NEW DELHI – India’s iconic film star Amitabh Bachchan completed on Thursday 50 years in cinema that have seen him transforming from an angry-young-man image to the larger-than-life Bollywood idol and more.
Bachchan’s debut film, “Saat Hindustani” hit the screens on Nov. 7, 1969, that told the story of seven nationalist Indians who fought to free the coastal region of Goa from the Portuguese colonial rule.
For the majority of the cine lovers in India, his name in the star cast could be enough for a film’s success at the box office. However, that was not the case always.
His debut movie along with other subsequent releases had all failed to be commercial hits even though cinema critics had noticed the rising star.
His name continued to be associated with box office flops with the release of “Zanjeer” in 1973, a film that he got accidentally after the then top stars refused to do the film about a police inspector, Vijay, who ends up taking the law in his own hands to correct the corrupt system.
When the movie hit the screens, Bachchan, now 77, saw a sudden rise to stardom as the angry young man of the Indian film industry.
“Critics have usually praised Bachchan, especially when the films are bad (...) His performance always kind of seems to stand above even in the bad movies that he has done and I think his influence has been outsized,” film critic Anupama Chopra told EFE.
“It is very hard actually to encapsulate in a few words what Bachchan has meant for the Indian cinema and especially for the Hindi cinema,” she said.
Emphasizing on the versatility of the actor, the critic said Bachchan “has an incredible ability for both dramatic scenes as well as comic scenes.”
In his youthful days, Bachchan also called “Big B” earned himself a sobriquet of “angry young man” due to his portrayal of on-screen characters that were invariably at the center of most of his movies that followed “Zanjeer.”
Over the years, he discovered a romantic side of his.
“He is an extremely versatile actor who has been able to portray an incredible range of roles over the last 50 years,” Chopra said, about the multiple awards winning actor.
Chopra said in the 1970s and 1980s the actor’s influence was so impactful that “directors felt when you had Bachchan in your movie you didn’t need to have much else.”
From the action-packed roles to more sublime character-based roles with complex emotions and a brief stint in politics to hosting television shows, Bachchan has done it all and influenced a large number of actors who have grown up watching him.
On Thursday, his son, Abhishek Bachchan, also an actor, heaped praises for his father on his Twitter account.
“Not just as a son, but as an actor and a fan... We are all blessed to witness the greatness! There is so much to admire, to learn and even more to appreciate. Several generations of cinema lovers get to say we lived in the times of BACHCHAN!!!”