Amitabh Bachchan (born Amitabh Srivastava) turns 80 today (October 11, 2022). This great actor, film producer, television host and occasional playback singer is one of the most successful, influential and powerful actors in the history of Indian cinema. Why only Indian cinema? The world knows him. Referred to as the ‘Shahenshah of Bollywood’, ‘Star of the Millennium’, ‘Big B’ and so on…the iconic French director François Truffaut called him a ‘one-man industry.’ Need any proof? Beyond the Indian subcontinent, he is well known in the South Asian diaspora, in markets including Africa, the Middle East, the UK, Russia, the Caribbean, Oceania Canada and, of course, the US. In India, he is God. He is worshipped. Fans can go to any length for meeting him. In fact, the entire nation prayed for him when he met with a fatal accident while shooting Coolie.
Amitabh Bachchan debuted with Saat Hindustani (1969). He played Anwar Ali. However, his film career started in 1969 as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen’s film Bhuvan Shome. But it was Prakash Mehra’s Zanjeer (1973) that gave birth to a phenomenon called ‘Amitabh Bachchan’. In Zanjeer, he shared the screen with Jaya Bachchan (then Bhaduri) and Pran. Dubbed as India’s ‘angry young man’, the Big B gave one megahit after another. With Yash Chopra’s Deewaar and Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay (both in the same year – 1975), he achieved greater stardom. Since then, there has been no looking back for him. He acted in a number of action, thriller, romantic and comedy films. Anand (1971), Chupke Chupke (1975), Mili (1975), Kabhie Kabhie (1976), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Don (1978), Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Trishul (1978), Kaala Patthar (1979), Dostana (1980), Shaan (1980), Silsila (1981), Naseeb (1981), Lawaaris (1981), Kaalia (1981), Yaarana (1981), Barsaat Ki Ek Raat (1981), Shakti (1982) and Satte Pe Satta (1982).
A recipient of many accolades and national and international awards, Amitabh Bachchan has also lent his voice as a narrator to several important films. Besides acting, he has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter. In fact, his game show, Kaun Banega Crorepati, was a tremendous hit. Amitabh Bachchan has acted with almost all superstars.
Though there were ups and downs in his prolific career, he returned to a different avatar. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the re-emergence of Amitabh Bachchan. He worked in Aditya Chopra’s blockbuster movie Mohabbatein (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…(2001), Aankhen (2002), Kaante (2002), Babhban (2003), Aetbaar (2004), Khakee (2004), Veer-Zaara (2004), Black (2005), Waqt (2005), Sarkar (2005), Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), Paa (2009), Piku (2015), Wazir (2016), Teen (2016), Pink (2016) and Badla (2019) are some of his best works. He was superb in Gulabo Sitabo (2020), Chehre (2021) and Jhund (2021). The superstar’s last released movie was Goodbye (2022). He has several films in his kitty. He is full of life. At 80, he is working like a young actor. Amitabh Bachchan – the only one of his kind.