When someone says "70s film hero," it's hard not to think of the Angry Young Man right away. Even I, proud holder of a cabinet position in Shashi Pradesh, can plainly see that Amitabh Bachchan has run away with the stardom of that decade, much as I love his frequent co-star and better half. But the more films I see, the more I learn about who else was a big name of the decade - and, more interestingly (at least for me), what values and ideas they represent. Back in 2005, Nina Patel did a great piece on this very topic in EGO Magzine called "Hero: It Takes All Kinds to Make 70s Bollywood Leading Men". "Compared to present day Bollywood, the 70s offered a far larger variety of protagonists played to exquisite perfection by actors who understood that the hero is as much a flawed man as the knight in shining armor." She outlines types with their major representatives: AYM (Big B), bad-ass dude (Feroz Khan), dapper and debonair (Dev Anand), and - hold on to your neckerchief for this one - sensitive lovin' (Shashi).
So read, ponder, and let's discuss our choices for quintessential 70s heroes or hero-types! (No need to stick to four, either.) I haven't seen any Dev Anand movies from the 70s so cannot weigh in on him, but the other three brands resonate well with my film-viewing experiences. I adore that description of Shashi, and it sums up much of what I like about his better-known characters (though it's almost the total opposite of his first big hit in the 60s, Jab Jab Phool Khile). Of course, Shashi played many kinds of characters over the years, even just in mainstream films, but this is an effective evocation of the ultra-Ravi type. How do people like Dharmendra, Shatrughan Sinha, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Rajesh Khanna, Manoj Kumar, and Sanjeev Kumar fit in? And do you think it's true that 70s heroes were a more diverse crew than today's?