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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan: 76 quotes of the actor that got all thinking

As Amitabh Bachchan turns 76, here are some memorable quotes by the legendary Bollywood actor.

bollywood Updated: Oct 11, 2018 08:41 IST
Samarth Goyal
Samarth Goyal
Hindustan Times
Amitabh Bachchan may not celebrate his birthday this year, owing to deaths in his family.
Amitabh Bachchan may not celebrate his birthday this year, owing to deaths in his family.(AFP)

When Amitabh Bachchan talks, you only listen! As the superstar turns a year older, here are 76 times his words made an impact and got us thinking..

01) I am not in the least eloquent or fluent with languages. My writing on social media is quite pedestrian. But even if it was near any acceptability, I would not be in a position to pen a script or a book.

02) I’m very fortunate to have spent so much time in the industry and to have lived through several generations of filmmakers, actors and technicians. There’s a huge volume of experience seeing people change and seeing content change.

03) I don’t use any techniques; I’m not trained to be an actor. I just enjoy working in films.

04) No one is perfect, and criticism is always welcome and expected.

05) I don’t know how others think about me, but if I have to walk the streets, I will, and if I need to stand in a queue at the airport, that’s ok.


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.... home where the love is ..

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06) Perfection needs effort to get it right. I need to rehearse for it. Many others who are greatly more efficient than me, do not. To each his craft! And I am no legend!

07) I like to feel the butterflies in the stomach, I like to go home and have a restless night and wonder how I’m going to be able to accomplish this feat, get jittery. That hunger and those butterflies in the stomach are very essential for all creative people.

08) It’s a huge change from when I started in the 1960s, but what is really impressive is that the number of ladies on set, the women working on set is a huge percentage. There used to be no women. It was just the leading lady’s mother, perhaps the hairdresser and the makeup person.


09) Everybody wants to live. But sometimes the body just gives up.

10) I get up in the morning, have a job to do, go there, come home, be with the family, that’s it.

12) The body is an amazing system. It’s a war zone, my body, and one which has been through a great deal.

13) I sometimes feel that I have been born to attract controversy.

Bachchan family members Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan pose for a photo during Shweta Bachchan's (L) store launch, in Mumbai on Saturday, Sept 1, 2018.
Bachchan family members Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan pose for a photo during Shweta Bachchan's (L) store launch, in Mumbai on Saturday, Sept 1, 2018. ( PTI )

14) Basically I am just another actor who loves his work and this thing about age only exists in the media.

15) I have never been a superstar and never believed in it.

16) Everyone must accept that we will age and age is not always flattering.

17) We must have song and dance in our lives; we’ve had it ever since the inception of cinema in India.

18) The film industry is large enough and has many successful icons that have taken Indian cinema to shores beyond India. I think that Indian cinema itself needs to be applauded beyond one individual.

19) I would like to believe that I still am a shy person; I am very introverted. I have a problem communicating.

20) I had two surgeries during the early part of 2012, and I was advised to restrict my work load.

21) If you represent a fantasy for the people who actually go to the cinema, they grab that and go with it; therefore, for the rest of their lives, they actually identify you with a certain thinking - a certain philosophy.

Amitabh Bachchan (C) at the prayer meet for the late Krishna Raj Kapoor, wife of late actor Raj Kapoor in Mumbai on October 04, 2018.
Amitabh Bachchan (C) at the prayer meet for the late Krishna Raj Kapoor, wife of late actor Raj Kapoor in Mumbai on October 04, 2018. ( AFP )

22) I ended up in parliament and soon discovered that emotion really doesn’t have any place in politics. It’s a much more intricate and complicated game, and I just didn’t know how to play it.

23) If the modes are changing, one goes along with it, I guess.

24) I feel that particularly because of language we are handicapped in getting a large world audience. But Hindi cinema has the same ingredients that appeal to the whole world.

25) You don’t get time to meet your peers such as Dharmendra and Hema Malini very often. Award functions or other events are the only places you meet them, unless there is an emergency. Then we all come together.


26) I really felt good after working in a film like Piku, as many people could relate to my character. I got letters from my fans telling me how my character resembles their grandparents.

27) I was born in fame. I was always recognised and known. Personally, I feel normal about it.

28) Indian films are like our food or our sense of dress or our languages: there’s a great variety, and it changes every 100 miles, but there is something in common, a national Indian essence that binds them all together.

29) I think no actor should be ever satisfied because there is always something new to do, something fresh to get challenged by.

30) India as a filmmaking nation has gained recognition, at last, at most important Western and Far Eastern forums.


31) I ask you, as a citizen, is it a crime to go to the temple? And if I am propagating superstition by going to the temple, then the whole country is propagating superstition.

32) I felt that for 20 years, I was wooing the people of my country and asking them to like me as an actor, and when they liked me as an actor, I told them, ‘Now, you like my politics.’

33) People ask me why it is that when I portray the ‘angry young man’ on screen, I really look angry. They reason that it is due to some suppression in my childhood. But, it’s just that I can’t help it; it’s in my genes.

34) I don’t agree that I have a lot of confidence.

35) I feel a burden if I don’t write.

36) Personally, when a controversy erupts, we decide first whether it requires clarification and, secondly, if it receives notice from authorities and the establishment, we submit responses to their queries.

37) These are rare moments in an actor’s life, where you’re put in an environment which is so natural, and you get natural performances.

38) ‘What will people say?’ is a feeling every Indian girl grows up with.

39) My mother came from a very affluent background, very Westernised, while my father was more Eastern. So I’ve had a very good blend of the East and the West. I guess this has been extremely helpful in making my career and the way I function.


40) I think that it’s important that actors keep getting challenged every day. For every creative person, it’s a terrible moment when they say they have done all they want to do.

41) Acting is a profession connected to physicality. Like sports. Athletes can’t perform beyond a certain age. Look at Usain Bolt, at 30 he knows he can’t compete in the next Olympic Games, if he does - he won’t win.

42) I don’t think that either Jaya or me have gone out of our way to recommend him (Abhishek Bachchan; son) or canvas for him. whatever he has got and whatever he has done, has been on his own merit.

43) I would rather be an aware citizen, and if an opportunity were to arise where I would have to make a statement, I would happily do that.

44) As a professional, I cannot afford to be complacent.


45) Frankly I’ve never really subscribed to these adjectives tagging me as an ‘icon’, ‘superstar’, etc. i’ve always thought of myself as an actor doing his job to the best of his ability.

46) We play many emotions in our careers, emotions that in real life we would perform just once. For example, my character has died in about 10 films, so you have to keep searching for different ways to do it!

47) There are many things that I feel I have missed out on.

48) I don’t have anything in particular to achieve; I don’t want to go any particular direction. I just want to take up the challenges of life as we go along.

49) Back in time, there was no celluloid, no film, which was the most expensive commodity of that time. We could not afford retakes. But now, with everything digital, you can shoot for hours and keep correcting yourself.

50) Yes, every venture is always filled with apprehensions. But if we were to conduct ourselves continuously on that aspect, then we would lose the most important reason to be in this profession: to challenge the art of and be part of what is commonly known as our creative instincts.


51) There are large numbers of people in India below the poverty line; there are large numbers of people who lead a meager existence. They want to find a little escape from the hardships of life and come and watch something colorful and exciting and musical. Indian cinema provides that.

52) I think in the world of creativity there will always be risk. Whatever you do. Because creativity is something that is very personal, very individual. I may think that I am doing something great, you may not think that or the public outside may not think that, and you have an opinion.

53) I find that today’s generation relies a lot more on English. even the Hindi dialogues are given to me in Roman English. I can’t read that, I don’t like that.

54) I don’t spend much time looking back at what happened. I do remember it, but I don’t see any purpose of wanting to look back.

55) Life is a blur when one is essaying different roles; it is so fulfilling.

56) I’d like to believe that tomorrow is another challenge for me. I’m sure there is lots more for me to do, because there is lots and lots of stuff still to be explored.

57) I am insecure about tomorrow. Will I get another job? Will it be appreciated? I will pursue acting for as long as I have a face and body that is acceptable to the people, but I still worry that if I don’t do better tomorrow, it will all go away.

58) Dancing is not something I look forward to. It’s a pain for a 66-year-old man to shake his waist and dance.

59) Having no work would be terrible.

60) I want the vibrant energy of the younger generation of directors and actors to rub off on me.

61) I did not resign from politics because of Bofors. I resigned because I do not know how to play petty politics. I did not know back then and I don’t know now either.

62) Creativity is not a 9 to 5 job, it comes from enthusiasm. I enjoy being alive, I look for a new struggle, a new experience every day. An artist has no right to say he’s satisfied.

63) I still cannot believe that people all over the world love me and Bollywood so much.

64) I’ve accepted that I was a failure in politics. I was not qualified for the job.

65) I sometimes lament the fact that I do not have the benefit of a complete and ailment free body structure.

66) I have the utmost admiration, respect and praise for the younger generation. They are all truly magnificent. I have been fortunate to have worked with them and find their association, invigorating and a learning for me.

67) The select group of people who do make realistic cinema, who do make cinema perhaps a little more acceptable to the Western audience, is a very small percentage.

68) I like to rate myself as a performer upfront, both in films as well as in television.

69) I’m very thankful to directors and filmmakers who consider me in their films, and I hope I’m able to do justice to their films.

70) Whether the work that I do shall succeed or achieve critical acclaim is for the audience to decide.

71) Very rarely have I had the opportunity to say lines which I would have said even if I wasn’t working in a film.

72) My opening words to anybody I hire are, ‘I’m an extremely vulnerable person.”

73) Please explain to me what being an icon is. How do you define it? I haven’t been given a script. I don’t know what the dialogues of an icon are.

74) Obviously, you look for something that is commensurate with your age. You know that you can’t be playing the young hero anymore, and you have to be relegated to something smaller and something elderly, and you just try and do your best.

75) I think, in any profession, what you fear most is not being able to perform, about not being able to meet new challenges. The fear of non acceptance, particularly if in creative art. What happens if the audiences do not like you anymore!

76) “... because you are women people will force their thinking, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgment. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom. (In a letter addressed to his two granddaughters, Navya Naveli Nanda and Aaradhya Bachchan)

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First Published: Oct 11, 2018 08:40 IST

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