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Amitabh Harivansh Rai Shrivastava Bachchan (born 11 October 1942) is an Indian film actor. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s for movies like Zanjeer and Deewar, and was dubbed India’s first “angry young man” for his on-screen roles in Bollywood. Referred to as the “Shahenshah of Bollywood”, “Star of the Millennium” or “Big B”,he has since appeared in over 180 Indian films in a career spanning more than four decades. Bachchan is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema.So total was his dominance of the movie scene in the 1970s and 1980s that the French director François Truffaut called him a “one-man industry.”

The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions to the arts.The Government of France honoured him with its highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour, in 2007 for his exceptional career in the world of cinema and beyond.Bachchan made his Hollywood debut in 2013 with The Great Gatsby, in which he played a non-Indian Jewish character, Meyer Wolfsheim.

Bachchan was born in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, in north central India.His ancestors hailed from a village called Babupatti in the Raniganj taluka of Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh.His father Harivansh Rai Srivastava (Bachchan) was a well-known Hindi poet and his mother Teji Bachchan was a Punjabi Sikh from Lyallpur (now Faisalabad), Punjab.Bachchan was initially named Inquilaab, inspired by the phrase Inquilab Zindabad popularly used during the Indian independence struggle. In English, Inquilab Zindabad means “Long live the revolution.” However, at the suggestion of fellow poet Sumitranandan Pant, Harivansh Rai changed the boy’s name to Amitabh, which means “the light that will never die.” Although his surname was Shrivastava, Amitabh’s father had adopted the pen name Bachchan under which he published all of his works. It is with this last name that Amitabh debuted in films and for all other practical purposes, Bachchan has become the surname for all of his immediate family. Bachchan’s father died in 2003, and his mother in 2007.Bachchan is an alumnus of Sherwood College, Nainital. He later attended Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. He has a younger brother, Ajitabh. His mother had a keen interest in theatre and was offered a feature film role, but she preferred her domestic duties. Teji had some influence in Amitabh Bachchan’s choice of career because she always insisted that he should “take the centre stage.”Bachchan is married to actress Jaya Bhaduri. The couple have two children, Shweta Nanda (wife of businessman Nikhil Nanda) and Abhishek Bachchan (actor and husband of actress Aishwarya Rai).

In 2000, Bachchan hosted the first season of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), the Indian adaptation of the British television game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. The show was well received. A second season followed in 2005 but its run was cut short by STAR Plus when Bachchan fell ill in 2006.In 2009, Bachchan hosted the third season of the reality show Bigg Boss.In 2010, Bachchan hosted the fourth season of KBC.The fifth season started on 15 August 2011 and ended on 17 November 2011. The show became a massive hit with audiences and broke many TRP Records. CNN IBN awarded Indian of the Year- Entertainment to Team KBC and Bachchan. The Show also grabbed all the major Awards for its category.The sixth season was also hosted by Bachchan, commencing on 7 September 2012, broadcast on Sony TV and received the highest number of viewers thus far.In 2014, he debuted in the fictional Sony Entertainment Television TV series titled Yudh playing the lead role of a businessman battling both his personal and professional life.Bachchan is also the brand ambassador for Gujarat Tourism, which he has been since 1 February 2010.

Bachchan made his film debut in 1969 as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen’s National Award winning film Bhuvan Shome.His first acting role was as one of the seven protagonists in the film Saat Hindustani directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and featuring Utpal Dutt, Anwar Ali (brother of comedian Mehmood), Madhu and Jalal Agha.Director Prakash Mehra cast him in the leading role for the film Zanjeer (1973) as Inspector Vijay Khanna. The film was a sharp contrast to the romantically themed films that had generally preceded it and established Amitabh in a new persona—the “angry young man” of Bollywood cinema.In 1984, Bachchan took a break from acting and briefly entered politics in support of long-time family friend, Rajiv Gandhi. He contested Allahabad’s seat of 8th Lok Sabha against H. N. Bahuguna, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and won by one of the highest victory margins in general election history (68.2% of the vote).In 1988, Bachchan returned to films, playing the title role in Shahenshah, which was a box office success. After the success of his comeback film however, his star power began to wane as all of his subsequent films like Jaadugar, Toofan and Main Azaad Hoon (all released in 1989) failed at the box office. The 1991 hit film, Hum, for which he won his third Filmfare Best Actor Award, looked like it might reverse the trend, but this momentum was short-lived and his string of box office failures continued. Bachchan turned producer during his temporary retirement period, setting up Amitabh Bachchan Corporation, Ltd. (ABCL) in 1996, with a vision of becoming a 10 billion rupees (approx. U.S. $250 M) premier entertainment company by the year 2000.

In 2000, Amitabh Bachchan appeared in Yash Chopra’s box-office hit, Mohabbatein, directed by Aditya Chopra. He played a stern, older figure that rivalled the character of Shahrukh Khan. His role won him his third Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award.

Apart from National Film Awards, Filmfare Awards and other competitive awards which Bachchan won for his performances throughout the years, he has been awarded several honours for his achievements in the Indian film industry. In 1991, he became the first artist to receive the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, which was established in the name of Raj Kapoor. Bachchan was crowned as Superstar of the Millennium in 2000 at the Filmfare Awards.In 1999, Bachchan was voted the “greatest star of stage or screen” in a BBC Your Millennium online poll. The organisation noted that “Many people in the western world will not have heard of [him] … [but it] is a reflection of the huge popularity of Indian films.” In 2001, he was honoured with the Actor of the Century award at the Alexandria International Film Festival in Egypt in recognition of his contribution to the world of cinema.Many other honours for his achievements were conferred upon him at several International Film Festivals, including the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Asian Film Awards.In June 2000, he became the first living Asian to have been modeled in wax at London’s Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Another statue was installed in New York in 2009,Hong Kong in 2011,Bangkok in 2011 and Washington, DC in 2012.In 2003, he was conferred with the Honorary Citizenship of the French town of Deauville.