wiki:Amitabh Bachchan

Version 3 (modified by Lawrence Liang, 12 years ago) (diff)


Amitabh Bachchan (b. 1942)

Hindi cinema’s biggest star actor. Born in Allahabad, son of noted Hindi poet Harivanshrai Bachchan. Former stage actor, radio announcer and freight company executive in Calcutta. Although he initially had difficulties being accepted as an actor, his productions eventually determined the health of the whole Hindi film industry. Abbas gave him his first role in Saat Hindustani; next came a voice-over for Sen’s Bhuvan Shome (1969). Later, he also did the voice-over for Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977). Eventually became the superstar of the mid-70s TV, radio and the press issued daily bulletins on his health when he suffered a near-fatal accident in 1982 while shooting Coolie. In early Gulzar- scripted and Hrishikesh Mukherjee-directed films (Anand, Namak Haram) and in Saudagar, based on Narendranath Mitra’s story, Bachchan is presented as a brooding, melancholic anti-hero drawn from Bengali literary stereotypes traceable to novelist Saratchandra Chattopadhyay and brought into Hindi film by Nitin Bose, Bimal Roy and Asit Sen.

In this respect, he is in the tradition of Dilip Kumar (e.g. Deedar, 1951), Sunil Dutt (Sujata, 1959; Gaban, 1966) and Dharmendra (Satyakam, 1969). His persona of the angry youth was elaborated in directly political language in Zanjeer, the first of his big vendetta films. Expanded in the films of Prakash Mehra and Yash Chopra, Bachchan’s image reorganised the formulaic melodrama around the clash between the laws of kinship and the laws of the state, requiring the hero to become an outlaw governed by a higher code of conduct. In Deewar and Trishul this conflict still constituted the films’ main theme but it quickly became a mere plot device, while a more directly political discourse began to insinuate itself into the films via the repeated references to the early 70s working class agitations (which culminated in the 1974 railway strike preceding the Emergency in 1975), as in e.g. Kala Patthar.

Other topical and politically loaded references invoked threats of national economic destabilisation in e.g. Trishul, Shakti and Mr. Natwarlal. The melodramatic plot structure also lent itself well to the enactment of the fantasy of the lumpen rebel-vigilante who achieves great personal success, at times turning the film into a gigantic masquerade (esp. with Manmohan Desai). In addition to his own charismatic presence and his sonorous voice, an important component in several Bachchan films is the Salim-Javed script. Bachchan’s persona is often defined by two female figures: the melodramatic mother who symbolises the family and the ‘liberated’ woman as personified by Parveen Babi (Deewar), Zeenat Aman (Don), and their clones (e.g. Amrita Singh in Mard).

Inquilab was released as part of his election campaign: the climax showed him slaughtering a group of corrupt politicians. Elected MP for Allahabad supporting Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress (I) in 1984, but he soon abandoned politics. After Shahenshah and his return to cinema, some of his films’ unofficial budgets made them the most expensive Indian films ever. In the late 80s his popularity declined but revived with Hum (and other Mukul Anand films) showing the star coming to terms with the ageing process. His wife, the actress Jaya Bhaduri, stopped acting after their marriage, except for one noted appearance with her husband in Silsila (returning with Nihalani’s Hazar Chourasi Ki Maa, 1998). In 1995, founded the controversial ABCL (Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited) as an entertainment conglomerate for merchandising himself and other celebrities as a brand name, creating and marketing TV software, producing and distributing films, making audio products under his ‘Big-B’ label, and event management.

Initially billed as the first significant effort in India to corporatise India’s chaotic entertainment industry (cf. Businessworld 1-14 Nov 1995 cover feature ‘Bachchan’s Business Blueprint’), ABCL had a major setback when the ‘Miss World 1996’ contest, hosted by them in Bangalore, led to a political and financial controversy. Following the disastrous reception of his ‘comeback’ film, Mehul Kumar’s Mrityudaata (1997) produced by ABCL, the company has faced a severe crisis forcing it to sell its ‘Big-B’ record label and its ‘Star Track’ talent bank, leading to questions about the survival of the company.

FILMOGRAPHY: 1969: Saat Hindustani; 1970: Anand; 1971: Parwana; Pyar Ki Kahani; Reshma Aur Shera; Sanjog; Guddi; 1972: Bombay To Goa; Bansi Birju; Ek Nazar; Raaste Ka Patthar; Jaban; 1973: Abhimaan; Bandhe Haath; Namak Haram; Saudagar; Zanjeer; Gehri Chaal; 1974: Benaam; Kasauti; Kunwara Baap; Majboor; Roti Kapda Aur Makaan; Dost; 1975: Chupke Chupke; Deewar; Faraar; Mili; Sholay; Zameer; Chhotisi Baat; 1976: Adalat; Do Anjaane; Hera Pheri; Kabhie Kabhie; 1977: Alaap; Amar Akbar Anthony; Imaan Dharam; Khoon Pasina; Parvarish; Khatta Meetha; Charandas; 1978: Besharam; Don; Ganga Ki Saugandh; Kasme Vaade; Muqaddar Ka Sikandar; Trishul; 1979: Golmaal; Jurmana; Kala Patthar; Manzil; Mr Natwarlal; Suhaag; The Great Gambler; 1980: Do Aur Do Paanch; Ram Balram; Shaan; Dostana; 1981: Barsaat Ki Ek Raat/Anusandhan?; Chashme Buddoor; Kaliya; Lawaris; Naseeb; Silsila; Yaarana; Satte Pe Satta; Vilayati Babu; 1982: Bemisal; Desh Premi; Khuddar; Namak Halal; Shakti; 1983: Andha Kanoon; Coolie; Mahaan; Nastik; Pukar; 1984: Inquilab; Sharabi; 1985: Giraftaar; Mard; Aakhri Raasta; 1986: Jalwa; 1987: Kaun Jeeta Kaun Hara; 1988: Shahenshah; Soorma Bhopali; Ganga Jamuna Saraswati; Hero Hiralal; 1989: Toofan; Jadugar; Main Azaad Hoon; 1990: Agneepath; Aaj Ka Arjun; Krodh; 1991: Hum; Ajooba; Indrajit; Akela; 1992: Khuda Gawah; 1994: Insaniyat.