Kochi: The Angry young man of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, turned 79 today even as countless of followers wished him a healthy, prosperous and happy life. Born to poet Harivanshrai Bachchan and social activist Teja Bachchan on this day in October 1942 at Allahabad in UttarPradesh, Bachchan came up the hard way facing ups and downs.
Aiming to become an engineer, the six footer landed in the tinsel town as it was his destiny. Despite enduring sarcasms from filmmakers on his appearance and personality in the early stage of his career, Amitabh remained undeterred and pursued his goal to cherish his dream. A series of 12 consecutive flops did not make a dent on his march towards success.
Making a humble beginning in low profile films like ‘Reshma aur Shera’ and ‘Saat Hindustani’, Bachchan has come a long way to reach the present position. He got a remuneration of Rs 5000 for his performance in the 1969 film ‘Saat Hindustani’ in which he acted alongside Malayalam actor Madhu.
Despite facing tough competition from veteran actor Rajesh Khanna, Bachchan worked hard to make big hits like’Anand’, ‘Namak Haraam’, ‘Zanzeer’, ‘Deewar’ ‘Anurag’. He got the decisive break in the legendary film ‘Sholay’ that catapulted him to the crescendo of popularity. For this he had thanked actor Dharmendra whom he had lobbied for getting a role in ‘Sholay’ even as the stakeholders were looking for other stars for the role. Thereafter there was no looking back until 1984 when he suffered a near fatal blow while shooting for
‘Coolie’. Post recovery, Bachchan remained mellowed down until he got a call from late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to contest lok sabha elections from Allahabad against former Chief Minister and seasoned politician H N Bahuguna. This was his second blunder. Though he thrashed Bahuguna in the hustings, he landed in controversies related to getting kickbacks in Bofors arms deal forcing him to take sanyas from Parliament and return to his original area of operation where he bounced back in no time.
Things looked pink until 1995 when he took the third worst decision of his life to become an entrepreneur by pledging even his house to start the ABCL. The business collapsed leaving him a pauper. He went in search of offers and got one with Shahrukh Khan in ‘Mohabbatein’ that gave him some respite from the serious financial crisis . Finally it was Kaun Banega Crorepati or KBC, a Hindi adaptation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ that brought him around.
He has penned a number of books. He has done more than 200 films and won a number of awards. The prominent among them are Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Padma Vibhushan , Legion of Honour, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri. He has become an indispensable part of the Indian film industry and the French director François Truffaut rightly called him a “one-man industry”.