B.H.Harsh wrote on 11 Aug 2008
Amitabh Bachchan was born on October 11, 1942. His father Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a well-known poet, where as his mother Teji Bachchan was a Sikh from Karachi. Amitabh has a younger brother Ajitabh.
Amitabh finished his schooling at Boys’ High School, Allahabad. He then went to Sherwood College. Later, He attained a bachelors’ degree in Science from Kirori Mal College, Delhi.In 1968, Amitabh Bachchan came to Bombay leaving a job of a freight broker at a shipping company Bird and Co., to persue a career in films.
Amitabh Bachchan’s first film was K. A. Abbas’ Saat Hindustani (1969). Although the film flopped, Amitabh won rave reviews from critics for his performance. In 1970, Amitabh Bachchan was signed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee for Anand, where Rajesh Khanna was in the lead role. And despite being in a supporting role, Amitabh won accolades for his performance. However, Amitabh Bachchan didn’t have any solo hit at Box-office, which would establish him as a Bankable hero. Most of his films proved to be commercial failures.
Amitabh Bachchan hit the purple patch with Prakash Mehra’s Zanjeer (1973). This film was a huge hit, and established him with a Angry young man image, that was to stay with him for many more years. Amitabh came full-fledged in 1975 where he had unabated run on Box-office. All his films especially Sholay and Deewar were huge successes, and it began a phase in Amitabh’s career of unparalleled success. His other big hits in the late 70s were Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Khoon Pasina (1977), Trishul (1978), Don (1978), Muqaddar ka Sikander (1978), Mr. Natwarlal (1979) and Suhaag (1979). Amitabh Bachchan had a great run at box-office till 1986 where he had atleast one big hit every year. Dostana (1980), Yaarana (1981), Laawaris (1981), Namak Halaal (1982), Andha Kanoon (1983), Sharaabi (1984), Mard (1985), Aakhri Raasta (1986). Amitabh Bachchan had become a key to success.
He made a comeback to films with Shehanshah (1988). However, Amitabh did see a bad period when All his films after Shehanshah including the critically acclaimed Agnipath (1989) flopped. BIG B again made a come back with a stellar performance in Hum (1991). Hum was a runaway hit. Amitabh’s last film was Khudagawah (1992), before he decided to take a self-imposed retirement.
Amitabh Bachchan came back and established an entertainment company ABCL. He made his comeback in films with Mrityudaata (1997) directed by Mehul Kumar. Mrityudaata was a wash-out at box-office, and ABCL went into deep losses. ABCL’s next ventures like Major Saab and Hindustan Ki Kasam (1999) too bit the dust, and Amitabh Bachchan was bankrupt. Amitabh hit back with his over-powering performance in Mohabbatein (2000). Same year, He also hosted a TV game show Kaun Banega Crorepati which turned out to be a grand success. Amitabh also gained his lost popularity with this. After the unprecedented success of Kaun Banega Crorepati, Amitabh Bachchan also signed many advertisements to make up for all the losses ABCL faced. He also signed many films, and even began playing small parts. His memorable roles in coming years were in Aks (2001), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Aankhen (2002), Kaante (2002). He again had a string of flops for next 2 years, barring Khakee (2004) and Baghban (2003) which did above-average business.
2005 was probably the Best year for Amitabh Bachchan, where he had both commercial success and Critical acclaim. He had 4 hits in a row with Black, Bunty aur Babli, Waqt : A Race Against Time and Sarkar. A few other memorable performances from Amitabh Bachchan were in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006), Nishabd (2007), Cheeni Kum (2007) Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, the remake of Sholay had Amitabh play the role of Babban (modern version of Gabbar Singh). The film was a disaster and Amitabh, along with RGV was the target of criticism. The duo, however, got back at the critics with Sarkar Raj, which was a moderate success.
He won his first award in 1969, when he got the National Award for Best Newcomer. This was followed by the Filmfare Best Supporting actor award in 1970 for his performance in Anand and in 1973 for Namak Haraam, both films where Rajesh Khanna played the lead. Very soon, in 1976 he received the Filmfare Best Actor award for Manmohan Desai’s Amar Akbar Anthony and in 1978 for his double role in the self titled Don. In the consecutive years, he was nominated almost every year in the Best actor category. In 1989, he won the National Award for Agneepath,a film which reinstated his Angry Young Man image, while he was nominated for the same in the Filmfare awards that year. After the above, there came a lull in his collection of awards, as for almost 10 years he did not win any big awards. He came back in 2000 with Mohabbatein winning him the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award. In 2001, he won the Filmfare critics award for Best Performance in Aks and was also nominated in the mainstream category for the same award. 2004 was a major year as he received a triple whammy by winning the Filmfare Best Actor award as well as the Filmfare critics award for Best Performance for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black with his portrayal of Debraj Sahai. To top this, was the National Award for Best Actor. He followed this by winning the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award for Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna in 2007. Apart from the above, he also received the Siperstar of the millennium award by Filmfare in 2000, an award that was decided by public votes. In 1984, he was honored by the Indian government with the Padma Shri Award for his outstanding contribution to the Hindi film industry.
Amitabh married actress Jaya Bhaduri in 1973. Their daughter is Sweta and son Abhishek. Abhishek turned an actor in 2000 and has been doing well in the last few years. In 2007, Abhishek married Aishwarya Rai, a leading actress and ex-Miss World.
He launched Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited, popularly known as ABCL and introduced Arshad Warsi and Chandrachur Singh through Tere Mere Sapne, the first film produced under the banner. He had a very close association with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and was like family to them, before few differences cropped up between the two. While shooting for Coolie, he suffered a near fatal injury during one of the stunt scenes. He battled between life and death while the entire nation prayed for him. He was refused a job on All India Radio in his initial days citing the reason that his voice was too deep. However this baritone has now made him an apt choice for voice-over narrations in several films like Bawarchi, Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Khushi, Lagaan etc. He is a complete vegetarian. He is the first Asian actor whose wax statue was unveiled at Madame Tussaud’s in London, UK. He was named Actor of the Millenium in a BBC poll, where the other contenders besides him were Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando. He also lent his voice as a playback singer for songs in films like Laawaris, Mr Natwarlal, Silsila, Nishabd etc. His favourite screen name is Vijay, which he had as his character name in over 25 movies. His father considered naming him Inquilab before zeroing on the name Amitabh for him. He is the only actor to have achieved at least one hit every year for 15 consecutive years, from 1972 in Bombay to Goa to Aakhree Raasta in 1986. Being the most popular public figure in India, he has endorsed many brands.Out of these the notable ones are Parker Pens, Nerolac Paints, Cadburys, ICICI Bank, Beverages like Pepsi and Mirinda, Reid & Taylor, Hajmola, Navratna Oil, Emami Boroplus, Sahara City Homes, Tide, Maruti Versa, Dabur Chyavanprash, Eveready etc.