Amitabh literally means "the light that never dies or fades" - a person with an immortal glow, and Bachchan would mean "child-like".
Poet Sumitranandan Pant suggested Harivansh Rai Bachchan to change his son's name from Inquilab to Amitabh as if he knew that the little boy would live his name to the 'T'. Coincidentally, Amitabh Bachchan is like "the light that never dies" and is "child-like" in spite of his age.
Born on Oct 11, 70 years ago (1942), Amitabh Bachchan took up films though his father was a poet. He made his film debut in 1969 and went on to do small roles including negative ones but it was "Zanjeer" (1973) that made him a household name, and there was no stopping the young talented actor. He went on to act in a series of blockbuster films like "Deewaar", "Sholay", "Coolie" and many more.
On June 3, 1973, he married Jaya Bhaduri (Jaya Bachchan) and was blessed with two children - Abhishek and Shweta.
With over 180 films to his credit from a career spanning over four decades and being honoured with several awards including three National Film Awards as Best Actor, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, Amitabh is no doubt the most influential actor in the history of Indian cinema.
One event that completely changed his life was the "Coolie Accident", which he described as "rebirth". He suffered a near-fatal accident while shooting an action scene for Manmohan Desai's "Coolie" at Bangalore University campus on July 26, 1982. The nation mourned, fans prayed for him in temples and thronged the hospital vicinity to wish him goodbye. He was clinically dead for a couple of minutes but eventually survived and went on to do many hit films.
A multi-talented persona that he is, Amitabh ventured into film production, television, playback singing and politics but not without facing hardships. In fact, some of his ventures got him into trouble but he gathered more strength every time he stumbled.
He took up politics in 1984 in support of his close friend Rajiv Gandhi. He won the Lok Sabha seat from Allahabad, defeating former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh H. N. Bahuguna with a huge margin, but his political career stint was short as he resigned after three years. He was then implicated in the "Bofors scandal". He fought hard to clear his name from the scandal and was finally found guilty by the court.
Amitabh then started ABCL, which specialized in film production and event management. His company was responsible for bringing the Miss World Pageant to India in 1996. However, his big dream of making it a multi-billion company came down crashing following a financial crisis after the Miss World contest in Bangalore and failure of films produced by his production house.
Problems, including financial troubles, stared at his face but he didn't give up. He returned to acting in 1998 with "Bade Miyan Chote Miyan" and went on to act in many films as if he had just entered films. He also took up television and hosted the game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" which was a big success.
Be it his unsuccessful attempt in politics or failure of ABCL, Amitabh took adversities in life head-on and overcame them with his genuine hard work. In fact, his life itself is an epitome of genuine hard work.
Even today, he is as active as a 20-year-old boy, interacting with his fans around the world through his blog and social networking sites - clearly ahead of the present generation celebrities including the Khans. He still takes up challenging roles, with the critically acclaimed film, "Paa", being a perfect example. In short, the "child-like" quality in him is still intact and he is indeed like the light that never dies.
To contact the editor, e-mail: