Amitabh Bachchan
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Early Life

Inquilab Se Bachchan Tak

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Amitabh Bachchan’s application was rejected by St Stephen’s College, so he studied BSc at Kirorimal College in Delhi University from 1959 - 62.

Bachchan was also rejected at All India Radio (AIR) where he auditioned to be a radio presenter.

The man who rejected Bachchan at AIR was none other than the legendary radio announcer Ameen Sayani.

Bachchan studied at Boys’ High School and College in Allahabad and finished his schooling at Sherwood College, Nainital.

He was interested in acting ever since he was a child in kindergarten.In his first stage appearance he played a chicken flapping his wings to a nursery rhyme.

At the age of 15, Bachchan won his first Best Actor trophy for a school play. In 1958 he was selected to play the role of a 60-year-old judge in the Agatha Christie play ‘And Then There Were None’

He was keen on winning the Best Actor trophy again, BUT he was down with measles and could not perform on stage. His father visited him in his hostel at the time and gave him a piece of advice that he would hold on to for the rest of his life:

“Mann ka ho toh achcha
Aur na ho toh aur achcha”

Born on
11 October 1942
in Allahabad to poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and social activist, Teji Singh Bachchan. He was named Inquilab Srivastava.

They named him Inquilab inspired by the slogan 'Inquilab Zindabad' chanted during India's freedom movement. Later, on their friend and poet Sumitranandan Pant’s suggestion he was named Amitabh. Then the surname Srivastava was dropped in favour of his dad Harivansh Rai’s pen name ‘Bachchan’.

And hence the world now knows him as ‘Amitabh Bachchan

After being rejected by AIR, Bachchan went to Calcutta in search of a job and worked at as an executive at Bird & Co - his first salary was Rs 480.

Bachchan visited coal mines in Asansol and Dhanbad as part of his job. Observing the tragic living conditions and accidents that the coal mine workers had to deal with daily depressed him. He later channelled these emotions in his film Kaala Patthar in which he played a coal mine worker.

(Still from movie “Kaala Patthar”)Bachchan continued to do theatre while he was in Calcutta.

He applied for the Filmfare Madhuri Talent Contest to enter the film industry - his application was rejected.

Bachchan moved to Bombay and did not stop trying till he landed a role in Saat
Hindustani.

During his early years as a struggling actor in Mumbai, it was comedian Mehmood who saw Amitabh Bachchan’s potential. Bachchan often used to stay at Mehmood’s house and borrow his car for his night-out with friends. After a number of flops when Bachchan decided to quit acting, it was Mehmood who offered him a lead role in his film Bombay to Goa and Zanjeer. The film which released in 1972 went on to become a super hit and Bachchan was noticed in it by writers Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar who offered him Zanjeer after it was rejected by Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand.
Zanjeer then gave us the Angry Young AB.

Amitabh as Shahenshah

When Shahenshah resumed after Bachchan returned, Anand added the metallic arm to the costume - an idea he got after seeing a fencing costume.

Amitabh Bachchan’s Shahenshah costume weighed 14 kilos because of the metallic accessory on Bachchan’s right arm. Director Tinnu Anand had earlier designed an all leather black costume for Bachchan with just a rope around his shoulder.

The costume was made by Bachchan’s designer Akbar but when the actor fell ill due to myasthenia gravis and the film got shelved, he gave it away for a Jeetendra film.

Amitabh in Saara Zamaana

The actor was inspired by a Robert Redford film that he had seen. There was a switch in Bachchan’s hand using which he could on and off the bulbs according to the beats of the song.

The song “Saara Zamaana…” from Yaarana, was shot at the then recently constructed Netaji Subhas Chandra stadium in Calcutta on Amitabh Bachchan’s suggestion. The idea to have light bulbs on the jacket was also Bachchan’s idea.

Amitabh in Deewar

Amitabh Bachchan’s knotted blue shirt as a dock yard worker in Deewar was the result of a tailoring error. It was the first day of shoot and the camera was all set to roll when Bachchan discovered that his shirt delivered by the costume designer was too long, it almost reached his knees. Since they could not wait till the shirt was altered, Bachchan just tied the ends up in a knot across his waist. And it became a trend-setter.

Amitabh in Coolie

786 - Amitabh Bachchan’s license number as a dockyard worker from Deewar is carried on to Coolie where his porter number with Western Railways is again 786 - a holy number in Islam, which writers Salim-Javed (Deewar) and Kader Khan (Coolie) made iconic in popular culture.

In Deewar the metallic badge with 786 inscribed on it saves Vijay (Bachchan) from a bullet, however when the badge accidentally drops out, he is shot at and killed. In Coolie, Iqbal (Bachchan) writes 786 on the pillar of a dargah with his blood before passing out in the hands of his mother, and later recovers after a surgery.

Amitabh in Zanjeer

Amitabh Bachchan reportedly introduced denims to Bollywood. His denim jacket and jeans worn in a scene in which he confronts Ajit in Zanjeer popularised the fabric in India when the film released in 1973. Bachchan and Dharmendra’s denims seen two years later in Sholay made it a huge fashion trend.

SELECT A VIDEO REEL
Don
Deewar
Kaalia
Shahenshah
Namak Halal
Anand
Sholay
Sharabi
Zanjeer
Pink
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Rang Barse
O Sathi Re
My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves
Khayike Paan Banaras Wala
Pardesia
Dekha Ek Khwab Song
Tere Mere Milan Ki Yeh Raina
Mere Angne Mein
Mere Paas Aao Mere Dosto
Do Lafzon Ki Hai Dil Ki Kahani
Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein
Jumma chumma de de
Meet Na Mila Re Mann Ka
Mach Gaya Shor Sari Nagri Re
Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain
Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge
Aaj Rapat Jaye To Hame Na
Ke Pag Ghunghroo Bandh Meera
Ek Roz Main Tadapkar
Tere Jaisa Yaar Kahan
Sara Zamana Haseeno Ka Deewana
Dilbar Mere Kab Tak Mujhe
Aye Yaar Sun Yaari Teri
Janu Meri Jaan
Jahan Teri Yeh Nazar Hai
Kajra Re
Tum Saath Ho Jab
Rothe Hue Aate Hain Sab

Rekha  

Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha were known as Bollywood's golden couple because of their on-screen chemistry. Starting with Do Anjaane in 1976, they have featured together in numerous hits over the years including Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Mr Natwarlal, Khoon Pasina, and Suhaag. When rumours of Amitabh and Rekha's love affair were at a peak, filmmaker Yash Chopra made a casting coup by casting them in Silsila along with Jaya Bachchan. Chopra had initially signed Parveen Babi and Smita Patil for the roles of Rekha and Jaya Bachchan respectively, but later consulted Amitabh, who convinced Rekha and Jaya to do the film.

"I have yet to come across a single man, woman, child who can help but fall completely, passionately, insanely, desperately, hopelessly in love with him (Amitabh Bachchan). So why should I be singled out?"
- Rekha -

Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan

Jaya Bhaduri and Amitabh Bachchan met for the first time at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. However, they were introduced to each other on the sets of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Guddi and sparks flew when they acted together in Ek Nazar (1972), their second film after Bansi aur Birju. While they were dating, Amitabh and Jaya planned a trip to London after the success of Zanjeer, however, Bachchan's parents said they would be allowed to go together only if they get married. They got married on 3 June 1973 and left for London soon after. Amitabh and Jaya have been cast in several popular films together including Mili, Abhimaan, Chupke Chupke, Silsila, Sholay, and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.

"I was introduced to him on the sets of Guddi. I was impressed by him and somewhat in awe as he was Harivanshrai Bachchan's son. I felt he was different, though people laughed at me when I said that. I expressed my feelings and said he's going to make it big, even though I was aware he wasn't the usual stereotype hero. I fell in love with him very soon."
- Jaya Bachchan -

Rakhee  

Amitabh Bachchan and Rakhee were paired together for the first time in Yash Chopra's Kabhi Kabhie (1976), following which they appeared in several popular films including Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Trishul, and Kaala Patthar. In In 1982, Rakhee played Bachchan's romantic interest in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Bemisal and his mother in Ramesh Sippy's Shakti.

"I played Amitabh's mother in Shakti at the same time that I was shooting for Bemisal, playing his love interest. Shakti was a good script by Salim-Javed and I was getting to work with Ramesh Sippy as director, so why wouldn’t I do it? I took it up as a challenge, without any worries about whether I’d still get to be Amitabh’s heroine and asked the director to keep an eye on the way I look at him. Amitabh prepared for it in his own way too and there was nothing amusing about it."
- Rakhee -

Zeenat Aman  

Don, The Great Gambler, Dostana, Laawaris, and Pukar were among Zeenat Aman and Amitabh Bachchan's biggest hits together in the 1970s and 80s. Zeenat was the first actress Bachchan filmed with after his near-fatal accident during Coolie. Zeenat and Amitabh shot for the song 'Samundar mein nahakar...' from the film Pukar after he resumed shooting.

"One thing that stands out in my memory is the time we had to shoot the song 'Khaike paan Benareswala...' at Mehboob Studio for Don. It was the last add-on to the film. He was so keen about giving his best that he kept asking for ‘one more’ shot until it was absolutely perfect."
- Zeenat Aman -

Bachchan’s Near Fatal Accident on the Sets of Coolie in 1982

On 26 July 1982 - Amitabh Bachchan suffered a near-fatal intestinal injury during a fight sequence on the sets of Manmohan Desai’s Coolie in Bengaluru.

Arvind Pandya, a Bachchan fan from Gujarat, ran backwards for over 800kms from Vadodara to the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai and back as a prayer for the star's recovery after his near-fatal accident on the sets of Coolie. Bachchan met Pandya at his residence 'Prateeksha' in Mumbai after he recovered.

Bachchan's co-actor Puneet Issar mistimed a fake punch that landed the star onto the corner of an iron table that struck his abdomen. The injury caused a rupture in his intestines resulting in loss of blood and fluids.

Bachchan was admitted to the St Philomena's Hospital in a critical condition where an emergency surgery was conducted. He was later flown to Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital. There was a huge crowd of fans, well-wishers outside the hospital praying for his recovery for several weeks.

The doctors at Breach Candy Hospital were able to revive Bachchan on 2 August, and this date is celebrated as Big B's second birthday by fans.

After a long intensive treatment, Bachchan returned home on 24 September, two months after the accident.

Bachchan resumed shooting for Coolie in January 1983. According to the original script of Coolie, Bachchan was to die in the end, but director Manmohan Desai changed the ending of the film because he felt that his star had fought death for real and survived, he should stay alive in the film too.

Coolie released on 2 December 1983 and became the top grossing film of the year.

When Coolie played in cinema halls, the film freezes during the shot in which Amitabh Bachchan gets injured.

Zanjeer (1973)
Movie Trivia

Amitabh Bachchan's first huge commercial hit, Zanjeer gave birth to his 'angry young man' image. The film was reportedly turned down by several stars including Rajesh Khanna, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar and Dharmendra.

Sholay (1975)
Movie Trivia

Shatrughan Sinha was first offered the role of Jai but he turned it down. Amitabh Bachchan wasn't yet a popular actor when he was signed on. Besides writers Salim-Javed, a special recommendation by Dharmendra at Bachchan's request got him the role of Jai.

Deewar (1975)
Movie Trivia

Yash Chopra initially wanted Rajesh Khanna or Naveen Nishchol to play the role of Vijay in Deewar, but writers Salim-Javed insisted that he cast Amitabh Bachchan. Deewar was remade into several languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Iranian, Turkish and Cantonese.

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Movie Trivia

Recently Bachchan said that if adjusted for inflation, Amar Akbar Anthony did a business equivalent to that of Baahubali 2. Bachchan's famous drunken scene in the film was inspired by him keenly observing how people behaved when drunk at parties during his younger years.

Trishul (1978)
Movie Trivia

After watching an initial trial run of Trishul, producer Gulshan Rai, director Yash Chopra and writers Salim-Javed were very disappointed with it. The film was then reshot and scenes added to the final edit that made it the big hit that it became.

Don (1978)
Movie Trivia

Don's hit song 'Khaike paan Banaraswala...' was composed for Dev Anand's film Banarasi Babu. It was included in Don after Manoj Kumar saw the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer and said that the film was so tight and engaging that it needed a song break.

Muqaddar ka Sikandar (1978)
Movie Trivia

Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Vinod Khanna, Rakhee-starrer Muqaddar Ka Sikandar was the highest grossing Hindi film of 1978.

Shakti (1982)
Movie Trivia

Shakti was conceived because of director Ramesh Sippy's awe for Dilip Kumar and he wanted to make a Mother India-like film for the thespian. Raj Babbar was initially considered for the role that eventually went to Amitabh Bachchan.

Coolie (1983)
Movie Trivia

In the final scene of Coolie, Amitabh Bachchan is seen on the balcony of St Philomina's Hospital, Bengaluru, waving to crowds after surviving a bullet wound in the film. This was a tribute to the real life near fatal accident Bachchan had on the sets of Coolie, after which he was immediately rushed to the same hospital.

Shahenshah (1988)
Movie Trivia

If Amitabh Bachchan had not quit politics and returned to films, Shahenshah would have starred Jackie Shroff in the lead.