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With their rugged good looks, strong protective presence and a charm that seems to ooze from the screen, Bollywood actors have had women from around the world swooning for decades

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Amitabh Bachchan At 6 foot 2, with a deep baritone voice and intense stare, Bachchan became the "angry young man" of Bollywood in the 1970s - not easy at a time when directors were looking for fair, clean-cut heroes. His breakout role came in 1973's Zanjeer, a film unlike the romantic flicks of the period. He then went on to popularize a new breed of Hindi film hero in such major hits as spy thriller Deewar and spaghetti western Sholay. He took a break from the movies in the mid-eighties to get involved in politics and suffered a series of box office failures in the nineties - but he's been back with a vengeance since the early 2000s in roles as the family patriarch. Neetu Seupersadsingh is a contributor to ANOKHI Magazine (

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Abhishek Bachchan Even though he's the son of Amitabh Bachchan - perhaps the most prominent actor in Indian cinema - Abhishek has proven that his talent stands on its own. Although he's been a Bollywood A-lister since the success of 2004's Dhoom and Yuva (a performance which earned him his very first industry award), the role perhaps best suited to him was the 2007 critically acclaimed film Guru, where he played the title role which was speculated to be based on the father of the Ambani brothers (India's wealthiest businessmen) and of course where he met his future wife, Aishwarya Rai.

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Akshay Kumar This part-time Canadian - he is known to have a home just outside the GTA - has certainly come far from his humble beginnings as a waiter in Bangkok, Kumar always dreamt of making it big. Even though his first few films in the nineties were not box office hits, they did put him on the map for his dancing abilities and dare-devilish stunts. Now with more than 100 films under his belt, including 2001's hit drama Ek Rishtaa, this Bollywood cutie has more than enough to keep him busy with his production company, Hari Om Entertainment, and his recent appointment as Canada's tourism ambassador to India.

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Aamir Khan Known for being selective with his roles - an unusual trait for a mainstream Bollywood actor - Khan continues to act in just one or two films a year. After the runaway success of 1988's Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak he was thrust into instant stardom. His performances are often praised for his method acting, such as his role in 2001's Academy Award-nominated Lagaan, which marked the debut of his own production company. And Khan did not stop at producing, in 2007 he branched off into directing with the box office smash Taare Zameen Par. His production company holds the record for the most official Indian entries in the Oscar race. Fingers are now crossed that his latest film, Dhobi Ghat (directed by his wife, Kiran Rao) which premiered this past September at the Toronto International Film Festival will also be called upon by Oscar.

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Hrithik Roshan Through the 1980s Hrithik made several appearances in features as a child actor, but he did not splash onto the Bollywood scene until his 2000 blockbuster Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. The role earned him multiple awards. Hrithik worked for many years on the movies sets of his father, director Rakesh Roshan, because he wanted to learn the business from scratch. There he also watched cinematic icon Shahrukh Khan work his magic on screen, and Hrithik took studious notes. It looks like his hard work paid off because he is now known as the Bollywood actor who has it all from his devastatingly good looks and physique to his stellar dance moves (which are compared to Gene Kelly) and winning singing voice. Currently he is nominated for IIFA's best performance in a leading role - male for the film Guzaarish.

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John Abraham With a smile that could break 1,000 hearts, Abraham is one of the most successful male models in India. After several years of modelling overseas as well as in India he made the leap into movies with his debut in 2003?s thriller Jism. Although it did okay at the box office, it was acclaimed by his peers. The very next year Abraham played a villain in Dhoom, one of the highest grossing films of 2004. His knack for experimenting in cinematic projects was clear when he delved into the dramatic role as Narayan in the 2005 Oscar-nominated film, Water directed by Deepa Mehta. He had four films out last year, and is currently in 7 Khoon Maaf and already signed on to Dostana 2 set for release in 2012.

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Arjun Rampal No stranger to the spotlight, fashion model turned actor Rampal has been in a steady stream of films since his debut in the early 2000s. Though his first two flicks, Moksha and Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat did poorly at the box office, his performances were praised by critics and in 2002 he was awarded the coveted Face of the Year title from the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA). Most recently, the hunky actor earned acclaim for his villainous role inwhat has become one of the biggest hits in the history of Bollywood, 2007's Om Shanti Om which is still popular. Currently he is nominated for IIFA's best performance in a supporting role - male for the film Raajneeti.

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Saif Ali Khan With a mischievous grin and a striking resemblance to his mother, 1960s icon Sharmila Tagore, Khanmade his mark on the Bollywood scene in the early 1990s with his roles in Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Yeh Dillagi. However, after the release of those, Khan's acting career went into a lull until he burst back onto the scene in 2001 with his outstanding performance in Dil Chahta Ha. From then his films achieved both critical and commercial success such as 2009's Love Aaj Kal which appealed to India's globally aware younger generation.

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Shah Rukh Khan With a fan base estimated in the billions around the world, this Bollywood hero with his effervescent, boyish charm has been captivating audiences since he burst onto the screen in his 1992 debut in Deewana. Since that breakout role, Khan hasleading roles in several commercially successful films - many of which have earned him critical acclaim - from the mid-nineties hit Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge to 2001's family musical Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and, most currently, My Name Is Khan. Currently he is nominated for IIFA's best performance in a leading role - male for My Name Is Khan. He's only Bollywood star to be asked to present at the Golden Globe Awards, and he will be working with Martin Scorsese in the next Mumbai-based crime thriller Xtrme City co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio - in addition to a slew of Bollywood projects awaiting his signature.

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