Amitabh Bachchan was known as the ‘young angry man’ of Bollywood and a ‘one-man film industry’ in the 70s and 80s. After a long lull, he was back in business with the superhit TV game show, Kaun Banega Crorepati (2001). Today, he is still in command and has another TV show and many films on hand keeping him busy throughout.
Known for his deep, baritone voice, he has been a narrator, a playback singer and presenter for numerous programmes. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s and has since become one of the most prominent figures in the history of Indian cinema. Bachchan has won numerous major awards in his career, including three National Film Awards and twelve Filmfare Awards. He holds the record for most number of Best Actor nominations at the Filmfare Awards.
In addition to acting, Bachchan has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter, and was an elected member of the Indian Parliament from 1984 to 1987. Bachchan is married to actress Jaya Bhaduri. They have two children, Shweta Nanda and Abhishek Bachchan. Abhishek is also an actor and is married to actress Aishwarya Rai. Born in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Amitabh Bachchan hails from a Hindu Kayastha family. His father, Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a well-known Hindi poet, while his mother, Teji Bachchan was a Sikh from Faisalabad (now in Pakistan).
Bachchan was initially named Inquilab, inspired from the phrase Inquilab Zindabad, during the Indian independence struggle, but was re-christened Amitabh which means, "the light that would never go off." Bachchan has a double M.A. (Master of Arts) degree. He attended Allahabad's Jnana Prabodhini and Boys' High School (BHS), followed by Nainital's Sherwood College, where he majored in the arts. He later went on to study at Kirori Mal College of the University of Delhi and completed a Bachelor of Science degree. In his twenties, Bachchan gave up a job as freight broker for the shipping firm, Bird and Co., based in Calcutta, to pursue a career in acting.
He contested Allahabad's Lok Sabha seat against H. N. Bahuguna, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and won by the highest victory margin in general election history (68.2% of the vote). He resigned after three years. In 1988, Bachchan returned to films, playing the title role in Shahenshah, which was a box office success due to the hype of Bachchan's comeback.After the success of his comeback film however, his star power began to wane as all of his subsequent films failed at the box office.
Bachchan turned producer during his temporary retirement period, setting up Amitabh Bachchan Corporation, Ltd. (A.B.C.L.) in 1996, with the vision of becoming a 10 billion rupees (approx 250 million $US) premier entertainment company by the year 2000. Soon after the company was launched in 1996, the first film was produced by the company. Tere Mere Sapne failed to do well at the box office. ABCL produced a few other films, none of which did well. In 1997, Bachchan attempted to make his acting comeback with the film Mrityudaata, produced by ABCL. Though Mrityudaata attempted to reprise Bachchan's earlier success as an action hero, the film was a failure both financially and critically.
ABCL was the main sponsor of the 1996 Miss World beauty pageant, Bangalore but lost millions. Eventually the company collapsed in 1997. Bachchan attempted to revive his acting career and had average success with Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998),and received positive reviews for Sooryavansham (1999) but other films such as Lal Baadshah (1999) and Hindustan Ki Kasam (1999) were box office failures.
In 2000, Amitabh Bachchan appeared in Yash Chopra's box-office hit, Mohabbatein, directed by Aditya Chopra. Other hits followed, with Bachchan appearing as an older family patriarch in Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love (2001), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) and Baghban (2003). As an actor, he continued to perform in a range of characters, receiving critical praise for his performances in Aks (2001), Aankhen (2002), Khakee (2004), Dev (2004) and Black (2005).
Taking advantage of this resurgence, Amitabh began endorsing a variety of products and services, appearing in many television and billboard advertisements. In 2005 and 2006, he starred with his son Abhishek in the hit films Bunty Aur Babli (2005), the Godfather tribute Sarkar (2005), and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006). All of them were successful at the box office.
His later releases in 2006 and early 2007 were Baabul (2006), Eklavya (2007) and Nishabd (2007), which failed to do well at the box office but his performances in each of them were praised by critics. In May 2007, Cheeni Kum and the multi-starrer Shootout at Lokhandwala clicked at the box office. However, a remake of his biggest hit, Sholay (1975), titled Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, proved to be a disaster at the box office.
His first English language film, Rituparno Ghosh's The Last Lear, premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2007. In 2008, Sarkar Raj, a sequel to his 2005 film Sarkar, took a head start at the box office. Today, he is busy juggling between tiring shooting schedules, endorsing various products, being part of stage shows and making appearances on TV. And this is telling on his health. He has been admitted at the hospital on a few occasions.
Amitabh is teetotaller.
Amitabh despises the word Bollywood, the word that describes the Hindi film industry.
Amitabh was closely associated with Indira Gandhi, the former Indian Prime Minister, and her son, Rajiv Gandhi. It was Mrs. Gandhi who wrote a letter of introduction for Amitabh, and that's how he got his break in Bollywood.
Amitabh is the only actor who achieved at least one hit every year for 15 consecutive years - from 1972 in Bombay to Goa to 1986 in Aakhree Raasta.
Amitabh suffers from asthma.
During his school days, Amitabh dreamt of becoming an engineer. At one point, he even contemplated joining the Indian Air Force.
Amitabh Bachchan once spent a few nights on a bench at Marine Drive, Mumbai, when he was a struggler trying to make it big in films.
When Amitabh was in a critical condition after the near fatal accident on the sets of Coolie, wife Jaya would walk barefoot daily from the Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai to the famed Siddhi Vinayak Temple, six kilometres away, praying for his quick recovery.
Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri met for the first time at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and then again on the sets of Hrishikesh Mukherji's Guddi.
It was during the making of Sholay that Amitabh discovered he was going to be a father of his firstborn, Shwetambiri. Amitabh's role of the strong, silent Jai was first offered to Shatrughan Sinha who refused to play second fiddle to Dharmendra.
Amitabh would have been the hero of Jaya's debut film, Guddi, as he was the original choice for the lead role. Finally, Samit Banja bagged the role.
Known for his sharp memory, AB never forgets the birthday or special occasions in his loved one's lives. The actor makes it a point to wish them unfailingly.
Amitabh considers Waheeda Rehman one of the most beautiful women in the film industry.
While shooting for Mukul Anand's Khuda Gawah, Najibullah, then the president of Afghanistan, provided Amitabh with half the country's air force for his protection. Khuda Gawah became one of the most watched Indian films in Afghanistan.
During the making of Khuda Gawah, Amitabh, who plays a Pathan, developed blisters on his face due to the constant application and removal of his fake beard.
His father Harivansh Rai Bachchan was considering naming him 'Inquilab' (which means 'revolution') before settling down for Amitabh which means 'brilliance unlimited'.
Works with the Indian government's media campaign to publicize the National Immunization Days and encourage people to take their children to be vaccinated against polio and other deadly diseases.
In a 'People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) poll Amitabh Bachchan won the title of Hottest Vegetarian Alive.
Became a grandfather in 1997 when his daughter Shweta gave birth to a daughter, Navya Naveli Nanda.
The facial caricature of the Indian comic book character 'Supremo' is based upon him.
Following a near fatal accident while shooting Coolie (1983/I), during which he suffered internal bleeding and required 17 bottles of blood, he became a champion for the cause of encouraging more people to donate blood.
Suffered from a rare muscular disorder known as myasthenia gravis.
Was a former stage actor, radio announcer and freight company executive in Calcutta, India.
His favourite screen name is Vijay, which he had as his character name in over 20 movies.
Before Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor was being considered to play Amitabh’s blind student in Black.
Amitabh Bachchan first sang a playback song for the film Mr. Natwarlal.
The character of Anthony Gonsalves in Amar Akbar Anthony was actually inspired from a man of the same name who used to live in Khetwadi, an area in Mumbai where the film’s director Manmohan Desai also lived.
In the film Deewar, Amitabh’s role was loosely based on Bombay smuggler Haji Mastan.
In 1996, he released an album called Aby Baby. This album was released under ABCL and featured songs like "Eer Bir Phatte" and remixes of his songs from his early movies "O Saathi Re" and "Kabhi Kabhi". "Eer Bir Phatte" was inspired by one of his famous dialogues in his movie Adalat (1976).
In 1984, he was honored by the Indian government with the Padma Shri Award for his outstanding contribution to the Hindi film industry.
Although Amitabh Bachchan's Immaan Dharam (1977) proved to be a disaster, the producer went ahead and announced Asmaan with Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha, with Mohan Kumar in the director's seat. Salim-Javed, who had penned the script of Immaan Dharam, were scripting Asmaan as well. However, the film was shelved subsequently.
Rakesh Kumar, who had directed Khoon Pasina (1977), Mr. Natwarlal (1979), Do Aur Do Paanch (1980) and Yaarana (1981), had turned producer and announced Charlie, with Amitabh Bachchan enacting the title role. Padmini Kolhapure had been cast opposite the Big B. However, the project never got made.
Amitabh Bachchan, Parveen Babi, Mithun Chakraborty and Rati Agnihotri were teamed in Tala Chabi, produced by Romu Sippy and directed by Raj N. Sippy. One of the foremost character actors then, Pran, had been signed to enact the main villain's role. An official announcement was made in April 1982. The movie never took off.
In the DVD version of Aakhri Raasta Jaya Prada’s voice is dubbed by Rekha.
Amitabh Bachchan got burnt on his left hand during Diwali celebrations in 1983 and that is the reason that his left hand is always in his pocket in the film Sharaabi.
The film Satte Pe Satta is based on the Hollywood flick Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Amitabh Bachchan, known for his rich baritone, played a mute in the film Reshma aur Shera.
At the age of 58, he jumped from a height of 30 feet, along with co-star Manoj Bajpai, for his 2001 movie Aks (2001).
I have never really been confident about my career at any stage.
Everyone must accept "that we will age and age is not always flattering".
I wish I had time to learn all the languages of our country, I wish I knew how to play a musical instrument. There are many things that I feel I have missed out on.
Like any other father I feel proud to see my son (Abhishek Bachchan) on the silver screen.
I have never been a superstar and never believed in it.
The amount of things I have been through and the remarkable ways in which the body has reacted is just phenomenal. No wonder I became religious, because you don't know why something's happening to you and you don't know how you bounced back.
You don't see Indians in Hollywood films around which a story can revolve. As soon as we have a social presence in your society, I am sure there will be many actors from our part of the world that will be acting in Hollywood films. I have always been a great admirer of Marlon Brando, Al Paccinno, Robert De Niro. I would love to walk into the frame, hold their briefcase!
I'd love to romance Aishwarya Rai. But I'm 58 now. So I have to play her father.
Frankly I've never really subscribed to these adjectives tagging me as an icon, superstar, etc. I've always thought of myself as an actor doing his job to the best of his ability.
Basically I am just another actor who loves his work and this thing about age only exists in the media.
(On his dream role) Every actor wants to look for something new in their horizon. When it comes true it becomes a dream role.
If things happen as you wish it's good, if they do not it's better.
I don't surf too much. I just use yahoo for e-mails.
Everyone must accept that we will age and age is not always flattering.
My greatest fear is not living up to the expectations of people and my fans.
My greatest strength is the love of my fans and affection of my parents.