Fourth National Award this year and commercial success and critical acclaim for “Pink”, Amitabh Bachchan has reasons enough to celebrate his birthday in a big way but as the megastar of Hindi cinema turns 74 today, he seems to have no special plans to ring in the day.
According to sources, he will have a low-key celebration with family.
With each passing year, Bachchan keep surprising fans with his performances. In 2016, he had three releases “Wazir”, “Te3n”, and “Pink”, and though only one of them became a success, it made up for the failure of other two.
His father Harisvanshrai Bachchan was a renowned Hindi poet; mother Teji Bachchan was a close associate of the Nehru-Gandhi family but he had to face lot of hardships to attain stardom in his career that spans more than for four decades now.
It took Bachchan a wait of 13 flops to finally break in the film industry as a lead hero, thanks to Prakash Mehra’s action film “Zanjeer”.
His angry-young Vijay Khanna enthralled everyone and it marked the start of another era in Bollywood–“Abhimaan”, “Namak Haram”, “Deewar”, “Trishul”, “Kabhie Kabhie”, “Sholay”, “Don”, the list is endless. Soon, Bachchan made his way to superstardom.
There were a few hiccups in his otherwise illustrious career, including a near-fatal injury while shooting for Coolie (1983). He returned to the big screen after a five-year absence with the box-office success Shahenshah (1988).
In 1990, Bachchan played the iconic role of gangster Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in Mukul S Anand’s “Agneepath”.
Despite being a box-office failure, it garnered him his first ever National Film Award for Best Actor and has since developed a cult status.
In 1996, he started his film production company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation whose first release Tere Mere Sapne (1996) was a box-office failure.
This was perhaps the lowest spell in Bachchan’s career, by his own admission, and it only broke with Yash Chopra’s “Mohabbatein” in 2001, where he featured alongside the reigning star Shah Rukh Khan. Bachchan maintains till today that he will always be grateful to the late filmmaker for giving him the movie when he needed it the most.
The same year, Bachchan made his television debut as the host of the game show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”. Like many other things, he became a trend setter on the small screen as well.
Huge success of “Kaun Banega Crorepati” made way for stars like Shah Rukh and Salman Khan to take up hosting on television.
On the big screen, Bachchan by then had deviated towards more character-oriented parts like that of a short-tempered banker in “Aankhen”, a disillusioned father in “Baghban” and a conflicted cop in “Khakee”.
In 2005, he played the role of a teacher of a blind and deaf girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Black”, for which he received his second National Award. He received another National Award for playing a progeria patient in R Balki’s “Paa” (2009).
In the 2000s, one of the most notable characters Bachchan played was in Ram Gopal Varma’s “Sarkar”. His understated, nuanced performance as Subhash Nagre aka Sarkar is rates as one of his finest acts ever.
His upcoming films are Ram Gopal Varma’s “Sarkar 3”, and Aditya Chopra’s production “Thugs of Hindostan” with superstar Aamir Khan.
Besides his work in India, Bachchan, who was born in 1942 in Allahabad, made his Hollywood debut at the ripe age of 71 in 2013 with Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby”.
Indian government 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.
(With PTI inputs)