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Look Back In Wonder: Bollywood's living legend Amitabh Bachchan turns 76

Look Back In Wonder: Bollywood's living legend Amitabh Bachchan turns 76

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 11 Oct 2018, 12:32 pm

Bollywood's living legend and superstar Amitabh Bachchan turned 76 on Thursday. While his countless admirers celebrate, IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh walks down the celluloid lane of decades to trace his rollercoaster  journey

"Babumoshai, zindagi badi honi chaihiye, lambi nahi (Sir, life should be big not long)"--- this was the line which late superstar Rajesh Khanna told Bachchan (in script) in 1971 film Anand, one of the earliest films in Bachchan's career. But 47 years later, there is hardly any doubt that Bachchan's acting career is both long and wide.

Born in Allahabad in the then United Provinces of British India (now Uttar Pradesh), Bachchan's voice had impressed legendary director Mrinal Sen who employed the former in the film Bhuvan Shome as a voice artist in 1969. He later did it for Satyajit Ray too.

Though he had cut his debut with Saat Hindustani in 1969 (directed by K A Abbas), Bachchan caught the attention first in Anand, in which he had played the role of a doctor, starring opposite then reigning super star Rajesh Khanna.

After Anand's success, Bachchan had acted in several films like Parwana, Bombay to Goa but failed to claim the centre-stage.

But the first turning point of his career came in 1973 when his "angry young man" image was created by Prakash Mehra in Zanjeer. Going against the stereotyped romantic characters, which were mostly played by Rajesh Khanna at that time, Bachchan seemed to be a fresh smell in the Indian film industry.

Bachchan's "angry young man" characters in films Zanjeer, Deeewar, Trishul, Kaala Patthar, Shakti were quickly identified by the society's young men who were severely discontented with issues like poverty and unemployment in the country.

In 1975, Bachchan also got a chance to act in the legendary film Sholay. By late 1970s, Bachchan was not only a rising star but rose to fame greatly, giving his co-actors run for their money.

Not restricting himself to only crime-thrillers, Bachchan ventured into multiples genres with comedy films like Chupke Chupke or romantic movies like Mili, Kabhie Kabhie.

After rising to stardom completely, a turnaround in Bachchan's life occurred in his career in 1982 when he had suffered a massive injury during the shooting of Coolie.

While shooting a stunt, where the actor was about to fall on a table and then crash the ground, Bachchan got injured badly in his abdomen. He had a considerable amount of blood loss. After the long recovery process, during which his fans formed long queues to pray in temples, Bachchan returned to films and finished the shooting for Coolie.

Later, he was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis which almost led to the collapse of his acting  journey.

Married to powerful actress Jaya Bhaduri, Bachchan's romantic affair with the enigmatic Rekha also was a constant grist to the rumour and gossip column mills of Indian media.

Jaya Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan

Bachchan had a brief stint in Indian politics in 1984. He had entered the national politics (Congress party) with the hands of his friend and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Though his initial journey in politics was smooth by winning the Allahabad seat by a record margin of over 68%, Bachchan was dragged into the Bofors scandal, which rocked the Indian politics. However, Bachchan came out clean though not before his disillusionment with politics was complete.

The actor had once again joined films in 1988 and made a strong comeback with Shahenshah, which was commercially successful. Meanwhile, in early 1990s, Bachchan turned producer by setting up Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL).

The major downfall in his career came with the ABCL itself when he lost millions in order to host the 1996 Miss World beauty pageant in Bangalore (now Bengaluru).

The actor had to mortgage his bungalow to raise funds for ABCL.

In an interview with Vir Singhvi, Bachchan said all his properties were attached after the financial downfall of ABCL. Bachchan told Singhvi, "The house, all assets and properties were in attached."

Bachchan said he had faced 55 legal cases and also had to pay back Rs. 90 crore.

The financial downfall was also followed by the decline in his acting career.

Except few hits like Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and Major Saab, Bachchan's career was downgrading with a series of flops.

In the interview with Singhvi, Bachchan even acknowledged the twin failures saying, "I think things happen collectively. I think when you go wrong in one department, then everything else crashes all around you. People lose faith in you, they don't want to see your face anymore, they think you are not an actor, they think films you make are not worth seeing, they think the way you look, you dress is not correct. Everything goes wrong because something has gone wrong in your life and everyone wants to then say its over for you....."

At the moment when Bachchan was "bankrupt", the superstar rose from ashes to resurrect his own lost image. Making a strong comeback with Yash Chopra's Mohabbatein in 2000, Bachchan salvaged some of his respect as an actor and star. The film, which was successful, reinvented Bachchan as a strict teacher of Gurukul (school).

As he said "things happen collectively" in the interview, Bachchan got an opportunity to host a quiz show, Kaun Banega Crorepati (Who Will Become Millionaire), and directly entered the living rooms of every house.

With the instant success of the quiz show, Bachchan was quickly in a comfort zone. Since then, the actor never had to look back as Mohabbatein was followed by several hit films like Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gham, Baghban, Black, Sarkar and others.

Exploring his acting skills to farthest extends, Bachchan even romanced much younger actresses onscreen in Nishabd and Cheeni Kum.

The latest films like Piku, Pink or 102 Not Out are some of the successful projects that reflect Bachchan as real Big B. He is now waiting for the release of Thugs of Hindostan, where he will share screen space with actor Aamir Khan for the first time.

Image sources:, file, wikipedia

Look Back In Wonder: Bollywood's living legend Amitabh Bachchan turns 76

India Blooms News Service
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