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Thursday, 1 July, 1999, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Bollywood star tops the poll
Indian star Amitabh Bachchan topped the poll
Indian star Amitabh Bachchan topped the poll
Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan has been voted the greatest star of stage or screen by BBC News Online users.

Mr Bachchan was voted in by a large margin, pushing Sir Laurence Olivier into second place, followed by Sir Alec Guinness in third.

And in what will perhaps be a surprise to many film and theatre fans, cartoon character Homer Simpson polled in at fifth place, beating Robert De Niro and Marylin Monroe.

Many people in the western world will not have heard of Amitabh Bachchan, 56, but he remains one of Bollywood's biggest stars, having appeared in more than 100 films in three decades. He made his name in the seventies and eighties as an action hero, a swashbuckling star of Hindi films.

He became particularly known in the 1970s for thrillers like Deewar and Zanjeer, and was dubbed India's first 'angry young man'.

He played mainly violent anti-heroes, and was admired by women for his handsome looks and deep voice.

His fans still worship him. When he was seriously injured during the filming of Coolie (1983), thousands of fans kept vigil outside his hospital and millions more prayed for his recovery.

Stint in politics

Amitabh Bachchan announced his retirement more than 10 years ago when, on a wave of public support, he won a parliamentary seat in his home town of Allahabad.

Bollywood star Govinda
Govinda was voted number 10
But his political career did not last and he is making a comeback with films like Lal Badshah (1998) and Mrityudaata (1997).

His placing in the Your Millennium vote as the greatest star of stage or screen, and the placing at number 10 of another Bollywood star, Govinda, is a reflection of the huge popularity of Indian films.

Bombay's film industry is one of the biggest in the world, each year producing more than 1,000 films which are seen in Russia, China, Africa and the Middle East. The UK has a large overseas audience, with Asian cinemas enjoying a revival.

In the eighties, people stayed at home to watch Asian films on video. But last year the film Dil Se was a box office hit, the first Bollywood production to make it into the UK top 10, despite being considered a flop in India.

As an actor, Amitabh Bachchan is having to give way to younger stars and his films are not as big as they once were. But as his success in the Your Millennium vote shows, he remains enormously popular.

See also:

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