By: Poonam Deviah
On October 11, 1942 Harivanshrai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan were blessed with a baby boy whom they called Amitabh. Little did they know then, that he would be a household name and would rule the Indian Cinema industry way beyond his time, popularly called 'younger days.'
From a freight broker to the helm of tinsel town, the journey was no bed of roses for this man who has millions swooning to his deep, rich voice, which today is a brand. Belonging to a poet parentage (Harishvanshrai Bachchan is a noted poet and Teji Bachchan, a noted contemporary poet) he grew up appreciating art. After his schooling at Sherwood College, Nanital he earned an arts degree from Delhi University.
He initially worked as a freight broker but followed his dreams and landed in the 'City of Dream,' Mumbai. He made is debut in Saat Hindusthani, which failed to make its mark. It was not before a couple of flops and failures that he made milestone movies like Zanjeer, Deewar, Sholay, the list seems endless from here. He pioneered the character of the angry young man in Hindi Cinema. From then, movies revolved around angry young men. It was a total new concept then, something of a breakthrough.
Then came a phase when Amitabh entered politics. Thanks to his immense popularity, he won a seat in parliament from his hometown of Allahabad. His stay there was however shortlived. He then began ABCL (Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited), which produced several films like Mani Ratnam's Bombay and Shekar Kapoor's Bandit Queen. It hosted the Miss World Pageant, in Bangalore, the first of its kind ever in the history of India. The company then came under debt running into crores of rupees. Many predicted the end of Amitabh Bachchan, an end to a glorious reign.
All were proved wrong when Amitabh bounced back with dignity. He hosted 'Kaun Banega Corepati,' the desi version of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' This TV show was extremely popular and catapulted Amitabh back to limelight. Needless to say all dues paid.
Bollywood opened its doors again with opportunities flooding in for him. He did a variety of roles. Keeping pace with today's glamour world, he did and continues to do dance sequences with ease. He did his own playback singing for a few.
In 1999, Amitabh Bachchan was named the Superstar of the Millennium in a BBC Online Poll. He is the only Bollywood actor, whose wax model is showcased at Madame Tussaud's, the famous wax museum in London. In the recent past he has given hits like Baghban and was appreciated for his role in Khakee and Lakshya.