"Mass Hero" is a popular term in India, especially down south, which implies an actor who has the versatility to sing, dance, romance, fight, laugh, cry, make the audience laugh and cry, apart from great acting skills. And because of this "mass" appeal, they are idolised by hordes of fans and loved by the media.

I just want to know, whether or not "Mass Hero" is an already acceptable term in the West? If not, what is the equivalent term for "Mass Hero" in American and European countries?

Update: I'd like to clarify that this expression is limited to the scope of the cinematic world in my country and not real-life heroes.

  • 4
    Sort of like Jackie Chan, or what?
    – Ricky
    Jan 7, 2016 at 7:34
  • @Ricky - You could say that! Or someone like DiCaprio or Downey Jr.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 7, 2016 at 9:30
  • In the UK at least, actors might be hero-worshipped but would very rarely be considered heroes, and never simply because they were popular.
    – JHCL
    Jan 7, 2016 at 13:04
  • Also National Hero and National Treasure, or celebrity, or A-lister
    – Ben
    Jan 7, 2016 at 14:12

5 Answers 5

  • Superstar (similarly structured but more on point -- mass=>super and hero=>star)
  • Megastar
  • Icon
  • Triple Threat (refers to one who is an exceptional singer, dancer, and actor)

The term "mass hero" in America and Britain isn't something people say or would readily understand to mean what you say it means.

  • 3
    Super star, Megastar, Hyper star, Power star are some commonly used titles in Indian cinema! But +1 for Triple Threat. I did not know that until now.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 7, 2016 at 9:32
  • 1
    The term popular hero is used, but it usually applies to an amateur, a sort of unintended hero, such as a volunteer who rescues someone. But I don't think that is what is meant by a mass hero from the way it has been described.
    – WS2
    Jan 7, 2016 at 11:17
  • 3
    I for one have never heard any form of "hero" applied to a celebrity/actor unless it's in a sentence like "he's my hero" or "he's a hero to many" never as an actual 'title' like mass hero or popular hero. I'd agree that superstar is the closest meaning.
    – DasBeasto
    Jan 7, 2016 at 16:24
  • @BiscuitBoy: Note that "mega" in this sense is much less common outside India, and "hyper" and "giga" are almost unheard-of in that sense (again, outside India). In the US all three have a technical connotation and might be used for a product name or a technology but rarely/never elsewhere.
    – Charles
    Jan 7, 2016 at 16:51
  • 1
    I definitely think "triple threat" is the closest in meaning - but in the absence of a single English term, one would perhaps have to say that a given performer is "a superstar because they are a triple threat" in order to fully capture the Indian term's implications.
    – recognizer
    Jan 7, 2016 at 19:24

I think I have heard the term used a few times or read it somewhere, but not very often. The adjective multitalented is broadly used to describe such a person who has multiple talents in various entertainment fields. The below example sentence fits in your context.

having several talents or skills: It seems like multitalented entertainer Paul McDermott - actor, singer, writer, TV host and director - has been around forever.

[Collins Online Dictionary]

You could use multi-talented/multitalented actor.


Neither specifically applies to the limited context given that is specific to the performing arts, but Renaissance Man or Polymath are the more general terms used in "Western Culture" for describing one with great versatility.

Polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, "having learned much"): a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.

Renaissance Man : A person with many talents or areas of knowledge

  • 1
    I always thought a Polymath was someone who possessed a great amount of Knowledge across subjects such as arts, science, economics, philosophy etc... I would like to know if any Hollywood stars are referred to as Polymath?
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:15
  • polymath is not workaday English, but you will be hard pressed to find a workaday term to capture what you seek. Jan 8, 2016 at 15:15

As other users have previously stated, the expression mass hero in the west does not carry the same meaning, or connotations that it does in India. In fact, when I first read the question title, I presumed it was a neologism for any of the following: war hero; national hero; the people's hero; or a term for the myriad of comic-book superheroes that populate the silver screen.

Mass hero (?) enter image description here

A superhero is usually a fictional character with extraordinary abilities or powers, or a heroic person who has performed a very brave deed in real life, e.g. Police ​officers are the ​real superheroes.

On the other hand, a movie actor who sings, dances, plays a musical instrument, and knocks the audience's socks off whenever they appear on screen or stage, would rarely be called a hero; Benjamin Harman's triple-threat and Rathony's multitalented are idiomatic, and more appropriate expressions to use instead. There is however a third alternative:

Examples from the net

  • Bruce Forsyth is 80 - a man who can tell jokes, sing, dance, compere and act. But is the all-round entertainer a dying breed?
  • Sammy Davis Jr. is almost certainly in the running of the greatest all around entertainer of all time.
  • Most All-Round Talented Actors Ever (IMDb)
  • His intense commitment to work—his desire to develop as an all-round actor and his focused determination to grow as a film star
  • Wow! Thanks Mari-Lou A. Such clarity justifies your position as a top ranked ELU user. I should have clarified that this expression is limited to the scope of the cinematic world and not real-life heroes. If I were to use "mass-hero" to a Britisher or American, I now know why they will have that confused look on their face! I especially liked Triple Threat from Benjamin and I have accepted it as an answer. +1 for your lucid explanation. Consider it a +10 from me, figuratively! :)
    – BiscuitBoy
    Jan 11, 2016 at 12:42
  • @BiscuitBoy I understood that, I was only explaining what the term "mass hero" (without context) might mean for an English speaking person. Some others have even suggested a sandwich, a hero sandwich is a very common snack in the US. My post was an attempt to explain why the InEng term "mass hero" wouldn't work in the US, Australia, UK etc..
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 11, 2016 at 12:52

You might consider 'virtuoso', a borrowing from Italian that names the equivalent of what is called a 'mass hero' in India:

virtuoso, n. and adj.
b. A musician, or other artist or performer, who is highly accomplished, esp. one who exhibits exceptional technical skill. Now the usual sense.

["virtuoso, n. and adj.". OED Online. December 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/223848?redirectedFrom=virtuoso (accessed January 07, 2016).]

I fear using 'mass hero' in the US might occasion unkind ridicule based on deliberate misconstrual wherein a 'mass hero' would become

  • a large sandwich;
  • a person with large or regular bowel movements.
  • 6
    I feel like this isn't accurate; someone is usually a virtuoso at a specific thing; OP's term is for someone good at many things.
    – Daenyth
    Jan 7, 2016 at 14:29
  • @Daenyth, all the skills listed by the OP are acting skills...or at least traditionally they are acting skills: "sing, dance, romance, fight, laugh, cry, make the audience laugh and cry". Those aren't the only acting skills, of course.
    – JEL
    Jan 7, 2016 at 18:23
  • I don't think most people would consider singing and dancing to be acting skills; people can be good at any of them without the rest.
    – Daenyth
    Jan 7, 2016 at 20:48
  • @Daenyth, aside from every other salient argument, the OP asks for a word describing an "actor" with the mentioned skills. Downey, DiCaprio and Chan (I hesitate with that last) are actors. They sing and dance. It's part of acting, whether or not you think you know what most people would consider acting.
    – JEL
    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:12
  • Virtuoso is typically not used as a bare epithet; you typically decorate it with the field of excellence - a virtuoso pianist; a violin virtuoso; a virtuoso vaudevillian. When using "virtuoso" by itself, the field of discussion is typically provided by the surrounding statements within the conversation, not a marker that you are referring to their "dynamicism." Jan 8, 2016 at 15:18

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