South Indian actors dominate IMDb's top stars of 2022 list, as Dhanush and Ram Charan lead

The compilation features celebrities who've stood out through their hit films

Indian actor Dhanush is the most popular Indian star of 2022, according to IMDb.  AFP
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Long relegated to regional lists as more popular Hindi films from Bollywood dominated box offices, movies from South India in 2022 proved they were no longer content only being on the fringes.

Some of the year's highest-grossing films have come from the south, dwarfing big-budget Bollywood productions in terms of collections, as Hindi films struggled to draw audiences.

Kannada action film, KGF: Chapter 2, leads the pack having raked in more than 12.5 billion rupees ($151.7 million) at the global box office. A sequel to the 2018 hit KGF: Chapter 1, the film stars South Indian actor Yash in the lead, and also features a number of Bollywood actors including Sanjay Dutt and Raveena Tandon. It is now the highest-grossing Kannada film in history, as well as the third highest-grossing Indian film of all time.

Telugu epic RRR is a close second this year, directed by S S Rajamouli, whose 2015 film Baahubali: The Beginning is widely credited with kick-starting the wide appeal South Indian films now enjoy across multilingual India.

It's no surprise then that in movie database IMDb's 2022 list of top Indian stars, actors from the south of the country dominate. Aside from Bollywood star Alia Bhatt, who featured in four big hits this year including RRR, the Top 10 list is dominated by non Hindi-speaking actors.

Tamil star Dhanush, who made his big Hollywood debut with The Gray Man this year, leads the pack. A known face in Bollywood as well, Dhanush delivered three major hits, all in Tamil — the romantic comedy Thiruchitrambalam, action film Maaran and the horror thriller Naane Varuven.

Bhatt, who was honoured with Time magazine's Impact Awards in October, is at No 2, having delivered four consecutive hits: Gangubai Kathiawadi, RRR, Darlings and Brahmastra Part One: Shiva, which also features her husband Ranbir Kapoor. Brahmastra Part One: Shiva is also the highest-grossing Hindi film of the year, despite having received mixed reviews.

Alia Bhat delivered four consecutive hits this year. AFP

Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who made her return to films after four years, is at No 3, but is credited for her Tamil-language film Ponniyin Selvan: Part I. Even with only one film, Rai Bachchan managed to stay in the headlines, making news with her show-stopping looks at the Cannes film festival.

Hrithik Roshan, whose Abu Dhabi-shot Vikram Vedha was one of the year's most acclaimed Hindi films, and Kiara Advani, who starred two hits — Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 and Jugjugg Jeeyo — are the only other Bollywood stars on the list, coming in at No 6 and No 7 respectively.

The rest of the list is made up of South Indian actors — RRR star Ram Charan is at No 4, while actress Samantha Ruth Prabhu, who predominantly works in Telugu and Tamil films, is at No 5.

N T Rama Rao Jr, who also stars in RRR, is at No 8, while Telugu actor Allu Arjun at No 9 and KGF: Chapter 2 star Yash at No 10 round up the list.

IMDb's top 10 Indian stars of 2022

1. Dhanush

2. Alia Bhatt

3. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

4. Ram Charan

5. Samantha Ruth Prabhu

6. Hrithik Roshan

7. Kiara Advani

8. N T Rama Rao Jr

9. Allu Arjun

10. Yash

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Updated: December 21, 2022, 5:00 AM