Amitabh Bachchan is justifiably the Superstar of the Millennium!!!
After Dilip Kumar, if any actor, who has filled the vacuum created by the thespian, it is indeed Amitabh Bachchan, the Superstar of the Millennium.
What makes Amitabh Bachchan special is that he made his mark when Bollywood was being ruled by Superstar Rajesh Khanna who had the distinction of giving 17 hits in row in just 3 years. But Amitabh Bachchan stood up to him and stole thunder right under his nose by winning the Filmfare Awards in both the films in which the two acted (Viz Anand and Namak Haram) thus proving his versatility as an actor par excellence and not simply a star!!!
Further with films like Zanjeer, Sholay, Deewaar, Trishul, Don, Amar Akbar Anthony etc Bachchan proved his commercial hold at the box office.
The highpoint of Bachchan over Khanna is that Khanna dominated for three years as Superstar but Bachchan has retained the title of Superstar since 1973!
Four decades have passed but Bachchan continues to be a Superstar among today’s Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar!!!
In fact Amitabh Bachchan is justifiably the Superstar of the Millennium!!!
Tale behind ‘Inqailab’ to Amitabh
When Amitabh Bachchan was born , his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan, who was a famous poet and through his poems contributed towards India’s freedom, decided to name his first born son Inquilab (Freedom). Perhaps Harivansh Rai Bachchan anticipated that with the birth of his son, India will get Freedom.
But it was Amitabh’s mother, Teji Bachchan, who purposed the name Amitabh, overwhelmed by the infant’s astounding aura. The word Amitabh is a Sanskrit word which means ‘limitless luster’.
Call it a mother’s vision because Amitabh Bachchan is indeed a symbol of ‘limitless luster’ whose light shall guide generations of actors in coming future!
Mother played a vital role in grooming Young Bachchan
Besides rechristening him as Amitabh Bachchan’s mother played a lion’s share in grooming young Amitabh.
His father wanted him to join a Hindi school but his mothers send him to English medium Sherwood College at Nainital. It was a boarding school, where Amitabh learned the disciplines of life.
It was here he developed passion for acting and during vacations when he used to come to Allahabad at his residence his mother, who had penchant for drama and acting helped Amitabh in dramatics.
At home mother –son would perform dramas along with neighboring friend’s participating and would have great fun.
This drama practices sowed the seeds of acting in young Bachchan, which Bachchan exploited at school and college drama events winning accolades. Amitabh Bachchan has done double Masters Degree in Arts.
Amitabh wanted to become an engineer and wanted to join the Indian Air Force.Amitabh Bachchan’s last name was actually Srivastava but he chose his father’s nickname ‘Bachchan’ as his last name.
Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri –
Made for each other couple
When Amitabh Bachchan met Jaya Bhadhuri, Bachchan was a struggling actor while Jaya Bhadhuri was a name to reckon as she was Gold Medalist of FTII and eminent filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee had introduced her in the film Guddi.
Amitabh Bachchan first saw Jaya Bhadhuri in a film magazine and was left dazed by her stunning photograph in the magazine. He called the magazine editor and got information about the beautiful lady.
When he came to know she was working in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s film Guddi (1971), he went on the set and met her as Hrishikesh Mukherjee had given him a break in Anand(1970).
The first meeting was fruitful as Jaya too was attracted to Bachchan. Later during the making of the films like Bansi Birju (1972) and Ek Nazar (1972) the two came close.
Further when Zanjeer was being made they decided to get married if the film succeeded.
Zanjeer was released on 11, 1973 and declared a blockbuster! Both Amitabh and Jaya were delighted and tied the nuptial knot the very next month on 3 June, 1973.
At Mother’s encouragement Amitabh Bachchan joined Bollywood
After working in Kolkata at reputed companies like Shaw Wallace and at Bird and Co. when Amitabh Bachchan did not get job satisfaction and returned home, it was his mother who understood the inner emotions of Bachchan and his silence.
She perceived Bachchan’s inclination towards a career in acting but since in those days acting in cinema was considered derogatory hence Bachchan was hesitant to take permission from his father but it was her mother who encouraged Bachchan to try luck in Bollywood.
She also advised her husband to write a recommendation letter to K.A. Abbas, (Khwaja Ahmad Abbas) his close friend and a filmmaker in Bollywood.
Amitabh Bachchan wins National Award
in his debut film
When Amitabh Bachchan came to Mumbai with his father’s letter and met K.A. Abbas, he acknowledged and gave Amitabh Bachchan his first break in his movie Saat Hindustani (1969).
The high point of the film was that though the film was a box-office disaster but it proved a gold mine for Amitabh Bachchan as the National Award jury was quite impressed by the new found actor. It saluted Bachchan with the ‘Outstanding Discovery of the Year Award’.
The award helped Amitabh Bachchan gain respectability but alas no films.
After Saat Hindustani Amitabh Bachchan
even worked as an extra!
After the failure of Saat Hindustani Amitabh Bachchan wandered from studio to studio in search of a role in film but he was not only rejected but many a times he was ridiculed for his utterly thin physique and absurd tall height!
When survival became impossible Amitabh Bachchan was forced to act as an extra in films. One of the film he worked as an extra was Bombay Talkie (1970) in which he played one of the mourner walking in funeral. He was paid Rs 50 for the film, which helped him survive for a month!
Actor Mehmood’s advice helped
Amitabh Bachchan get the film Anand
When Amitabh Bachchan was struggling hard to make his presence felt in Bollywood he would reside at actor Mehmood’s house, who would usually be busy shooting down South.
Amitabh and Anwar Ali (Mehmood’s younger brother) were good friends as K.A. Abaas had even introduced Anwar Ali in Saat Hindustani.
Once when Mehmood came to Mumbai he found Amitabh Bachchan at his home and was impressed by Bachchan’s disciple and good baritone.
The two became friends and when Bachchan informed him that Hrishikesh Mukherjee plans to cast him in a parallel role in his coming film Anand opposite Rajesh Khanna; Mehmood advised Bachchan to grab the role with both hands and recommended him to keep boosting Kaka’ (Rajesh Khanna was lovingly called) ego during shooting. Bachchan did as Mehmood suggested.
As a result Rajesh Khanna, who was known to harass his co-stars, did not trouble young Bachchan during the film.
The film was a mega hit and fetched Amitabh Bachchan his first Filmfare Award as Supporting Actor.
Amitabh Bachchan was termed as Jinx actor after series of flops
After the success of Anand and the subsequent Filmfare award Bachchan was flooded with offers.
In the mad rush to sign films Bachchan signed many wrong films and the result was Amitabh Bachchan gave a string of flops in a row that killed his career and he was termed a jinx actor.
The list of films flopped included Sanjog (1971), Pyar Ki Kahani (1971), Reshma Aur Shera (1971), Parwana (1971), Raaste Ka Patthar (1972), Bansi Birju (1972), Ek Nazar (1972), Bandhe Haath (1973) etc.
With these flops Bachchan was totally shattered and decided to quit Bollywood. Frustrated he booked his ticket to Allahabad and was about to board the train when filmmaker writer pair Salim Javed stopped him and offered the film Zanjeer (1973).
The Amitabh Bachchan - Salim-Javed phenomena
Actually writers Salim Javed had written the script of Zanjeer for Dharmendra way back in the mid 60’s when he was struggling as an actor and desperately wanted a solo hit film.
Hence he decided to turn producer with Zanjeer but with his film Phool aur Pather (1966) becoming a huge hit he was flooded with offers hence Zanjeer was but on back burner.
Later debutant filmmaker Prakash Mehra liked the script but no actor was willing to act in the film. From Dev Anand to Raaj Kaumar everybody declined hence Salim Javed cajoled Prakash Mehra to experiment with Amitabh Bachchan.
Initially Mehra was reluctant but he agreed. However to attract the distributors Mehra used Pran as his star attraction. Finally the film released and on day one it broke all box office records and went o to celebrate Golden Jubilee.
With Zanjeer, Salim Javed created the famous Angry Young Man image of Amitabh Bachchan and concreted his image with further hit films like Sholay, Deewaar, Majboor, Trishul, Don, Kaala Pathar, Shaan, Shakti etc.
Manmohan Desai made Amitabh Bachchan a complete actor
The Amitabh Bachchan –Manmohan Desai Jodi clicked with the hit film Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and lasted for 12 years.
Bachchan remembers, “When Manmohan Desai told me about Anthony the character I played in Amar Akbar Anthony he was so confident that he told me in advance that the role will outshine my ‘Angry Young Man image’.
He added, “True to his words when the film was released people went bananas at my mirror scene. And for many years people called me Anthony bhai.”
The film was such a big hit that it celebrated silver jubilee at record 9 cinema halls in Mumbai. It fetched him his First Filmfare award as Best Actor.
After this the duo gave a string of hit films like Mard, Coolie, Desh Premee, Naseeb, Suhaag, Parvarish.
The last film they did was Toofan (1989 which failed to click.
The highpoint of Manmohan Desai was that he extracted all the shades of acting from Amitabh Bachchan like action, emotion and comedy. Thus he made Bachchan a complete actor.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee proved the versatility
of Amitabh Bachchan as an actor of repute
Though Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai gave Amitabh Bachchan commercial success but the filmmaker who extracted the histrionics of Bachchan as an actor of repute was Hrishikesh Mukherjee and few know that Bachchan has acted with Mukherjee in maximum films!
It was Hrishikesh Mukherjee who first recognized Bachchan’s golden baritone and used it as background commentary in his film Bawarchi (1972).
Later it became so popular that even the Great filmmaker Satyajit Ray employed his voice in his only Hindi film Shatranj Ke Khilari.
It was under Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Bachchan won his first Filmfare award in Anand and later won another award in Namak Haram. Interestingly in both these films Bachchan outshone the than superstar Rajesh Khanna, proving his versatility as actor.
It was Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who first exploited Bachchan’s command in comedy in his film Chupke Chupke (1975).
The duo did many films like Bemisal, Jurmana, Alaap, Mili, Namak Haram, Abhimaan.
1984 – Padma Shri
2001 – Padma Bhushan
2015 – Padma Vibhushan
National Film Award
1969 – Saat Hindustani
2009 - Paa
Best Supporting Actor for Anand (1971)
Best Supporting Actor for Namak Haram (1973)
Best Actor for Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Best Actor for Don (1978)
Best Actor for Hum (1991)
Best Actor Critics for Aks (2001)
Supporting Role for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001)
Best Actor for Black (2005)
Best Actor for Paa (2010)
Best Actor for Piku (2016) Critics award
Best Supporting Actor for Mohabbatein (2000)
2000 - Special Award - Superstar of the Millennium
Baagbaan ( 2003)
Cheeni Kum (2008) Critic Award
He is a good singer and sung many songs Rang Barse bhige chunaria….; Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum…. Etc.
Deewaar is Amitabh Bachchan’s finest performance
Unarguably the movie that has immortalized Amitabh Bachchan in the annals of Indian Cinema as an actor par excellence is Deewaar written by Salim Javed and directed by Yash Chopra.
Besides Amitabh Bachchan’s exception command in angry performance, Deewaar exploited the emotional trauma of Bachchan, which the actor portrayed brilliantly through his eyes and choked baritone.
There temple scene where Bachchan confronts God saying ‘Aaj khush toh bahut hoge tum…. charges the viewers in the auditorium with emotions. The pathos and emotion infused by Bachchan in the scene leaves the viewers awestruck.
Filmmaker Yash Chopra was so overwhelmed by Bachchan’s commitment in Deewaar that in the climax scene when he collapses in the arms of his mother, Yash Chopra, left loose Bachchan to give his best and when the film was being canned there was pin drop silence with unit members sobbing in a hush.
Film legend Yash Chopra rated Deewaar as Amitabh Bachchan’s finest performance. In fact world critics in cinema too rated Deewaar as the best performance of Bachchan till date.
Readers would be stunned to know that though Deewaar is regarded as the Best Performance of Amitabh Bachchan’s career but he was not given Filmfare award. Instead, to readers surprise, Shashi Kapoor was awarded Best Supporting Actor Award!!!
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