Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan: Watch what makes Big B the master of reinvention

While his contemporaries became part of Bollywood history, occasionally making guest appearances in rare films, Amitabh Bachchan roared on - as much a part of popular culture in 2017 as he was in the ‘70s

bollywood Updated: Oct 11, 2017 12:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Birthday,Amitabh Bachchan,Bollywood
Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor on the set of Ajooba. (HT Archives)

It is hard to remember a time when Amitabh Bachchan was not ruling India’s collective consciousness. We remember a young and angry Big B channeling the angst of India’s youth in the 70s, the following decades saw him fighting, romancing, dancing, taking revenge, laughing and crying as per the demands of the roles and times.

While his contemporaries became part of Bollywood history, occasionally making guest appearances in rare films, Bachchan roared on - as much a part of popular culture in 2017 as he was in the ‘70s. They call him the megastar and the greatest actor ever. Maybe he is all of that but the name that will sit lightly on those broad shoulders is this - the master of reinvention.

As Bachchan celebrates his 75th birthday today, he is working with top filmmakers and big stars. He is among the highest paid actors even after working for almost five decades. There isn’t anything that he hasn’t done -- From playing a freedom fighter in Saat Hindustani to a retired lawyer in his last release Pink, his filmography is diverse.

And yet, this is the same man who was being hounded by creditors with his company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd going bankrupt and his career facing a nadir. With no work and legal cases against him, Bachchan was up against a wall. He did what he does best: reinvented himself and returned as the patriarch in Kaun Banega Crorepati.

In fact, speaking to Ranbir Kapoor at an India Today event, Bachchan talked about ABCL failure. He said, “I had a huge failure in the corporation I began. It went bankrupt, it bankrupted me. I had no films, I had no money. Lot of legal cases, lot of creditors were hounding me to pay their money. It’s a horrid feeling. The very people who sang praises for you can abuse you, can become very demanding. So you sit back and think what can I do?”

He added, “Look I am an actor, so I will go back to it. This is what I did.” He said he approached Yash Chopra for a role and got Mohabbatein. But did asking someone for help hurt his ego, asked Ranbir. “I have never been able to understand what ego is, so it’s ok with me. If I don’t have a job, I will go and tell somebody and if I need a job, I will ask for it,” Bachchan said.

This simple answer has many layers to it, because we are talking about the loan in crores. Only a person with a spine of steel could come out of the deep dig. It only made the story more glorious that the person was also a movie superstar.

He also spoke of the love of his life -- the camera. “I don’t think I should be away from the camera or the studio. Everyday there is a great learning for all of us.”

He further said, “There is always somebody waiting around the corner who is better than you, better looking than you, more popular and he will take your place.”

Watch the video here

Though this was more of a senior actor’s advice to his junior, but this also shows how tough his mental character is. He is ready to work till the last breath. The competition will automatically be killed if somebody is so dedicated.

This reflects in his choice of films. Since 2015, he has been seen in seven films: Shamitabh, Piku, Wazir, Ki And ka, Teen, Pink and Sarkar 3. Except Ki And Ka, he played the lead in all of them. Do you see any other actor at his age getting so much work done?

Interestingly, in one of his interviews he talked about how he was paid less than Deepika Padukone in Piku. He can switch gears and shift positions and can still remain the influential star he always was. Probably this is his mantra for success: Keep adapting as per the situation.

It’s just his 75th birthday. He is quite capable of doing miracles even now.

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 12:09 IST