Our Amit ji was born in Allahabad on 11 October 1942. His mother, Teji Bachchan was a social activist while his father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, was a famous Hindi poet. Teji Bachchan was a Punjabi Sikh Khatri from the Punjab of British India (present-day Punjab of Pakistan). Harivansh Rai Bachchan was an Awadhi Hindu Kayastha and extremely fluent in Awadhi, Urdu, and Hindi languages. His ancestors belong to a village named Babupatti in the Raniganj Tehsil of the Pratapgarh district, Uttar Pradesh.
Do you know that Amitabh’s parents initially going to name him Inquilaab, which was inspired by the popular phrase of that time “Inquilaab Zindabad”? But the famous poet Sumitranandan Pant suggested his father for the name Amitabh. There is also a short story behind the surname “Bachchan”. Amitabh’s father used to publish his poetries with the name Bachchan (child-like), so when it comes to admitting Amitabh to the school, his father decided to write his name as “Amitabh Bachchan” instead of “Amitabh Shrivastava”. So, this is how he got his epic surname and the entire family is now following this legacy.
Amitabh Bachchan got his secondary education at Boys' High School & College in Allahabad and Sherwood College in Nainital. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Kirori Mal College at the University of Delhi. He was a friend of Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi while he was studying at the University of Delhi. Bachchan family and the Nehru-Gandhi family, both are very close to each other. When Sonia Gandhi first came to India from Italy, Amitabh Bachchan received her at the airport. She also spent several days at Bachchan’s residence before her marriage. This is because Indira Gandhi wanted to follow all the Hindu customs, thus, according to that, Sonia cannot live at Gandhi’s residence before marriage. So, Indira chose Bachchan’s residence for her future daughter-in-law.
Amitabh Bachchan applied for the role of newsreader at All India Radio but failed the audition due to his exceptionally unordinary voice. He then worked as a business executive in Kolkata before stepping into theatres. He considered his mother to be the one who put the idea of joining the cinema into his mind by insisting him that he should “take centre stage”. Then a few years after Amitabh Bachchan entered the film industry, we all know how important and dear he had become to us. Let’s see what was his journey throughout his life that has made him the most popular and everlasting Bollywood star.
Our favourite Amit ji debuted in 1969 as a voice narrator for the film “Bhuvan Shome”, which was the National Award-winning movie by Mrinal Sen. He played his acting role in “Saat Hindustani” as one of the seven protagonists. In 1971, he starred in “Anand” alongside Rajesh Khanna. Amitabh’s performance in the movie was so amazing that he won his first Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. Then, in the same year, he brilliantly played his first antagonist role in “Parwana”.
During his beginner days, many of his movies were not a great success. He has also done guest appearances for several movies like “Guddi” and “Bombay To Goa”. Bachchan ji has also narrated part of the famous Rajesh Khanna movie “Bawarchi”. In the beginning stages of his acting career, Amitabh was struggling very hard. He was considered a failed newcomer who had 12 failures and only 2 successful movies (Anand and Bombay To Goa) by the age of 30.
In 1973, Amit ji was offered a dual role in the movie “Bandhe Hath”, which he accepted happily. This was the first film in which he played a double role. In the same year, Salim-Javed were looking for someone to play the role of an angry young man for the movie “Zanjeer”. This role was turned down by many then-popular actors because they did not want to ruin their “romantic hero” image which was a dominant thing at that time. Then the duo thought about Amitabh and felt him to be the best fit for the role. This was the movie which gave him the nickname “Angry Young Man”. This became one of the most iconic movies of Amitabh Bachchan.
Movies similar to “Zanjeer”, such as “Deewaar”, “Trishul”, “Kaala Patthar” and “Shakti”, were reflecting the wrongs of society at that time, including hunger and poverty. That was the era of “THE EMERGENCY” by Indira Gandhi which distorted the social lives of the youth, and these types of roles played by Amitabh made journalists dub him as the “angry young man” as a metaphor for the dormant rage and frustration of the society.
In the year 1973, our Amit ji married Jaya ji and the couple was featured in various movies together including “Abhimaan” and “Kora Kagaz”. He played the supporting role of Vikram in the social drama “Namak Haraam” and won his second Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. By this time, Amitabh Bachchan has become a popular actor and was offered several guest appearances in movies such as “Dost” and “Kunwara Baap”. In 1974, he played another supporting role in “Roti Kapda Aur Makaan” and a lead role in “Majboor”. Both the movies were successful at the box office and bring great appreciation to his work.
Bachchan ji has become a well-recognised actor by that time and got featured in movies belonging to various genres ranging from a comedy like “Chupke Chupke” to crime dramas like “Faraar” and romantics like “Mili”. In 1975, he appeared in two of the most important Hindi cinema movies — “Deewaar” and “Sholay”. There is no introduction needed for these two movies. “Sholay” became the highest-grossing movie ever in India at that time. It has been declared the “Film of the Millennium” by BBC India while “Deewaar” was listed among the Top 25 Must-See Bollywood Films. These movies are so great in Amitabh’s career that they have become the synonym for Amitabh Bachchan. Also, these two movies led to the superstardom phase of our favourite Amit ji.
With movies like “Zanjeer”, “Sholay”, and “Deewaar”, Amitabh gained little dominance in the Indian film industry. In 1976, he was cast in a romantic family drama titled “Kabhie Kabhie” by Yash Chopra. This movie portrayed Amitabh in a romantic role which was different from his previous “angry young man” character. In his superstardom phase, he got featured in movies like “Adalat”, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, “Parvarish” and “Khoon Pasina”.
This is the phase which includes the most famous Amitabh Bachchan movies. Every Indian is highly familiar with the names of these movies and is a big fan of them. Movies like “Kasme Vaade” and “Don” offered him the opportunity to play double roles and expand his skills. He performed the roles brilliantly making the movies highly lovable among the audience. The year 1978 is considered the most successful year of Amitabh Bachchan’s career as all six releases of the year were huge successes. These movies include “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”, “Trishul”, “Don”, “Kasme Vaade”, “Ganga Ki Saugandh” and “Besharam”. The former three of these were the highest-grossing films of the year.
Amitabh has done so many movies in this phase that it is a complex task to mention every one of them here. Some of the epic Amitabh Bachchan movies from 1979 to 1987 include “Suhaag”, “Mr. Natwarlal”, “The Great Gambler”, “Kaala Patthar”, “Manzil”, “Dostana”, “Silsila”, “Shaan”, “Ram Balram”, “Naseeb”, “Lawaaris”, “Kaalia”, “Yaarana”, “Barsaat Ki Ek Raat”, “Shakti”, “Satte Pe Satta”, “Desh Premee”, “Namak Halaal”, “Coolie”, “Khud-Daar”, “Bemisal”, “Nastik”, “Pukar”, “Mard”, and “Aakhree Raasta”. Many of these movies were the highest-grossing movies of the year. Amitabh has also sung songs for his movies as a playback singer and earned great appreciation for that. This was the epitome of Amitabh Bachchan which has led to many epic Bollywood movies.
In 1982, during the shooting of a fight scene with Puneet Issar in the famous movie “Coolie”, Amitabh Bachchan met with an accident and had a near-fatal intestinal injury. There was a scene that required him to fall onto a table and then onto the ground but as he jumped towards the table, the table corner struck his abdomen leading to a splenic rupture. He lost a lot of blood and required an emergency splenectomy. He remained critically ill for several months, almost close to death. His fans and well-wishers were always present outside the hospital praying for him to get better. Fortunately, he got better and returned to filming later that year.
When you watch the movie, you can see that the movie freezes at the particular point where Amitabh got hit by the table. This was a tribute to his near-death experience during the movie shoot. In the movie, Amitabh’s character was supposed to get killed in the end but after Amitabh’s epic recovery, the director changed the ending. He felt that it would be a dishonour to Amitabh as he has cheated death in real life while his character dies. So, he changed the ending of the movie and Amitabh’s character lived.
Amitabh was also diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis which made him feel weak, both physically and mentally. He got so displeased with himself that he decided to quit movies and joined politics. He became so pessimist that he started to get concerned about the success of his new movies. He used to say “Yeh film to flop hogi!” after every release.
Amitabh made a comeback to Bollywood after a three-year diversion to politics. In 1988, he played the lead role in the box-office hit “Shahenshah”. The movie earned great reviews and its famous dialogue, “Rishte mai to hum tumhare baap lagte hai, nam hai Shahenshah”, is still in the hearts of every Indian. After this huge comeback, Amitabh was still distracted towards his health issues which lead to the failure of his later movies including “Jaadugar”, “Toofan” and “Main Azaad Hoon”. Despite these failures, he managed to perform amazingly in the 1990 crime drama “Aaj Ka Arjun” and the 1991 action crime drama “Hum”. He regained his worth in Bollywood with these movies. But unfortunately, this success was not for too long. Later movies of this time failed to perform well at the box office. Despite these fluctuations in his career, he won his first “National Film Award for Best Actor” for portraying a Mafia don in “Agneepath”. He then appeared in 1992 critically acclaimed epic “Khuda Gawah”. The ups and downs in Amitabh’s Bollywood career during this time led him to go on a semi-retirement for five years. He did not appear in any new movies for five years and moved to production activities. He made his comeback in 1998 with successful movies like “Bade Miyan Chote Miyan” and “Major Saab” and in 1999 appeared in “Sooryavansham”. His later movie in 1999, namely “Lal Baadshah” and “Hindustan Ki Kasam”, failed to get good results.
The Big B era started in 2000 after Abhishek Bachchan’s entry into the film industry. When Abhishek came to Bollywood, people began to call him “Junior B” which eventually led Amitabh to become the “Big B”. This is how our Big B got this nickname. After his amazing comeback, Amitabh appeared in the box-office hit “Mohabbatein” alongside Shahrukh Khan in 2000. He even won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film. Other of his hit movies during this time include “Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love”, “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...” and “Baghban” along with playing some critically praised roles in movies like “Aks”, “Aankhen”, “Kaante”, “Khakee” and “Dev”. In 2005, Amitabh Bachchan starred in “Black” as an ageing teacher of a deaf-blind girl and fall in love with her. His performance was so much praised in this movie that it brought several awards to his side in the Best Actor category. He also started to appear in movies with his son Abhishek Bachchan, including “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Sarkar”, and “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna” to share a bond with him. All these movies turned out to be successful. In 2007, he appeared in the romantic comedy “Cheeni Kum” and the action drama “Shootout at Lokhandwala” which resulted in a good response from the audience. This was also the year in which Amitabh appeared in his first English movie “The Last Lear” along with Arjun Rampal and Preity Zinta. This was a great success and he was cast in a supporting role for his first international film “Shantaram” starring Hollywood actor Johnny Depp but it was never actually filmed.
Amitabh Bachchan has aged by this time but his acting was still prominent in the entire Bollywood industry. He started to portray the elder roles in movies. The films of this time include “Bhoothnath”, “Bbuddah... Hoga Terra Baap”, “Bhoothnath Returns”, “Pink”, and “Sarkar 3” among others. He also starred with his son, Abhishek, and daughter-in-law, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, in “Sarkar Raj”. In 2009, Amitabh again appeared with Abhishek as his 13-year-old Progeria-affected son in “Paa”. The movie received positive reviews for their acting and became one of the top-grossing films of that year. He also made his Hollywood debut in 2013 with a special appearance in “The Great Gatsby” opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. In 2018, he starred in a very big commercial failure “Thugs Of Hindostan” along with Aamir Khan Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh. He has played various roles such as a grumpy old man in “Piku” co-starring Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan, a 102-year-old man in “102 Not Out” co-starring Rishi Kapoor, and a stingy old ghar jamai in “Gulabo Sitabo” co-starring Ayushmann Khurrana. In 2021, he got featured opposite Emraan Hashmi in the mystery thriller titled “Chehre”. Amitabh is still a prominent actor in the industry and has appeared in 5 films in the year 2022 namely “Jhund”, “Runway 34”, “Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva”, “Goodbye”, and “Uunchai”.
Does the name of the show even need to be mentioned? Everyone knows this, our favourite “Kaun Banega Crorepati” (KBC). Amitabh Bachchan has hosted all 14 seasons of the show except the third one, which was hosted by Shah Rukh Khan. This is a Hindi television game show, most popularly known because of Amitabh. The first three seasons of the show were aired on Star Plus and the later seasons on Sony Entertainment Television. In the show, the contestants are asked some general knowledge questions with four options to choose from and after giving the correct answer they are rewarded with a monetary amount. The highest reward was ₹1 Crore in the first season which got up to ₹7.5 Crores with the advancing seasons. The show comes up with a new and innovative tagline for every season to boost the morale of the players.
Amitabh Bachchan is one of the most popular Bollywood actors with an extraordinary voice, thus he has given his voice to various movies as a narrator and in other works. The following is a list of all the works in which Amitabh has given his voice.
|#||Movie Name||Releasing Year|
|2||Bombay To Goa||1972|
|7||Roti Kapada Aur Makaan||1974|
|15||Amar Akbar Anthony||1977|
|19||Muqaddar Ka Sikandar||1978|
|26||Satte Pe Satta||1982|
|35||Aaj Ka Arjun||1990|
|37||Bade Miyan Chote Miyan||1998|
|40||Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham||2001|
|45||Bunty Aur Babli||2005|
|47||Shootout At Lokhandwala||2007|
|51||Bbuddah…Hoga Terra Baap||2011|
|56||102 Not Out||2018|
|57||Thugs Of Hindostan||2018|
|60||Brahmastra – Part One: Shiva||2022|
|#||Award Name||Receiving Year||Remarks|
|1||Padma Shri||1984||India’s fourth-highest civilian award|
|2||Order of Afghanistan||1991||Given by the President of Afghanistan|
|3||Padma Bhushan||2001||India's third-highest civilian honour|
|4||Legion of Honour||2007||France's highest civilian honour from the Government of France|
|5||Padma Vibhushan||2015||India's second-highest civilian honour|
|#||Award Name||Receiving Year||Received For||Remarks|
|1||Awadh Samman||1980||_||Given by the Government of Uttar Pradesh|
|2||Yash Bharati||1994||_||The highest honour from the Government of Uttar Pradesh|
|3||"Dayawati Modi" Award||2002||_||One of the highest awards in India in the field of Art, Culture and Education|
|4||National Kishore Kumar Award||2002||Excellence in acting and his unparalleled contribution to the film industry||Given by the Government of Madhya Pradesh|
|5||"Living Legend" Award||2004||His contribution to the Indian entertainment industry.||Given by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)|
|6||Deenanath Mangeshkar Award||2005||His contribution to films and music||_|
|7||IIFA-FICCI Frames, "Most Powerful Entertainer of the Decade Award"||2009||His contribution to Indian cinema||_|
|8||"Abhinaya Chakravarthy" Award||2011||_||Given by the President of India Pratibha Patil|
|9||"Maharashtrian of the Year-the Maanbindu" Award NTR National Award||2011||His outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema||Given by the Government of Andhra Pradesh|
|10||President of India 'Medallion of Honour'||2013||His contribution to 100 Years of Indian Cinema||_|
|11||ANR National Award||2014||_||_|
|12||Dadasaheb Phalke Award||2019||_||Given by the Government of India|
|#||Award Name||Receiving Year||Received For|
|1||Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor||1972||Anand|
|2||Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor||1974||Namak Haraam|
|3||Filmfare Award for Best Actor||1978||Amar Akbar Anthony|
|4||Filmfare Award for Best Actor||1979||Don|
|5||National Film Award for Best Actor||1990||Agneepath|
|6||Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award||1991||_|
|7||Filmfare Award for Best Actor||1992||Hum|
|8||Filmfare Superstar of the Millennium Award||2000||_|
|9||IIFA Special Honorary Award||2000||_|
|10||Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor||2001||Mohabbatein|
|11||IIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor||2001||Mohabbatein|
|12||Indian Television Academy (ITA) Award for Best Host||2001||Kaun Banega Crorepati (Season 1)|
|13||Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Critics)||2002||Aks|
|14||IIFA Personality of the Year||2002||_|
|15||Screen Award for Jodi No. 1 (with Hema Malini)||2003||Baghban|
|16||Filmfare Power Award||2004||_|
|17||Stardust Special Award||2004||Baghban|
|18||National Film Award for Best Actor||2005||Black|
|19||ITA Award for Best Anchor of a Game Show||2005||Kaun Banega Crorepati (Season 2)|
|20||Filmfare Award for Best Actor||2006||Black|
|21||Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Critics)||2006||Black|
|22||IIFA Wall of Fame||2006||_|
|23||IIFA Award for Best Actor||2006||Black|
|24||Screen Award for Best Actor (Critics)||2007||Cheeni Kum|
|25||National Film Award for Best Actor||2009||Paa|
|26||Filmfare Award for Best Actor||2010||Paa|
|27||IIFA Award for Best Actor||2010||Paa|
|28||Lifetime Achievement Award during the 4th Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong||2010||_|
|29||ITA Award for Best Anchor Talk/Chat Show||2010||Bigg Boss (season 3)|
|30||Filmfare Special Award (for completing 40 years in the Indian film industry)||2011||_|
|31||ITA Award for Best Anchor Game/Quiz Show||2011||Kaun Banega Crorepati (Season 5)|
|32||Indian Telly Award for Best TV Anchor||2012||Kaun Banega Crorepati|
|33||Best Anchor Game/Quiz Show||2013||Kaun Banega Crorepati (Season 7)|
|34||National Film Award for Best Actor||2015||Piku|
|35||Stardust Award for Star of the Year– Male||2015||Piku and Shamitabh|
|36||Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Critics)||2016||Piku|
|37||Screen Award for Best Actor||2017||Pink|
|38||Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Critics)||2021||Gulabo Sitabo|
Amitabh established his production company in 1987 named “Amitabh Bachchan Corporation, Ltd.” (ABCL). The strategy was to introduce products and services for an entire cross-section of the Indian entertainment industry. It was to cover mainstream commercial movie production and distribution, producing and marketing television software, and celebrity and event management. He has moved to production activities during his semi-retirement period for 5 years. The first movie to be produced by ABCL was “Tere Mere Sapne” with moderate success. In 1997, the company produced another movie “Mrityudata”, starring Amitabh, but was a failure. ABCL became the main sponsor of the 1996 Miss World beauty pageant, in Bangalore but lost a huge amount of money. This was due to the inappropriate payment of various professionals. The company collapsed shortly after and in 1999, the Bombay High Court restrained Amitabh from selling off his Bombay bungalow “Prateeksha” and two flats until the pending loan is recovered. This era was considered the darkest time of Amitabh’s life.
He also invested in several business ventures such as “Just Dial” with a 10% stake, and “Stampede Capital” with 3.4% equity. Bachchan family has also bought $252,000 worth of shares in Meridian Tech, which is a US-based consulting company. They have also invested in a cloud-based content distribution platform “Ziddu.com” which was their first overseas investment.
From 1984 to 1987, Amitabh was diverted to political activities instead of movies. He entered the political world with a little help from his old friend, Rajiv Gandhi. He fought in the 8th Lok Sabha election against H.N. Bahuguna and won the elections with a very high margin, the highest ever in Indian election history. In 1987, there had some speculations about his involvement along with his brother, Ajitabh Bachchan, in the “Bofors scandal” which led to his resignation from his seat in July 1987. But fortunately, Ajitabh sued the Swedish newspaper “Dagens Nyheter” for this link and won damages. Amitabh’s friend Amar Singh helped in covering the financial crisis caused by the failure of his company, ABCL. Then he started supporting the political party to which Amar Singh belonged, Samajwadi Party. Jaya Bachchan also joined that party and represented it as an MP in the Rajya Sabha. There are claims that he was banned by the film press during the emergency years because of his family friendship with Indira Gandhi.
Bachchan Sahab was also accused of using the slogan “blood for blood” in relation to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, although he has denied the allegations. In 2014, he was summoned by the court in Los Angeles for “allegedly instigating violence against the Sikh community”.
Amitabh is no doubt one of the most influential actors in India and he has earned this respect through his outstanding performance in movies and charismatic presence on the screen. He has inspired a number of actors such as Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Chiranjeevi, Shah Rukh Khan, Manoj Bajpayee, Akshay Kumar Ajay Devgn, Ranveer Singh, Mohanlal, and Allu Arjun among others. In 1999, he was voted as the “greatest star of stage or screen” in a BBC online poll In the early 80s, Amitabh’s likeness led to the use of his character in the comic book series Supremo titled “The Adventures of Amitabh Bachchan”. There is also a scholarship in Australia named after Amitabh. He was dubbed as the “Undisputed Godfather of Bollywood” by TIME magazine. In 2005, Amitabh was honoured with a special tribute titled “Amitabh Bachchan: The Biggest Film Star in the World” by the “Walter Reade Theater of Lincoln Center”. In the year 2000, Amitabh Bachchan became the first living Asian to be modelled in wax at London's Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. His other statues were also installed in other cities namely New York (2009), Hong Kong (2011), Bangkok (2011), Washington, DC (2012) and Delhi (2017).
In 2008, Amitabh won the title of "Asia's Sexiest Vegetarian male" through a contest poll conducted by PETA, in 2010, he was listed by CNN among the “top 25 Asian actors of all time”, and in 2012, he was named as the "Hottest Vegetarian male" by PETA. In 2022, a not-profit-organisation Film Heritage Foundation announced a film festival on the occasion of Amitabh’s 80th Birthday. In that film festival, a collection of 11 films starring Amitabh were screened in 17 cities across the nation in limited cinema halls. Amitabh has also written a book titled “Soul Curry for You and Me – An Empowering Philosophy That Can Enrich Your Life’ in 2002. There are many books available in the market focusing on the life of Amitabh Bachchan.
Amitabh Bachchan is not only a wonderful actor but also a very generous man. He has done a lot for several social causes. He donated more than ₹1 million to clear the debt of numerous farmers in Andhra Pradesh and about ₹3 million to clear off the debts of Vidarbha farmers. He has also given ₹250,000 to the family of a Delhi policeman who died in a protest against gang rape after the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. In 2013, he founded the Harivansh Rai Bachchan Memorial Trust which in association with the Urja Foundation took the responsibility to power 3,000 homes in India with social energy. In 2002, Amitabh was made the UNICEF goodwill ambassador for the Polio Eradication Campaign in India. He has also donated a lot for the betterment of the young girls of the nation and for the Maharashtra Police Welfare Fund. In 2014, he gave his voice to the Hindi and English versions of the “TeachAids” software which is an international HIV/AIDA prevention education tool developed at Stanford University. Along with this, he was also featured in a few advertisement campaigns for the “Swachh Bharat Mission” and was the vocal brand ambassador of the mission. In the hard times of the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped the Government of India to promote public health awareness before he got infected. He has also donated Oxygen concentrators and ₹25 Crores in various forms to help the nation.
Amitabh has been married to the veteran actress Jaya Bhaduri since 1973. The couple has two children, Abhishek Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan Nanda. Abhishek is an actor and married to Aishwarya Rai (as we all know), and Shweta is an author and a journalist and married to the businessman Nikhil Nanda. Amitabh lives in Mumbai with his family. There were rumours of Amitabh having an extramarital affair with actress Rekha in the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, though they both have denied it.
Amitabh Bachchan has become a prominent Bollywood actor and is still a fine actor. He is loved by various generations. He has been in an acting career since 1969 and has been a part of countless movies in several forms such as in a lead role, in a supporting role, as a guest appearance, as a voice artist, etc. We have seen almost every aspect of the life history of Amitabh Bachchan and now we know that Amitji is not only limited to loving Bikaji. He has been a wonderful actor throughout his life and earned great respect.