Born Iquilaab Shrivastava, in Allahabad, Amitabh Bachchan came from humble beginnings, where his mother Teji Bachchan was a domestic home-maker and a social activist, while his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a Kavastha Hindu poet. Although his birth name was Inquilaab, inspired by a word commonly used during the independence days, a fellow poet friend suggested the name Amitabh, meaning ‘the light that never dies’. Teji Bachchan who had interest in theatre was once offered a role in a play but she turned it down to focus on domestic duties, which she preferred. Amitabh’s choice of career might have had the influence of his mother from an early age. He made his film debut as a voice over artist in the 1969 film Bhuvan Shome and later made his acting debut in 1971 with Saat Hindustani. That didn’t give him much recognition. However, that same year, he starrer as a supporting actor in the Rajesh Khanna starrer Anand, which won him the Filmfare for Best supporting actor.
After Anand, there was Bombay To Goa, which did moderately well, but Amitabh’s identity as an actor got lost, as his next couple of movies flopped terribly and people started losing faith in his acting abilities. It is the screen-writing duo Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar (Salim-Javed), that saw the real potential in Amitabh and cast him in their action film Zanjeer in 1973. The film broke all movie records and was a groundbreaking movie of its time. There was no looking back for Amitabh after that. Movies like Deewar, Sholay, Trishul, Kaala Patthar and Shakti that followed made him a star and also gave him the tag of “Angry Young Man”. These movies resonated with the youth and especially with the masses that were going through challenges of social ills like poverty, oppression, etc.
1973 was also the year Amitabh Bachchan tied the knot with his now actress wife Jaya Bhaduri. They did many films together like Abhimaan, Mili, Ek Nazar, Silsila and many more. Amitabh has won several awards in his five-decade acting career like Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and recently the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Films like Kabhi Kabhi, Kasme Vaade, Amar Akbar Anthony and Satte Pe Satta gave him superstardom as well as changed his onscreen character into a romantic hero. He has also done playback singing in many movies like Mere Paas Aao in Mr Natwarlal, Rang Barse & Nila Aasma in Silsila, Mere Angne Mein in Laawaris, Jahan Chaar Yaar in Sharaabi and many more. In 1982, during the filming of his movie Coolie, he had a near fatal accident during a fight scene where he suffered a blow to his abdomen, resulting in splenic rupture. He was hospitalized for many months, during which his fans gathered around the hospital he was admitted in. He completed the shooting and the film was released in 1983 and was a huge hit.