Amitabh Harivansh Rai Shrivastava Bachchan, (yes, his surname is actually Shrivastava. His father took Bachchan as his pen name) is synonymous with Indian cinema.
Popularly known as the ‘Shahenshah of Bollywood’, the Big B has also been called the star of the millennium.
As the megastar turns 75 today, we look at some interesting facts about India’s original angry young man.
1. He’s ambidextrous. Yes, the actor can write equally well with both his hands.
2. His stardom is not limited to India & Bollywood. Bachchan was named Actor of the Millennium in a BBC News Poll ahead of Charles Chaplin, Sir Laurence Olivier, and Marlon Brando.
3. Bachchan was a former stage actor, radio announcer and freight company executive in Calcutta, India.
4. He wanted to join the Indian Air Force and also thought of becoming an engineer.
5. He began his career in films in 1969 as a voice narrator in Mrinal Sen’s ‘Bhuvan Shome’. Director Satyajit Ray also used Bachchan’s voice in his 1977 film ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’. Though Bachchan is now famous for his baritone, among other things, he was once rejected by All India Radio.
6. During his initial days , he was given shelter by Mehmood who offered him a place to stay-at in his home.
7. At the age of 58, he jumped from a height of 30 feet, along with co-star Manoj Bajpai, for his 2001 movie ‘Aks’.
8. On 31 October 2006, he recorded 23 scenes in 5 hours for ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’.
9. Bachchan was the first Indian actor to be paid over Rs 1 crore in remuneration for films. Till 1990s, he was the only star paid in crores.
10. In 1969, he was reportedly engaged to a British Airways air hostess . Her name was Maya.
11. His father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, wanted to name him Inquilab before deciding on Amitabh (unending brilliance).
12. He has played more double roles than any other actor. In ‘Mahaan’, he had a triple role. He has also been named ‘Vijay’ in 19 films.
13. He is the first living Asian to have a wax model displayed at Madame Tussaud’s in London in June 2000. Later in 2009, another wax model was displayed in New York, in 2011 in Hong Kong and Bangkok, in 2012 in Washington DC and in 2017 in Delhi.