On 11 October, 2014, Amitabh Bachchan turned seventy-two.
The actor who has been the face of Bollywood for almost forty years, who has seen it grow from a small industry to the behemoth it is right now, India’s most followed Twitter personality, had a quiet birthday party surrounded by his family and loved ones.
It is perhaps surprising that Amitabh Bachchan, when he first tried his luck in movies, was rejected because he was called – at various times – too tall, too lanky, lacking in heroism, and perhaps most surprisingly, even his voice was called ‘too deep’ for films. He was even rejected by All India Radio for a job as a newsreader.
He rose to stardom in 1973, at the age of thirty-one, with an ‘angry young man’ portrayal of Inspector Vijay Khanna in the movie Zanjeer. This was the first time in Bollywood’s history that a protagonist was depicted in shades of grey. Until then, all the heroes of films were in the Rajesh Khanna mould, nice guys whom you would love to take home to mother. Amitabh Bachchan was the first hero who drank, swore, beat up the bad guys, and made no apologies for any of it.
His second innings in Bollywood started with Kaun Banega Crorepati, a TV show modelled after ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire?’ Starting from then, he became an extremely busy professional actor, working in varied roles in various movies. He is the busiest of the ‘Golden Era’ actors working today.
We wish him a very happy birthday, and hope that he continues to enthral us with his performances.

Divya Singh

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