Top Actor No. 4 - Amitabh Bachchan


Indian Cinema Series

Yesterday marked day 570 of Amitabh Bachchan’s diary-style blog, and his entry today already has over 300 comments posted to it. Some days more than 600 fans reach out to the megastar via this channel, churning out heartfelt messages of devotion and encouragement–astounding, really.

It’s no surprise that Amitabh Bachchan, also known as ‘Big B,’ comes in at No. 4 on our Top 5 Indian Actors countdown. The 67-year-old actor is one of the most recognizable faces in Indian cinema, with a prolific career and fascinating life to back his fame up.

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Back in his twenties, Bachchan gave up a job as shipping broker to pursue a career in acting, but struggled for some time trying to break into the Hindi film industry. His tall, dark image clashed with the 1960s ideal of fair and romantic men. But with his debut in 1969, and subsequent ‘darker’ roles in the following decade–in particular his inspector character in Zanjeer (1973)–Bachchan carved a niche for himself as the ‘angry young man.’ Bachchan has received numerous awards throughout his career and was in the 1975 film  Sholay, which was the highest grossing film of all time in India and declared the ‘Film of the Millennium’ by BBC India in 1999.

In 1982, the star was almost fatally injured when he ruptured his spleen during the filming of a fight scene. Soon after, he suffered another major setback when he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that seriously compromised his mental and physical health. As a result, Bachchan decided on a career change, and ended up serving as an elected member of the Indian Parliament from 1984 to 1987, until leaving the arena, stating his disdain for the institution as the reason. Bachchan’s eventual return to films did not go as well expected, and he went into semi-retirement for five years, trying his hand at producing and even starting his own entertainment company during the time–which also proved a failed endeavor. Finally, in 2000, Bachchan became the host of India’s version of the hit British TV game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? , which effectively reestablished his star status. His next movie, due out next month, is creating a lot of hype already. In Paa, Bachchan will star with his real-life son Abhishek Bachchan, and play a 13-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder that makes him age rapidly.

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