Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan born 11 October 1942 is an Indian film actor. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s for movies like Zanjeer and Deewar, and was dubbed India’s first “angry young man” for his on-screen roles in Bollywood. Often referred to as the “Shahenshah of Bollywood”, “Star of the Millennium” or “Big B”,he has since appeared in over 180 Indian films in a career spanning more than four decades. Bachchan is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema.So total was his dominance of the movie scene in the 1970s and 1980s that the French director François Truffaut called him a “one-man industry.”
Bachchan has won numerous accolades in his career, including four National Film Awards as Best Actor and many awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies. He has won fifteen Filmfare Awards and is the most-nominated performer in any major acting category at Filmfare, with 40 nominations overall. In addition to acting, Bachchan has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter. He also had a stint in politics in the 1980s.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions to the arts.The Government of France honoured him with its highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour, in 2007 for his exceptional career in the world of cinema and beyond.Bachchan made his Hollywood debut in 2013 with The Great Gatsby, in which he played a non-Indian Jewish character, Meyer Wolfsheim.
Early and personal life
Bachchan was born in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, in north central India. His ancestors hailed from a village called Babupatti in the Raniganj taluka of Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh. His father Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a Hindi poet and his mother Teji Bachchan was a Punjabi Sikh from Lyallpur (now Faisalabad), Punjab.Bachchan was initially named Inquilaab, inspired by the phrase Inquilab Zindabad popularly used during the Indian independence struggle. In English, Inquilab Zindabad means “Long live the revolution.” However, at the suggestion of fellow poet Sumitranandan Pant, Harivansh Rai changed the boy’s name to Amitabh, which means “the light that will never die.” Although his surname was Shrivastava, Amitabh’s father had adopted the pen name Bachchan (“child-like” in colloquial Hindi), under which he published all of his works. It is with this last name that Amitabh debuted in films and for all other practical purposes, Bachchan has become the surname for all of his immediate family. Bachchan’s father died in 2003, and his mother in 2007.
Bachchan is an alumnus of Sherwood College, Nainital. He later attended Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. He has a younger brother, Ajitabh. His mother had a keen interest in theatre and was offered a feature film role, but she preferred her domestic duties. Teji had some influence in Amitabh Bachchan’s choice of career because she always insisted that he should “take the centre stage.”
Bachchan made his film debut in 1969 as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen’s National Award winning film Bhuvan Shome. His first acting role was as one of the seven protagonists in the film Saat Hindustani directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and featuring Utpal Dutt, Anwar Ali (brother of comedian Mehmood), Madhu and Jalal Agha.
Anand (1971) followed, in which Bachchan starred alongside Rajesh Khanna. His role as a doctor with a cynical view of life garnered Bachchan his first Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award. He then played his first antagonist role as an infatuated lover-turned-murderer in Parwaana (1971). Following Parwaana were several films including Reshma Aur Shera (1971). During this time, he made a guest appearance in the film Guddi which starred his future wife Jaya Bhaduri. He narrated part of the film Bawarchi. In 1972 he made an appearance in the road action comedy Bombay to Goa directed by S. Ramanathan. Many of Bachchan’s films during this early period did not do well, but that was about to change.
In 2000, Bachchan hosted the first season of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), the Indian adaptation of the British television game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. The show was well received.A second season followed in 2005 but its run was cut short by STAR Plus when Bachchan fell ill in 2006.In 2009, Bachchan hosted the third season of the reality show Bigg Boss.In 2010, Bachchan hosted the fourth season of KBC. The fifth season started on 15 August 2011 and ended on 17 November 2011. The show became a massive hit with audiences and broke many TRP Records. CNN IBN awarded Indian of the Year- Entertainment to Team KBC and Bachchan. The Show also grabbed all the major Awards for its category.
The sixth season was also hosted by Bachchan, commencing on 7 September 2012, broadcast on Sony TV and received the highest number of viewers thus far.In 2014, he debuted in the fictional Sony Entertainment Television TV series titled Yudh playing the lead role of a businessman battling both his personal and professional life.Bachchan is also the brand ambassador for Gujarat Tourism, which he has been since 1 February 2010.
Bachchan is known for his deep, baritone voice. He has been a narrator, a playback singer, and presenter for numerous programmes.Renowned film director Satyajit Ray was so impressed with Bachchan’s voice that he decided to use Bachchan as the narrator in his 1977 film Shatranj Ke Khilari (The Chess Players). Bachchan lent his voice as a narrator to the 2001 movie Lagaan which was a super hit.In 2005, Bachchan lent his voice to the Oscar-winning French documentary March of the Penguins, directed by Luc Jacquet.
Amitabh Bachchan has invested in many upcoming business ventures. In 2013, he bought a 10% stake in Just Dial from which he made a gain of 4600 percent. He holds a 3.4% equity in Stampede Capital, a financial technology firm specializing in cloud computing for financial markets. The Bachchan family also bought shares worth $252,000 in Meridian Tech, a consulting company in U.S. Recently they made their first overseas investment in Ziddu.com, a cloud based content distribution platform.
In 1999, Bachchan was voted the “greatest star of stage or screen” in a BBC Your Millennium online poll. The organisation noted that “Manypeople in the western world will not have heard of is a reflection of the huge popularity of Indian films.”In 2001, he was honoured with the Actor of the Century award at the Alexandria International Film Festival in Egypt in recognition of his contribution to the world of cinema. Many other honours for his achievements were conferred upon him at several International Film Festivals, including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Asian Film Awards.
In June 2000, he became the first living Asian to have been modeled in wax at London’s Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Another statue was installed in New York in 2009,Hong Kong in 2011, Bangkok in 2011 and Washington, DC in 2012.In 2003, he was conferred with the Honorary Citizenship of the French town of Deauville.
The Government of India awarded him with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015. France’s highest civilian honour, the Knight of the Legion of Honour, was conferred upon him by the French Government in 2007 for his “exceptional career in the world of cinema and beyond”.