARADA MANUSHYA was hardly one of his greater performances..though the film was SHOLAY of Kannada film industry..

      Here, look at the way he enacts and understands the rendering of classical music, though he himself was highly untrained in it..and he sung this song himself…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. sanjana Says:

    It is difficult to choose when some actors give equally great performances in more than 4 films or so.

    Great performance is different from great entertaining performance according to me. Well, even Asrani entertains.

    Kamal Hasan in Nayagan.

    Bachchan in Nishabd. And Saudagar.

    ANR in telugu and tamil Devdas.

    Kher in Saransh and A Wednesday.

    Pankaj Kapur in Maqbool.

    These are only few which I can recall as of now.

    As for actresses, they have different attractions besides acting which unfortunately or fortunately makes them a bit different. Their looks, their feminity, their dancing skills, their inbuilt emotionalism etc.


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