Remaining unperturbed to adversaries and defying all odds, Amitabh Bachchan has been ruling the film industry for over four decades and he has reasons to feel proud in celebrating his birth anniversary today (Friday).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIG B!!! Amitabh’s  indomitable spirit , the way he has refused to let his failures get in the way of his passion for acting, makes Mr. Bachchan a role model not just for the Film fraternity, but for anyone who has the desire to dream  and the willingness to turn them into reality. Filmmakers aspire to cast him in their movies and screenplay writers dream of incorporating his celluloid magic on the silver screen.

Myriad Colours of Big B’s Life in Pics


Amitabh Bachchan, the ‘Shahenshah’ of Bollywood was born to a well-known poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan in Allahabad on October 11, 1942. Amitabh went to Sherwood College, a boarding school in Nainital, and then to Kirori Mal College in Delhi University. From an angry young man to the emperor of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan has travelled a long way.

From ‘Bhuvan’ to Big B stardom

When Amitabh Bachchan started his career in Bollywood, more than his towering height, it was his impressive, husky voice that fascinated everyone. In fact, it was the sole strength of his voice that helped him secure his maiden assignment as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen's, National Award winning movie ‘Bhuvan Shome’. Later it was filmmaker, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who hired him to lend his golden baritone as a background commentator in his Movie ‘Bawarchi’. The result was so astounding that even critical filmmaker Satyajit Ray couldn't resist using Bachchan's vocal chord in his historical classic movie ‘Shatranj Ke Khilari’ but ironically Amitabh Bachchan was rejected by All India Radio in the audition test for the job of a broadcaster during his struggling days.

It was KA Abbas who gave Amitabh his first break in ‘Saat Hindustani’, where he essayed the role of one of the seven protagonists. But the film failed miserably, with Bachchan going almost unnoticed. Amitabh played the lead role, for the first time in his career, in ‘Pyar Ki Kahani’ directed by Ravikant Nagaich. According to an interview given by Amitabh Bachchan at Koffee with Karan, this role was initially given to Jeetendra, but because of the film industry's imposed limit of maximum of 6 films to be done as a lead by an actor, that he got this breakthrough. ‘Anand’ followed in 1971, where he starred alongside Rajesh Khanna. Bachchan's role as a doctor with a cynical view of life garnered him his first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. It was 'Zanjeer’, directed by Prakash Mehra, which catapulted Amitabh to fame.

Romance tied with ‘Zanjeer’

Speaking about his personal life, the tale of romance between Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan began at Pune Film Institute in early 1970s where Jaya was a student.  One fine day K. Abbas, the famous film director arrived with his group of actors that also included Amitabh Bachchan. In an interview Jaya once said, “I was introduced to him on the sets of Guddi. I was impressed by him and somewhat in awe as he was Harivanshrai Bachchan's son. I definitely felt he was different though people laughed at me when I said that. I voiced my feelings and said he's going to make it big, even though I was aware he wasn't the usual stereotype hero. I fell in love with him very soon.”

For Amitabh, the sets of movie ‘Ek Nazar’ proved to be a turning point. This was just a beginning of what later laid a strong foundation of their timeless relationship. Jaya and Amitabh had planned a trip to London to celebrate Amitabh’s film Zanjeer's success, but Amitabh’s parents raised concerns over going out with a girl without marriage. Amitabh was more than happy to tie the knot and asked Jaya for her consent. They tied the nuptial know on June 3, 1973 and left for London the very same day.

‘One man industry’

In 1979, India Today termed him the 'One man industry'. Such was the euphoria of his superstardom that the biggest movie industry in the world was often referred to as a ‘One Man Industry’ for more than a decade. Over the years he has not only grown bigger and more iconic with each passing year but he has become an institution that is inseparable from Indian cinema. From being a sidelight on the scene, Amitabh Bachchan had transformed to become the undisputed king of the celluloid world.

Political Odyssey

In 1984, Big B took a sabbatical from films to join politics at the behest of Rajiv Gandhi. During this period, Bachchan's absence from tinsel town, the video boom and a string of big budget multi-starrers which bombed at the box office made a host of theatres opt for re-releasing old Bachchan films. And most of these films — Mr. Natwarlal, Shaan went on to do better business than the new releases. Theatre owners opted for a strategy of releasing his well-known films in the main shows while the morning shows were generally reserved for his smaller, relatively less popular films.

His political career was short-lived. He was implicated falsely in the Bofors bribery scandal that crippled the post the emergency period, under the governance of his childhood friend Rajiv Gandhi, and the yellow press turned against him. The situation looked even direr when a high-profile multimedia production company launched in the mid-Nineties, Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd. (ABCL), was done in by a series of commercial miscalculations. Most of his Nineties films were not successful, which seemed to confirm the widespread suspicion that Bachchan was a spent force. He was not easy to replace: in the mid-Nineties it took all three of The Three Khans (Aamir, Shah Rukh, and Salman) to fill the vacuum which was created, when Big B was dropped off the A List.

‘Mohabattein’ for KBC

The remarkable thing about Amitabh Bachchan is his sheer will to adapt, survive and strive. It was Amitabh Bachchan who picked up the phone and called Yash Chopra for a role in ‘Mohabattein’. Any other Bollywood star could have been the host for Kaun Banega Crorepati in 2000, but it was Amitabh Bachchan who was willing to sit opposite a commoner, empathize with his life's struggle, and edge him or her on to winning crores.

He is once again a force to reckon with in the Indian film industry. Undoubtedly, Amitabh is still the Shahenshah of the Indian film industry. The Big B is an icon who has survived three decades of competition. His charisma is sorely needed, as no one in the current crop of younger actors has anything like Amitabh Bachchan's moral authority. Here’s wishing the ultimate megastar the best of happiness, health, joy and celebrations on his 71st Birthday!


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