In 1969, after being urged by his mother, Amitabh debuted in Hindi cinema as a voice narrator in director Mrinal Sen's project 'Bhuvan Shome.' The movie, starring famous actor Utpal Dutt, won the prestigious ‘National Award.’
The same year, he acted alongside Utpal Dutt, Jalal Agha, Anwar Ali, and Madhu in the movie 'Saat Hindustani.’
In 1971, he played a supporting role in Rajesh Khanna-starrer 'Anand.' His portrayal of a pessimistic doctor was critically acclaimed. He went on to act in movies like ‘Reshma Aur Shera’ and ‘Parwana.’ He also played a cameo in Jaya Bhaduri-starrer ‘Guddi.’
S. Ramanathan's film 'Bombay to Goa,' which released in 1972, saw Bachchan playing a comic role.
In 1973, the action crime film 'Zanjeer,' directed by Prakash Mehra, was released. In the movie, he played ‘Inspector Vijay Khanna,’ the protagonist's role. He was paired opposite Jaya Bhaduri, and was well-supported by Pran. The movie was a big hit and established Amitabh as Bollywood's ‘angry young man.’
His portrayal of ‘Vikram’ in 'Namak Haraam,' which was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, won him many accolades.
During the next two years, the brilliant actor starred in box-office hits like 'Majboor,' which was inspired by Hollywood movie 'Zig Zag.' He also did movies like 'Chupke Chupke,' 'Mili,' and 'Faraar.' By acting in movies of different genres, he established himself in the Indian film industry.
The year 1975 proved to be an important one in his career as two of his cult movies, namely ‘Deewaar’ and 'Sholay' released that year. ‘Deewaar’ co-starred Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, and Nirupa Roy, while 'Sholay' had an ensemble cast of Sanjeev Kumar, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, and Jaya Bachchan. 'Sholay' was a huge box office success and earned INR 350 million.
In 1976, he acted in Yash Chopra's movie 'Kabhi Kabhie,' where he played a romantic role. In the movie, his character falls in love with a woman who eventually marries another man. This love-triangle also starred Rakhee and Shashi Kapoor, both popular actors at the time.
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The following year, his portrayal of ‘Anthony Gonsalves’ in 'Amar Akbar Anthony,' alongside Rishi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna, was appreciated by many. 'Amar Akbar Anthony' became one of the highest-grossing movies.
Bachchan's voice, which is considered to be his most important asset, caught the attention of the popular Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Ray cast him as a narrator in his movie 'Shatranj Ke Khilari,' which released in 1977.
During the next few years, he played lead roles in successful movies, including ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar,’ 'Trishul,' 'Kasme Vaade,' and 'Don.' 'Don' and 'Kasme Vaade' saw him playing double roles. 'Don' went on to become one of the most successful movies in his career. He also acted in 'Suhaag,' 'Kaala Patthar,' 'Mr. Natwarlal,' and 'The Great Gambler.'
During 1980-82, Amitabh delivered impressive performances in films like 'Dostana,' 'Silsila,' 'Lawaaris,' 'Desh Premee,' 'Naseeb,' and 'Satte Pe Satta.'
On July 26, 1982, while filming an action sequence for 'Coolie,' Bachchan got badly hurt, and lost a lot of blood after rupturing a spleen in the abdomen. After taking a break, he shot the rest of the film, which released the following year. 'Coolie' was well-received by the audience and became one of the most popular movies at the time.
In 1983, he started suffering from Myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune neuromuscular disease, which hampered his work as an actor. During this time, he took a break from acting and dabbled in politics.
In 1984, the actor ventured into politics, and supported the then-Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He won the eighth ‘Lok Sabha’ elections from the Allahabad constituency, but retired from politics three years later.
Amitabh returned to movies with the leading role in 'Shahenshah' in 1988. The movie was a hit. However, he followed it up with a string of box-office duds, such as 'Toofan,' 'Jaadugar,' and 'Main Azaad Hoon.'
From 1990 to 1992, he acted in movies like 'Agneepath,' 'Khuda Gawah,' and 'Hum.' Thereafter, he once again took a break from acting. He became a producer by launching his company, 'Amitabh Bachchan Corporation, Ltd' (ABCL). The company produced a few box-office failures, including Arshad Warsi and Simran-starrer 'Tere Mere Sapne.' Subsequently, the company suffered heavy losses.
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The period between 2000 and 2005 saw Bachchan's comeback as an actor as he played prominent roles in blockbuster movies like 'Mohabbatein,' 'Ek Rishtaa: The Bond of Love,' 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...,' 'Baghban,' 'Khakee,' 'Bunty Aur Babli,' and 'Black.'
'Black' depicted the complex relationship between a deaf-mute-blind girl and her teacher, portrayed by Amitabh.
During the same period, the gifted actor presented a TV show called 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' (KBC), which became one of the most-viewed television shows in India. The show was adapted from the English game show 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,' hosted by TV broadcaster Chris Tarrant.
In 2005, he lent his voice to the Academy Award-winning French documentary 'March of the Penguins,' which was directed by Luc Jacquet.
The next few years, he acted in movies like 'Sarkar,' 'Baabul,' 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna,’ 'Nishabd,' 'Cheeni Kum,' and 'Shootout at Lokhandwala.' 'Sarkar' was loosely based on Mario Puzo's bestselling novel, 'The Godfather.'
In 2007, the celebrated actor was cast in director Rituparno Ghosh's English language movie 'The Last Lear.' The movie and his performance were critically acclaimed at the 'Toronto International Film Festival.'
The popular actor was cast alongside Johnny Depp in Mira Nair's 'Shantaram.' However, the movie has not seen the light of day yet. In 2008, he appeared in 'Bhoothnath,' portraying the role of a ghost. He was also cast in 'Sarkar Raj,' a sequel to 'Sarkar.'
The following year, he presented 'Bigg Boss,' a national television reality show. He also starred in a successful movie titled 'Paa,' where he played the role of a 12-year-old kid suffering from a rare degenerative disorder called progeria.
In 2010, he starred in his first Malayalam movie 'Kandahar,' alongside famous actor Mohanlal.
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In 2013, he portrayed the character of ‘Meyer Wolfsheim’ in the Hollywood movie 'The Great Gatsby' where he appeared alongside Toby Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio. The next year, he acted in a Hindi TV series titled 'Yudh,' essaying the character of a businessman.
Throughout his career, this actor has lent his voice for movies like 'Balika Badhu,' 'Lagaan,' 'Parineeta,' 'Jodhaa Akbar,' 'Kahaani,' and 'Krrish 3.'
In 2018, he was cast to play an important role in a film titled ‘Jhund.’ The following year, he was cast to play ‘Amrish Malhotra’ in a family comedy-drama film titled ‘Gulabo Sitabo.’
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1973, Amitabh Bachchan got married to Jaya Bhaduri, a famous actor in her own right. In fact, she was popular even before Amitabh started hogging the limelight. The couple has a son, Abhishek, and a daughter, Shweta.
Shweta is married to a business magnate named Nikhil Nanda, while Abhishek is married to former Miss World and actor Aishwarya Rai. Abhishek and Aishwarya have a daughter named Aradhya.
In 2000, ‘Madame Tussauds’ sculpted Bachchan's wax statue, making him the first Asian to have the honor. Other regions like New York, Hong Kong, and Washington D.C. too house his statues.
In 2003, French city Deauville presented him an honorary citizenship.
This actor is known for his philanthropic activities, including his monetary help of 11 and 30 lakh rupees to farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively.
In 2002, the ‘UNICEF’ chose him as the ambassador for its campaign of educating the people of India about polio eradication. Even today, he appears in all their TV campaigns, urging young mothers to vaccinate their infants. In 2014, India was declared a polio-free nation by the 'World Health Organization.'
Meanwhile, in 2013, he established the 'HRB Memorial Trust,' named after his father. The actor also supports the 'Save Our Tigers' campaign, and is an ardent supporter of 'People for Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA).