The iconic legend of Bollywood, the man who needs no introduction - Amitabh Bachchan. Born on October 11, 1942, this legendary actor has been ruling the silver screen for decades, and his aura is timeless.
Amitabh Bachchan wasn't always the towering presence he is today. His early career in the 1970s was rather shaky. But it was the film "Zanjeer" (1973) that catapulted him into stardom. In this gritty film, he played the iconic character Inspector Vijay, signaling the birth of the 'Angry Young Man' persona that would define his career. Gen Z might not have been around when the movie was released, but we've all grown up hearing about the fearless Vijay and his resonant dialogue, "Yeh police station hai, tumhare baap ka ghar nahi" (This is a police station, not your father's house).
Amitabh's journey was never smooth sailing. He faced his share of ups and downs, and his iconic roles often echoed his real-life struggles. His signature baritone voice and tall stature became synonymous with resilience. "Rishtey mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hain" (In relation, I am your father) from "Shahenshah" (1988) is another dialogue etched in our hearts, reminding us of his tenacious spirit.
Imagine a world without Amitabh Bachchan's charisma. Impossible, right? He's more than an actor; he's a phenomenon. "Kaun Banega Crorepati" (KBC), India's version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," is an example of how he's adapted to connect with our generation. His hosting style in KBC is relatable, engaging, and charismatic, making him the perfect host for a show that's all about millennial dreams.
One of the charming anecdotes that connect us with Amitabh Bachchan is his active presence on social media. The man doesn't just post run-of-the-mill updates but engages with his fans in a way that's truly refreshing. His witty and heartwarming tweets resonate with our generation's values of authenticity and humility.
Here's another gem: When a fan asked him on Twitter about his biggest learning in life, he replied, "The most important learning that you can take from me is not to be like me." It's not just a life lesson but a prime example of his humility, which speaks to our generation's aspiration for genuine role models.
Let's take a look at his filmography. Here are five of his most iconic roles:
1. "Sholay" (1975):
"Sholay" is not just a film; it's a cultural phenomenon. Amitabh Bachchan played the role of 'Jai,' a character who etched his name in Indian cinema. Legend has it that during the filming of the famous train scene, the bridge wasn't sturdy enough, and Amitabh's life hung in the balance. With nerves of steel, he completed the scene, making it one of the most thrilling moments in Bollywood history.
2. "Deewar" (1975):
"Deewar" is a classic in every sense of the word. Amitabh's portrayal of 'Vijay' is a standout performance. Anecdotes from the set reveal that the famous "Mere paas maa hai" (I have my mother) line was an improvisation. It wasn't in the script, but Amitabh's heartfelt delivery turned it into one of the most iconic movie dialogues in Bollywood history.
3. "Zanjeer" (1973):
Amitabh Bachchan's rise to stardom can be traced back to "Zanjeer." During the making of this film, director Prakash Mehra was initially hesitant to cast him. But Amitabh's grit and determination won the day. Legend has it that he wore the same pair of trousers throughout the entire shoot to get into the skin of the character. His rugged persona as 'Inspector Vijay' was a game-changer.
4. "Don" (1978):
"Don" showcased Amitabh Bachchan in a double role as the suave 'Don' and the simple 'Vijay.' The film's iconic dialogue, "Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, namumkin hai" (Catching Don is not just difficult, it's impossible), remains etched in our memories. Interestingly, Amitabh was initially hesitant about the double role but embraced the challenge and delivered a masterful performance.
5. "Shahenshah" (1988):
"Shahenshah" is where Amitabh Bachchan became a true superhero. The film's dialogue, "Rishtey mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hain" (In relation, I am your father), is the stuff of legend. On set, Amitabh's presence was so imposing that even the villains in the film admitted to feeling a little intimidated in his presence.
As Amitabh matured as an actor and as society evolved, so did his roles. He embraced more nuanced and realistic characters, moving away from the larger-than-life personas of his early career. This transition is particularly evident in films like "Piku" (2015), where he played an aging father dealing with everyday issues.
In "Piku," Amitabh Bachchan played the character of Bhashkor Banerjee, a grumpy, aging father who suffers from chronic constipation. This role was a refreshing departure from his usual 'Angry Young Man' persona, and it showcased his versatility as an actor. The film, directed by Shoojit Sircar and written by Juhi Chaturvedi, is a delightful family drama that explores the complexities of the parent-child relationship. What makes Amitabh's role in "Piku" iconic is the authenticity and depth he brought to the character. Bhashkor Banerjee is not your typical Bollywood hero or a larger-than-life figure. He's a senior citizen dealing with the everyday issues of aging, and Amitabh portrayed this with remarkable grace and subtlety.
One of the most memorable aspects of Amitabh's performance is his impeccable Bengali accent. He perfected the nuances of the Bengali language and culture, which added an extra layer of authenticity to his character. This attention to detail is what sets Amitabh Bachchan apart as a legendary actor.
The chemistry between Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone, who played the titular character, Piku, was one of the film's highlights. Their on-screen father-daughter relationship felt genuine, and it was heartwarming to watch their banter and emotional moments unfold.
Moreover, "Piku" was not just a film; it was a conversation starter. It touched upon themes that are relatable to many in the audience - the challenges of caring for aging parents, the balance between personal and professional life, and the importance of family bonds.
Amitabh Bachchan's role in "Piku" was a beautiful reminder that he continues to evolve as an actor, even after decades in the industry. He showcased the emotional depth and versatility that has made him an enduring legend in Indian cinema.
In "Pink," Amitabh Bachchan played Deepak Sehgal, a lawyer who represents three young women in a high-profile court case. The film addressed complex issues like consent, women's rights, and societal prejudices. Amitabh's character was pivotal in conveying the film's strong feminist message, and his portrayal highlighted the importance of respecting and upholding women's rights.
In Gulabo-Sitabo (2020) comedy-drama, Amitabh Bachchan played the role of Mirza, an eccentric landlord. The film explored the nuances of human behavior, greed, and relationships. Amitabh's performance was both humorous and thought-provoking, further expanding his repertoire.
These mature roles show Amitabh Bachchan's ability to adapt and continue to be a prominent figure in Bollywood. He's not confined by any particular genre or image, but instead, he embraces the changing landscape of Indian cinema and continues to deliver compelling performances that resonate with audiences of all generations. So, the next time you hear "Mere paas maa hai" (I have my mother) from "Deewar" (1975), remember that it's not just a line but a reminder of Amitabh Bachchan's enduring legacy in the hearts of Gen Z-ers like us. Here's to the man who continues to steal our hearts with his charm, charisma, and timeless appeal. Amitabh Bachchan, you truly are the 'Shahenshah' of Bollywood!