Amitabh Bachchan completes 50 years in Bollywood: The journey of a 'Shehanshah'
Amitabh Bachchan's journey of five decades to become the Bollywood 'Shahenshah' was not always a smooth ride. Indeed, his life is nothing short of brilliant biopic material. Early rejections were followed by a phase when he made his mark as a promising actor which was soon overshadowed by the kind of superstardom Bollywood never saw before or after. Today, he is the face of Indian cinema all over the world and as he completes 50 glorious years in the film industry, here's a look back at his journey.
The lukewarm debut
'Saat Hindustani', released on November 7 1969 marked his debut in Bollywood. The son of celebrated poet Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan started his journey as one of seven protagonists in the film, which didn't exactly mark a blockbuster debut.
The tall, dark new actor
Early films, which also included 'Chupke Chupke' and 'Abhimaan', could be termed as the Hrishikesh Mukherjee era. By the time Bachchan was co-starring with Rajesh Khanna in Mukherjee's 1973 release 'Namak Haraam', people had already started talking of the tall, dark and brooding actor as the man who would be Bollywood's next king.
The reigning superstar
The first time he was seriously noticed was when he essayed a supporting role in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Rajesh Khanna starrer 'Anand' 1971. Despite the presence of Khanna, the reigning superstar of the times, Bachchan grabbed attention in the role of Dr Bhaskar Banerjee.
Angry Young Man
Rooted deep in angst and emotions attached to middle-class India, and delving into complex aspects of human lives, Bollywood`s 'Angry Young Man' was born in Prakash Mehra's 1973 hit, 'Zanjeer'.
Crown movies of Bachchan's career
The films, riding on the powerful writing by Salim Khan and Javed Akthar- scripts that would go on to define Bachchan's 'Angry Young Man' image were 'Deewar', 'Sholay', 'Trishul', 'Don', 'Kaala Patthar', 'Dostana', 'Shaan' and 'Shakti'. These films mark the zenith of the actor's superstardom, cementing his permanent position in the industry.
As he was busy making his mark, he was struck with the accident on the 'Coolie' set, but that didn`t deter him to lose focus from his goal. The film went on to be a big hit when it released in 1983.
After decades of hard work, the actor won his first National Award for 'Agneepath' in 1990.
Slump in career
The slowdown started sometime in the mid-nineties after he launched his company, Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL). Unfortunately, his entrepreneurial dreams failed which also affected his box-office performances.
Television debut and the comeback
After passing tough few years of his career, Big B made his Television debut as he turned quiz master for 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' in 2000. The popularity of the quiz show helped him find a solid footing in the industry once again and Big B was celebrated in this new role.
Awards, newer characters
Big B subsequently won three more National Awards. For 'Black' 2005, 'Paa' 2009 and 'Piku' 2015. The superstar has now been honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his immense contribution to Indian cinema.
Despite being 77, he continues to be one of Bollywood's busiest actors. His upcoming line-up includes 'Chehre', 'Gulabo Sitabo', 'Brahmastra', 'Jhund' and 'Aankhen 2'. Big B's tryst with honing his craft continues, with the eagerness of a newcomer, which is visible in every new film. Perhaps that is the secret of his excellence and survival.