1. Rajkumar: Called as Amitabh Bachchan of south indian cinema, Dr. Rajkumar is perhaps the greatest actor of Kannada film industry. Born on 24th April 1928, he has actually lifted the entire Kannada film industry. He has started his career in 1954 with Kannada film Bedara Kannappa. He has won Dadasaheb Falke award, the greatest award in Indian cinema, in 1995. He is ten time winner of Filmfare South award in Best Actor category (a record sharing with Kamal Hassan and Mammootty), 11 Karnatka State Film awards and also been awarded as Padma Bhushan by government of India in 1983.
2. Shivaji Ganesan: Born on 1st October 1928, he is one of the most respectable artist of south indian cinema. Started his career in 1952 with a Tamil film Paraashakti, he has acted in over 300 films in various languages. He won two National Film awards, three Filmfare South awards and other several awards. He was the winner of Dadasaheb Falke award in 1997 and also awarded as Padma Bhushan by government of India in 1984.
3. Rajinikanth: Undoubtedly he is the greatest superstar of south film industry. Born on 12th December 1950, he has started his career in 1975 with Tamil film Apoorva Raagangal. He has worked in over 150 films in various language and he is also very popular in Bollywood. He has been paid 26 crore for his film Shivaji in 2007 and became the 2nd highest paid actor in Asia after Jackie Chan. In south india, he is actually the guarantee for super hit movies. He has won several awards including one Filmfare South award, ten Tamil Nadu State Film awards and many more. He has also awarded Padma Bhushan by government of India in 2000.
4. Chiranjeevi: Born on 22nd August 1955, he is the biggest Telugu actor and popularly known as Mega Star in Telugu cinema. He made his acting debut in 1978 through a Telugu movie Punadhirallu. He won nine Filmfare South awards, four Nandi awards and many more. He has been awarded as Padma Bhushan by government of India in 2006. Apart from his films, he is also very active in politics.
5. Kamal Hassan: If you are considering innovative and out of the box cinema, Kamal is all about the same and perhaps the most versatile actor in south. Born on 7th November 1954, he has started his career in 1959 in Tamil film Kalathur Kannamma as child actor. Recently he played ten different characters in his film Dashavataram. His awards list is long with four National Film awards, two Filmfare awards, 17 Filmfare South awards (more than any other actor), three Nandi awards, nine Tamil Nadu State Film awards and many more. He has also been awarded as Padm Shri by government of Indian in 1990.
6. Mohanlal: Born on 21th May 1960, Mohanlal has started his career in 1978 with Malayalam film Thiranottam but that film was never released. He has acted in over 300 films in various languages but in Malayalam film industry, he is next to nobody. He has won several awards including four National Film awards, nine Kerala State Film awards, nine Filmfare South awards and more. He has also awarded as Padma Shri by government of India in 2001.
7. Mammootty: A leading actor from Malayalam cinema, Mammootty is born on 7th September 1951. Started his career in 1971 in a Malayalam film Anubhavangal Paalichakal, he has acted in over 360 movies in various languages. He has won three National Film awards (all are for best actor category which is a record share with Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Hassan), seven Kerala State Film awards, 11 Filmfare South awards and more. He has also awarded with Padmshri by government of India in 1998.
8. Vishnuvardhan: After Rajkumar if anyone has contributed the most in Kannada film industry, that is Dr. Vishnuvardhana without any doubt. Started his career in 1972 with a Kannada film Vamshavruksha, he has acted in 220 films out of which 200 are in Kannada language. He won 8 Filmfare South awards (seven are for best actor), seven Karnataka State Film awards and several other awards.
9. Nagarjuna: Another popular film star from Telugu film industry, Nagarjuna was born on 29th August 1959. He has started his career in 1967 with a Telugu film Sudigundalu as child artist. He has acted in over 80 films in various languages and he is also very popular in Bollywood. He has won two National Film awards, six Nandi awards and three Filmfare South awards.
10. Venkatesh: Born on 13th December 1960, Venkatesh is one of the lead actors in Telugu cinema. Started his career in 1971 with Telugu film Prem Nagar, he has acted in over 70 films in various languages. He has also appeared in several Bollywood movies and been appreciated for his performance in K. Murali Mohan Rao's Anari. He won seven Nandi awards and four Filmfare South awards.