At a time when many romantic leads in Indian movies looked like this…
A young man appeared who looked like this…
A doe-eyed, slim hipped, rebel with a taste for Trouble.
Over many decades he became The main man, the top-of-the-pops, the Big Banana of Bollywood, as omnipresent as any God. You see him on the tube at galas, on posters everywhere, advertising everything from bodyshirts to high-class jewelry. He’s a TV Host, (India’s version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire) and the occasional playback singer. He has even dabbled in politics and singing.
The real Renaissance man of India and the original Angry Young Man of Bollywood. He is a French Knight of the Légion d’Honneur.
You mention his name to anyone here and instantly you are one with the fan club.
Oh Yeah, Baby.
He’s the guy who’s fascinated us since we first stepped off the plane in Kolkata. The Big B himself, Amitabh Bachchan.
He has appeared in over 190 films and is a screen legend. François Truffaut called him ” a one man screen industry”.
Born in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, his father was a famous Hindi poet.
Amitabh was originally named Inquilaab (as in Long Live The Revolution) but a fellow poet friend of his father’s suggested the (retrospectively) more appropriate The Light that will Never Die.
It wasn’t until his role in Zanjeer that he hit the big time and he hasn’t looked back.
In ’82 while filming his own stunts in Coolie he was in a fight scene, fell on a table and ruptured his spleen. The countrywide response during his many months of recovery in hospital was to offer prayers in temples, long queues of well-wishers outside the hospital and offers of sacrificing limbs to save him.
His sortie into politics tells you a bit about politics here in India. Diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis which makes you both physically and mentally weak… he decided to give up films and concentrate on politics.
He lasted in politics three years, a Congress member and friend of Rajiv Ghandi, eventually becoming disillusioned with politics upon recovering his mental faculties he returned to the screen.
Did we mention that he pops up everywhere ?
He’s a great humanitarian and is the face of Save the Tigers. Oh yeah, he’s Amitab Bachchan !