Popularly known as the Shehenshah of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, is a popular Indian superstar and producer. Son of the famous hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Big B as he is known lovingly, was born on 11th of October 1942. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s as the "angry young man" of Bollywood cinema, and has since become one of the most prominent figures in the history of Indian cinema. Bachchan has won numerous major awards in his career, including four National Film Awards, three of which are in the Best Actor category, and thirteen Filmfare Awards. He holds the record for most number of Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations at the Filmfare Awards. In addition to acting, Bachchan has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter, and was an elected member of the Indian Parliament from 1984 to 1987.
Bachchan was initially named Inquilaab, inspired from the famous phrase Inquilab Zindabad, during the Indian independence struggle. However, at the suggestion of fellow poet Sumitranandan Pant, Harivansh Rai changed the name to Amitabh which means, "the light that would never go off." Amitabh is the eldest of Harivansh Rai Bachchan's two sons, the second being Ajitabh. His mother had a keen interest in theatre and had been offered a role in a film, but preferred her domestic duties. She had some degree of influence in Bachchan's choice of career because she always insisted that he should take the centre stage. In his twenties, Bachchan gave up a job as freight broker for the shipping firm, Bird and Co., based in Kolkata, to pursue a career in acting. Bachchan is married to actress Jaya Bhaduri. They have two children, Shweta Nanda and Abhishek Bachchan. Abhishek is also an actor and is married to actress Aishwarya Rai.
Bachchan made his film debut in 1969 as one of the seven protagonists in Saat Hindustani, featuring Utpal Dutt, Madhu and Jalal Agha. Though the film was not a financial success, Bachchan won his first National Film Award for Best Newcomer. Anand (1971) followed which garnered him his first Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award. Bachchan rose to stardom with Prakash Mehra's directorial venture Zanjeer(1973) as Inspector Vijay Khanna which established Amitabh in a new persona- the "angry young man" of Bollywood cinema. 1973 was also the year he married Jaya and around this time they appeared in several films together, not only in Zanjeer but in films such as Abhimaan which followed and was released only a month after their marriage. Later, Bachchan played the role of Vikram in the film Namak Haraam, which won him his second Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award.
1975 was the year when he appeared in two films which are regarded as important in Hindi cinematic history. He starred in the Yash Chopra directed film Deewar, opposite Shashi Kapoor, Nirupa Roy, and Neetu Singh, which earned him a Filmfare Nomination for Best Actor. Released in 1975 was Sholay, which became the highest grossing film of all time in India. In that same year, the judges of the 50th annual Filmfare awards awarded it with the special distinction award called Filmfare Best Film of 50 Years.
Bachchan starred in comedies such as Chupke Chupke (1975) and Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and in films such as Kabhie Kabhie (1976). The film Kabhie Kabhie saw him again nominated for the Filmfare Best Actor Award. In 1977, he won his first Filmfare Best Actor Award for his performance in Amar Akbar Anthony. In 1978 he starred in all four of the highest grossing films of India in that year. In 1979, for the first time, Amitabh was required to use his singing voice for the film Mr. Natwarlal in which he starred alongside Rekha. His performance in the film saw him nominated for both the Filmfare Best Actor Award and the Filmfare Best Male Playback Awards. In 1979, he also received Best Actor nomination for Kaala Patthar (1979) and then went on to be nominated again in 1980 for the Raj Khosla directed film Dostana which proved to be the top grossing film of 1980. In 1981, he starred in Yash Chopra's melodrama film Silsila, where he starred alongside his wife Jaya and rumoured lover Rekha.
After a brief stint with politics, Bachchan returned to films in 1988, playing the title role in Shahenshah, which turned out to be a box office success. In 1991 hit film, Hum, he won his third Filmfare Best Actor Award. During this period Bachchan also won his first National Film Award for Best Actor, for his performance as a Mafia don in the 1990 film Agneepath. After the release of Khuda Gawah in 1992, Bachchan went into semi-retirement for five years.
In the year 2000, Bachchan stepped up to host India's adaptation of the British television game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Entitled, Kaun Banega Crorepati. Also, In 2000, Big B appeared in Yash Chopra's box-office hit, Mohabbatein, directed by Aditya Chopra for which he won his third Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award. Other hits followed, with Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Baghban. As an actor, he continued to perform in a range of characters, receiving critical praise for his performances in Aks, Aankhen, Khakee, Dev and Black. His performance in Black was unanimously praised by critics and audiences and won him his second National Film Award for Best Actor and fourth Filmfare Best Actor Award. Big B further starred with his son Abhishek in the hit films Bunty Aur Babli, Sarkar and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. All of them were successful at the box office.
His film Paa, which released in 2009 was a highly anticipated project as it saw him playing his own son Abhishek's Progeria-affected 13-year-old son, and it opened to favorable reviews, particularly towards Bachchan's performance. It won him his third National Film Award for Best Actor and fifth Filmfare Best Actor Award. He was later seen in films like Rann, Teen Patti, Kandahar, Aarakshan, Ra.One, Department, English Vinglish and many more.
In 2010, he debuted in Malayalam film through Kandahar, directed by Major Ravi and co-starring Mohanlal.