Talented, respected, and influential are words that describe these ten best South Indian actors. Did you know that India is the world’s largest film producer? South Indian cinema gained prominence in the 1940's, with a New Wave of films from the 1950's through the 1970s; not to mention the hugely popular Indian films of today. Here is an overview of some of the actors in those films, ten of the very best South Indian actors of all time.

  1. Ali. Ali is a famous South Indian actor known by his simple three-letter name. His acting roles include hundreds of movies in the Bollywood, Tamil, and Teluga film industries. An actor since childhood, Ali later embarked on a second career as a comedian.

  2. Giri Babu. Giri Babu, is another South Indian actor with hundreds of films to his credit. The 2008 Teluga movie “Krishna” was one of his most recent films. Babu also directed a number of Teluga movies through the years.

  3. Bhanu Chander. Bhanu Chander, also known as Bhanuchander, usually plays the role of hero in his movies. The South Indian actor (age undetermined) primarily stars in Tamil and Teluga movies. The 2010 movie “Manasaara” was Chander’s most recent film.

  4. Sivaji Ganesan. Sivaji Ganesan was a popular South Indian stage and film actor, and one of the most respected figures in Indian cinema. Known as the “Marlon Brando of South Indian cinema,” Ganesan received an award from India’s president in the late 1990's. He was 72 when he died in 2001.

  5. Mansoor Ali Khan. Mansoor Ali Khan is a South Indian actor best known for his Tamil films. His amusing accent makes him a favorite for playing comedic villains. “Muthu” and “Padayappa,” produced in the 1990s, are Khan’s best-known movies.

  6. Sai Kumar. Sai Kumar is another popular South Indian performing artist. The film actor and dubbing expert is best known in the Kannada, Tamil, and Teluga film industries, where he is often typecast as a police officer or political figure.

  7. Chittor V. Nagaiah. Chittor V. Nagaiah was a famous actor, director, producer, composer, and playback singer for Teluga films. He was the first South Indian actor to win a Padma Sri, the highest civilian award in the Republic of India. Nagaiah was 69 when he died in 1973.

  8. Peketi Sivaram. Peketi Sivaram was a famous South Indian actor and director. He worked mostly in Tamil, Teluga, and Kannada films. The 1950's hit “Devdas” was his best-known movie. Sivaram was 88 when he died in 2006.

  9. Suman. Suman, is another great South Indian actor. He often played the romantic hero or action hero in Tamil, Teluga, and Malayalam movies during the 1980's. In addition to acting, Suman is involved in martial arts, Indian politics, and social causes.

  10. Vijayakumar. Vijayakumar is a South Indian actor who works mostly in Tamil cinema. He has also starred in Bollywood and Teluga movies. Vijayakumar’s first major role was in the 1970's Tamil film “Aval Oru Thodharkadai,” translated “She’s A Never Ending Story.”