12 May, 2021

Amitabh Bachchan, Actor

The angry young man of the 1970s has now morphed into playing character roles. His five-decade run in cinema and on television is showing no sign of unspooling.

Amitabh Bachchan, Actor

His intense, brooding ‘angry young man’ was legendary. Much has been written of that persona and how it reflected the disillusionment, cynicism and angst of the 1970s, turning Amitabh into a one-man industry. Unmistakably at the Bollywood helm, he single-handedly drove the box office. At the same time, he personified the mood of the nation. What’s surprising is that even now, at 70 years, when most people retire and retreat, Bachchan’s sway refuses to abate. His influence far outweighs that of the filmi Khans, political bigwigs and moneybags. So it couldn’t merely be his perceived proximity with people of power and clout—the Gandhis, Amar Singh, Anil Ambani—at various points. What really gives? Is it that he represents enterprise at its most fundamental? The outsider factor? Or is it staying power? Since his debut in Saat Hindustani in 1969, Bachchan has straddled five decades in Hindi cinema, logging more than 160 films. He returns once again with Satyagraha this month-end. In what for others would be the twilight of...

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