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Bollywood’s 10 Biggest Legends
danish | February 16, 2012, 3:33 PM | 51 comments | 2,568 views


here i am including only those who have been clear number ones in the 100 year history of bollywood in their respective fields. in case there are some who are at the equal level i have included them at the same rank. as always i have only considred boxoofice records / commercial acheivements, as they reflects public endorsements through ticket/album sales and not given any weighatge to awards/perceptions etc. i am not giving any career details of these great legends as they are too famous and everyone (well almost) knows everything (well almost) about them. rest can always google. i am just giving the rank and the reason for their inclusion. off course there are more actors in the list as they get the most direct endorsement from the paying public.

10 meena kumaari/asha bhonsale . they have to share a spot becoz there are many names in this countdown. but that does not mean they were talents less extraordinary or success stories less earth shattering. one was an actor who drew people, especially women, in hordes to the theaters, the other a songstress who sang melodious number after number over a period of 60 years.  asha had no human competition (lata was divine) in bollywood, not till date. And meena kumaari remians the most successfull heroine ever with the largest number of female dominated movies, proving her success was all her own.

9. naushad/sd burman/shankar jaikishen/laxmi pyaare//rd burman/ kalyanji ananndji- these 6 music directors have hundreds of hit songs and tens of hit albums each and all were active for almost a quarter of a century. this is not to underestimate the other stalwart talents like op naiyar, madan mohan, salil chaudhari, jaidev, annu malik, himesh reshamiya etc but the sheer scale of public endorsement that these 6 got, has been unmatched.

8. kishore kumar /mohamad rafi – some wud say rafi, others wud say kishore but the most popular male singer will have to be from one of these two on the basis of hits songs itself. with all due respects to sonu, shreya, sunidhi chauhan, shaan, mohit, or even talat, mukesh, geeta dutt. they are all great talents, rafi and kishore are legends.

7. mehboob khan- now the guy directed aurat, behen, ek hi raasta, humaayun, anmol ghadi, andaz, aan, amar, and mother india. do you need any other reason. and look at the prolificity. 26 movies in 26 years. still such high strike rate.

6. amitabh bachchan- he was awhirlwind between 1973-1983, the likes of which was never seen before and has not been seen hence. many consider him the most succesful male star of bollywood though he had the advantage of being active in the most golden phase commercially. still he remains one of the three biggest male stars of bollywood ever. and the first one to be referred as a legend.

5. raj kapoor- the greatest commercial director of bollywood ever. aag, barsaat, awaara, shree 420, sangam, bobby, prem rog, raam teri ganga maili. these are reasons enuff.

4. salman khan – in terms of footfalls and PPP (percentage of patronizing population) he may tie with amitabh bachchan but in terms of scale of his hits, longevity, domionation of years (89, 91, 94, 99, 2005, 2010, 2011) he is ahead. a real legend with a magical off screen personality that has had 3 generations enthralled. and his regin continues unlike all others in this list whose entire career is being evaluated. in fact five years later he may deserve to move up.

3. hema malini- no heroine has had more hits than her. in fact no hero has had more hits than her either. among the male stars there is a tie between 3 for the top slot but among females no one comes anywhere near her. a clear legend if ever there was one.
2. dilip kumar – the guy taught acting to bollywood and then ruled it for 3 decades, remaining active for 55 years. till date almost all actors cite him as their favourite and so do all of those who have watched his films. and he has had some of the biggest hits ever including mughal e azam. a great combination of talent and success with almost zero compromise on quality for atleast 25 of those 30 years. whopping 8 biggest hit of the year over a period of 55 years

1. lata mageshkar – there was not, nor will there ever be another lata magsehskar. she is the ultimate diva as far as crooning glory is concerned with sister asha far behind her despite being the closest rival. lata’s successes are not in tens or hundreds, they are almost in thousands.  the gap between her 1st recording and her last is close to 70 years. how else do you define a legend?

 

 

 

 

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51 COMMENTS
  1. Ank

    Great list…except salman…!
    Salman is my favourite actor but there is no way salman is ahead from amitabh…but yeah after few years he will be…yeh post do ya teen saal baad aata toh jaroor potw hota.

  2. danish

    @ank – except in number of hits 9which amitabh ahs more, everything frm below average to atbb) salman has zoomed ahead on every other scale as i pointed out. in any case all point of views are welcome.

  3. Fearlesssoul

    My list from your above given choices are as follows:
    Lata>Dilip>Amitabh>Salman>mohd rafi/kishore>all music directors mentioned>ashabhonsle/meena kumari>mehboob khan>hema malini>raj kapoor

  4. Alfa.one

    Except Salman khan and Hema Malini the list is OK.

  5. ragingbull

    Amitabh
    Sanjeev
    Dilip
    Raj Kapoor
    Mehboob Khan
    Dharam
    Pancham
    Kishore
    Lata
    Madhuri

  6. ranjit

    He He..=))…salman khan is a legend…omg this is unbearable..

  7. prg

    dont agree with Salman and Hema in the list…. also AB wud be ahead of Dilip in my list

  8. rogerfederer

    this is the best. Dilip>rafi>lata>mehboob>minakumari>nargis>amitabh) nausad and after 2-3 years salman ll be included in this list.

  9. suprabh

    ” dilip kumar – the guy taught acting to bollywood and then ruled it for 3 decades”

    over acting bhi sikha dii

  10. TanqeedNigaar

    dont agree on salman. where is dharmender, madhuri, amjad khan,

  11. Gorilla

    Late
    Amitabh
    Dilip
    Raj Kapoor
    DevAnand
    Madhubala
    Madhuri Dixit
    R D Burman
    Asha Bhonsle
    Md Rafi
    Ashok Kumar
    K L Sehgal
    Aamir Khan
    Dharmendra

  12. Gorilla

    Lata
    Amitabh
    Dilip
    Raj Kapoor
    DevAnand
    Madhubala
    Madhuri Dixit
    R D Burman
    Asha Bhonsle
    Md Rafi
    Ashok Kumar
    K L Sehgal
    Aamir Khan
    Dharmendra
    Shahrukh

  13. rudresh

    Lata>>>>>>Amitabh>Dilip>…………

    In heroine I will put Sri only as she was complete package

  14. Action

    Uday bhai kaha hai?Himesh bhai bhi nahin hai.Sajid-Wajid must have been there along with Salman because they are also responsible for the footfalls of his films.MAMK ki footfall kitni hogi?agar ek aadmi ke 3 legs bhi gine to bhi GTGH se kam hi honge.hehehe……….

  15. ady_koolz

    Salman is not a legend and Amitabh should be in Top 3 , Apart from that list is very good ….

  16. TERA BAAP

    I hope the author of this post is not serious and this is written in a moment of intoxication or sleep/oxygen deprivation.
    On a serious note, it is hard to come up with ten names and include singers,music directors, directors and actors.
    I would include Dilip,Amitabh,Raj Kapoor,Guru Dutt,Lata, Kishore,Asha,Salim-Javed,Meena Kumari and RD.
    HONORARY MENTION- Naushad,LP,SRK,Salman,Aamir,Anand Bakshi,Hema,Madhuri,Ashok Kumar,Balraj Sahani,Ramesh Sippy,Manmohan Desai,Sridevi,Dev Anand,Mehmood.

  17. danish

    @fearlessssoul – and why wud u change the order? especially putting the biggest ever bollywood director at the bottom?

    @alfa.one – wud u cite reasons for objecting to salman and hema, considering my criterion is ‘democratic endorsement by ticket buying public.

    @ragingbull – much as i like sanjeev kumar, how many tickets he sold.

    @ranjeet – filmon mein bina baat pata hai na kaun hansta hai?

    @prg – basis for salman hema objection and amitabh elevation?

    @rogerfederer – but ur list is not representative of all (most!) important departments.

  18. danish

    @tanqeednigaar- reasons for disagreeing on salman? also there are top 3 stars in the list already so dharmendra cud not be incorporated as he ties with sharukh for spot 4/5. amjad khan had avery limited career. and madhuri se pehle to nargis and vyjyantimala aa jaayengi.

    @gorilla – again not representative of all major departments,

    @rudresh – sridevi lags behind in public enorsement. hardly any top hits of the year.

    @action – aap out of action hi achchhe lagte ho.

    @adykoolz – reason?//

    @tera baap – the author is a tea totaller. and in any case most of ur list is same as mine. the names that are not there (balraj sahini etc) are not there becoz of lack of public endorsent factor.

    1. suprabh

      Danish,

      tea totaller???

      sirf Tea peete hain aap ? cigarette aur daaru se kya dushmani hai?

      1. Yakuza

        cigarette and Daaru ke footfalls tea se kam hain .. isliye kuch log sirf tea pite hain and tea is biggest hit of year … so its legend.

        I am sure ye log toilet bhi footfall dekh ke hi jaate honge .. chahe kitni bhi zor se lagi ho .. jab tak foot pe fall na ho jaye .. andar nahi ghusenge .. :)

  19. kjt

    instead of putting only Salman, all three Khans should have been there. You may like one and hate another one, but one thing everyone should accept that disastarous 80s’ these 3 people made people to go back to theaters. Salman for his easy charm, SRK reaching to Indian diaspora and Aamir for single-handedly making so many changes in the way movies are made.

  20. ranjit

    Danish bhai i am also fond of Salman’s films but considering him as legend is really too much.. even salman will also be astonished :P..and look at you,you have ranked him 4……and have you really used this line for him?.”a real legend with a magical off screen personality that has had 3 generations enthralled”..aisa joke sunke to Rajnikanth bhi taali mar de..:P

  21. danish

    @suprabh – chai bhi nahin peeta main.

    kyonki cigarette, daru aur chai peene se aadmi intellectual ban jaata hai.

    @yakuza – democeacy kis chidiya ka naam hai jaante ho zameendaar babu?

    @kjt – footfalls for all 3 khans are not similar.

    @ranjeet – wish u cited the basis of ur argument. i mean isnt he the most ‘endorsed’ star of the last 23 years?

  22. kjt

    @Danish, it’s not only the question of footfall. You have to look beyond that. Satyajit Ray’s movies had miniscule footfall compare to even AB Jr, but you can’t compare their movies.
    Salman did provide very good entertainment (according to 90s’ standard) though later on he made few dudes, but overall is someone fun to watch. But just making him a legend is bit too much, IMO.

  23. Phoenix

    Tera Baap’s comment is a surprise. No Abhishek Bachchan even in honorary mention!!! Looks like rajen is finally free Sattu’s from iron hold.

  24. Phoenix

    This post reminds me so much about Sattu days of NG.

    I wonder whats the thought process behind this post. It could be one or two or all of the following…

    1. Make a seemingly nostalgic and knowledgable post, add controversy in the form Salman Khan, and thereby make it to post of the week.

    2. Promote Salman Khan’s well fare, well being, change the perceptions about his stardom etc through a cleverly written tribute to forgotten legends (i.e the side act is done really worthy legends…)

    3. Truthiness overdrive, arriving out of extreme confusion between opinion and facts…

  25. Alfa.one

    Salman i ko legends sunkar saare legends sharma jayenge aur kahenge hamara naam hata do is list se. Raha sawal footfall ya collections ka, all these are bloody bullshit arguments when it comes to good films.

  26. dwnpiyush

    I will not include Salman Khan in the list. YET. Or for that matter any current star. Reason- have mentioned in Milind’s thread.

    But people who are opposing his inclusion saying that he is not worthy- likh lo- your kids and grandchildren will include him in all such lists if they too get the bollywood keeda that you have.

  27. Jasp the Wasp

    Don’t understand how one list can speak of legends in entirely different departments, but still good list. But… HUH? Salman Khan? In what way is he a legend? From which angle can that guy be compared to amitabh/dilip. No seriously, THE Dilip Kumar being compared to Salman is just too much even as a bit of fanboyism. Kya hi yaar, did you write Salman’s name just to get more hits in your post? There is NO WAY he can be included in this list.

  28. danish

    @kjt – same response as yakuza above.

    “democracy kis chidiya ka naam hai jaante ho zameendaar babu”.

    it may be “a bit too much” to include salman in the list ‘IYO’ But india has 121 cr ppl and ur opinion is just one of them. all the opinions need to be counted and for that footfall is the best method, especially when counted over a period of 25 years.

    and satyajit ray is my favourite filmmaker too but i am not GOD but just one of those 121 cr ppl so i cant declare him the ‘best’ or the ‘greatest’

    @phoenix – or as the 4th option, the purpose of this post cud be simply to emphasize the fact that in a democracy (which by far is the best system unless u belive in Nietzsche’s concept of ‘overman’ . and if u do u must realize that I am the ‘overman’ here) that in democracy the collective will of ppl, as reflected in numbers, collected in a scientific manner is the ultimate truth.

    @alfa.one – same democarcy walla jawaab aapke liye bhi.

    @swnpiyush – and if salman remains active for another 5 years, he may end up at number 3 in any list prepared by suprabh’s grandchildren as he achieves rajnikant like stature. only beating lata mangeshkar’s achievements wud be difficult for him. and dilip kumar wud always have the ‘early bird’ advantage.

    @jaspthewasp- i have given salman’s name on the basis of the NUMBER of tickets he has sold over the NUMBER of years for the NUMBER of movies, scoring the NUMBER of biggest hits of the year that he has given, the NUMBER of biggest hits of the decade he has given and the NUMBER of hits on the top 5 hits page and the NUMBER of….. well i hope the caps lock did the trick.

    @aryan29- inn sabko banna intellectual hai aur dimaagh ek hadd ke baad ja ke kaam karna band kar deta hai. they are all stuck with their parochial middle class sensibilties.

  29. Samwal/ VED-Z

    I dont know what is people’s parameter of making a star or celeberity as a legend.

    Is it alaways the one who should be old and popluar which make others to give us respect whenever we put their name in our comment.
    Should it only be the old names who have given their 30-40 years to industry and and 10 years old in industry cant be
    Is it one whose name doesnt makes few stereotyple thinkers laugh in the list of legends.
    Is it one who is more known to be a big one than the actual one who deserves to be called as big one.
    Is it just the achievemnt or a Total of Quality + Talent + Achievement.

    I dont know should we give the names who has achieved it by sam dham dand bhed and more of Luck factor than effort or we should give the names of those people who possesses complete era of quality,talent and achievement but I know who
    actualy deserves to be called as a LEGEND. Though discussion of above is very long and deep but the names which I would prefer according to my broad thinking which dont have invalid barriers

    Lata Mangeshkar (Recognized & Deserving)
    Dilip Kumar (Recognized & Deserving)
    Mohammad Rafi (Recognized & Deserving)
    Raj Kapoor (Recognized & Deserving)
    Dev Anand (Recognized & Deserving)
    Ashok Kumar (Deserving)
    Madhu Bala (Recognized & Deserving)
    Sanjeev kumar (Deserving)
    Kishore Kumar (Recognized & Deserving)
    Mehmood (Deserving)
    Rajesh Khanna (Recognized)
    Amitabh Bachchan (Recognized & Deserving)
    Dharmendra (Deserving)
    RD Burman (Recognized & Deserving)
    Ghulam Ali (Recognized & Deserving)
    KL Sehgal (Recognized & Deserving)
    Amzad Khan (Deserving)
    Amrish Puri (Deserving)
    Sridevi (Deserving)
    Aamir Hussain Khan (Recognized & Deserving)
    Shahrukh Khan (Recognized & Deserving)
    Akshay Kumar (Deserving)
    Salman Khan (Recognized)
    Jatin Lalit (Deserving)
    Madhuri Dixit (Recognized)
    Kajol (Deserving)
    Yash Chopra (Recognized)
    Kumar Sanu (Deserving)
    Paresh Rawal (Deserving)
    Nasir-ud-din Shah (Deserving)
    Raj Kumar Hirani (Deserving)
    Priyadarshan (Deserving)
    AR Rehman (Recognized)
    Kader Khan (Deserving)
    Javed Akhtar (Deserving)

    mihgt be missing few or many especialy those who are related to the fields of bollywood unknown to me.

    And if we have to take only stereotype/typical mentality then only
    Lata Mangeshkar
    M Rafi
    Dilip Kumar
    Amitabh bachchan
    Kishore Kumar
    Ar rehman

  30. therealdon99

    Danish bhai i seriousally think you need a mental checkup!!

    Salman Khan ahead of Amitabh in terms of legendary status????
    not only that Salman Khan ahead of Kishore Kumar and Mohd Rafi???? lol hahahaha. You sure have lost it.

    This has to be the biggest joke i have ever heard.

  31. therealdon99

    The following are legends. In no particular order.

    Lata
    Dilip
    Amitabh
    Mohd Rafi
    Kishore
    Dev Anand
    Raj Kapoor
    Madhubala
    Nargis
    RD Burman

    There is no star from the current generation that will be in the top20. The only star today that maybe one day get legendary status will be srk. (i am not a fan of srk) There will be 100s of salman khans that will be come and go. calling him a legend is like insulting the word legend! Danish i serioually think you need a mental checkup if you think he is legend.

  32. therealdon99

    Danish talks of salman khans hits. Last time i counted he has only 11!!
    True hits according to komal natha who uses the most strict methodolgy.
    Salman biggest hit. hum aapke hain kaun was a Madhuri film! lol (herione orientated movie!

    Danish 11 hit movies only? and he is a legend? i willrecommend some mental hospitals if you need advice which to enter.

    BLOCKBUSTER
    Maine Pyar Kiya
    Hum Aapke Hain Kaun

    SUPER-DUPER-HIT
    Karan Arjun

    SUPERHIT
    Saajan
    Sanam Bewafa
    Hum Saath Saath Hain
    No Entry
    Dabangg

    HIT
    Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya
    Judwaa
    Partner

  33. therealdon99

    Full salman khan HIT list according to komal natha! 11 hits or above.

    BLOCKBUSTER
    Maine Pyar Kiya
    Hum Aapke Hain Kaun

    SUPER-DUPER-HIT
    Karan Arjun

    SUPERHIT
    Saajan
    Sanam Bewafa
    Hum Saath Saath Hain
    No Entry
    Dabangg

    HIT
    Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya
    Judwaa
    Partner

    SEMI HIT
    Bandhan
    Jeet
    Biwi No 1
    Baghban

    OVERFLOW
    Deewana Mastana
    Jab Pyar Kissi Se Hota Hai
    Baaghi
    Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya
    Tere Naam
    Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
    Sirf Tum

    COMMISSION EARNER
    Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
    Chori Chori Chupke Chupke
    Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega
    Lucky No Time For Love
    Wanted

  34. medicine

    saying hahk is maduri is like saying ddlg is kajol bcos by ur logic ddlg and kkhh is heroine movie

  35. aryan29

    @therealdon99 Its his opinion (He has even provided a reason for that) so either you agree with it or you don’t its simple and whatever you say but write it down Salman Khan will definitely be a legend in the coming years infact all 3 khans will be considered as Legends in future..and you have only made a fool of yourself ( Need Mental check up ;) ) by making statements such as that There will be 100s of salman khans dude Salman Khan is one and only one .Biggest of Superstar of Bollywood Nobody could ever be another Salman Khan or for that matter even SRK or Aamir as i said not today but in future all 3 will definitely be called as Legends..Just wait and watch

    Anyways the list which you have provided does not include Salman’s recent SUPERHIT Bodyguard and SEMHIT Ready.
    http://www.koimoi.com/box-office/salman-khan-s-bodyguard-biggest-hit-83-percent-bollywood-films-flopped-in-2011/ \
    so its 13 and not 11 Hits

    And for your kind information if according to you its about Verdicts of Komal Nahta then SRK has less number(12 or 13) of HITS than Salman or at max. equal to Salman :D

  36. Ihab

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  37. danish

    @samwal/vedz – the criterion is clearly stated. people who have sold maximum number of tickets over the years. i have not been swayed by nostalgia (ppl mentioning dev anand and nargis etc with muche fewer footalls) not the current craze ( ppl mentioning current stars) nor beauty/sex appeal (ppl mentioning madhuri/madhubala. do u even know madhubala was a highly critcized actress until mughal e aazma which cud be subjective but so many of her films wud flop that she was called ‘jinxed) class bias (ppl mentioning aamir/sharukh ignoring salman, ppl mentiong rd burman ignoring the other 5 equally succesful music directors) nor favouritism (ppl simply mentioning their favourites. its simply on the basis of footfalls taken from single source boxofficeindia.

    and no, i have not brought in any subjective parameteres like ‘quality’, ‘talent etc. nor i have given my ‘opinion’ on deserving/recognized. its all about numbers. any one who has a bias wud obviously want to overturn public verdict.

    @thereeldon99- thanx for ur concern about my mental health. however i must clarify that salman is ahead of amitabh becoz he has given more biggest hits of the year, has been successful for a longer duration, more atbbs etc. and salman is ahead of kishore/rafi becoz in bollywood its the actors who are always given more weitage and pull ppl to theatres. however if u notice since lata mangeshkar is so clearly ahead of her peers, i have put her on number 1.

    as for taking boxofficeindia data instead of komal the reason is that komal is stuck in time warp and his method does not factor in the changes in business dynamics post home video and satellite television and hence his system is very unfair on movies that came after 1981, especially those after 1992 (satellite invasion) for instance he factors in low theatrical returns as compared to earlier movies but does he factor in high satellite prices??? no!.

    @medicine – and ra1 was a priyanka movie (she appeared in the video game)

    @aryan29 – no aryan i have not given my opinion at all. i have just given results based on numbers. (of hits, ticket sold, footfall, albums sold, television ratings etc. offcourse i have not published theme here but i wish ppl questioned that instead of just giving their ‘opinion’.

    @suprabh – badi hansi aa rahi hai???

  38. SV

    Danish, Isnt salman ahead of dilip kumar?
    Salman has more hits than dilip kumar.
    Salman has sold more tickets than dilip kumar.
    Salman has more ATBBs than dilip kumar.

    How is dilip kumar ahead of salman?

    the guy taught acting to bollywood and then ruled it for 3 decades
    which 3 deacdes danish?

  39. danish

    @SV – though salman has had a few more hits than dilip kumar and a few less than amitabh bachchan, i have not used ‘number of hits’ as the only measure of popularity.

    dilip kumar has equal number of top hits of the year and more solo hero top hits of the yer than salman khan, as of now. this could change in the future.

    dilip kumar’s hit flop ratio is much much ahead of salman. off course amitabh and sharukh’s hit flop ratio is also better than salman but the gap is not that much. the only other person with dilip kumar type hit flop ratio is aamir but he falls way behind on other scales (number of hits, top hits, top hit of the year, atbbs etc)

    above all dilip kumar’s PPP (percentage of patronising population) calculated on the basis of his footfall and the population of the country at that time is much much higher than salman. however on this scale amitabh wud be number one. but then he had the advantage of working during the most golden phase commercially of bollywood when the cinema going population of the country was highest in any point in time before video piracy. salman had the disadvantage of piracy and tv, dilip kumar had the disadvantage of low cinema going population.

    that is why the significance of PP for amitabh goes down.

  40. SV

    Danish,Dilip Kumar has no hits in the 1960s after Gunga jamuna in 1961 exept Ram aur Shyam in 1967.He has only flops till 1961-1967 and no hits from 1967-1976.
    His films from 1967-1976 all flopped exept one.
    So he didnt rule in the 1960s.Infact Dilip Kumar wouldnt even be in the top 4 stars of the 1960s.
    Salman from 1989-2011 did much better than Dilip Kumar from 1948-1967.

  41. suprabh

    Salman is much better actor than Dilip Kumar because he has more hits than Dilip.

    so Bollywood quickly unlearned whatever Dilip taught them and started following Salman’s teching because of footfalls. We can easily concur Dilip was made totally insignificant by Amitabh(hits and footfalls) and then made obsolete by Salman..which reminds me Who is Dilip Kumar?

  42. Yakuza

    Repeating this comment at correct place :

    @Danish .. I already asked you before .. ye 40-40 kya laga rakha hai ?? Are you talking about clean hits only ?? Or below average to ATBB ??

    I wonder even if you count anything ? I don’t read or count BOI bogus data .. but i am sure if you count honestly all below average to ATBB movies from 1969-2011 .. There will be nothing less than 70 Below average to ATBB movies of Amitabh .. out of which 57-60 will be from 1969-1992 period .. And this when you take data from Anti bachchan site like BOI .. else if you take from existing source then(filminformation or Trade guide) .. story will be altogether different and huge.

    PS : I have not counted anything from BOI, but expecting from you to come up with numbers which at least correct, even it is from atrocious source.

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