For many people, Amitabh Bachchan is much more than an actor; he is a God. Having spent over 40 years in Bollywood, Bachchan has quite literally spent more than half of his life in the limelight. It is no wonder that an audience that has grown up with his films very much define themselves and their vision of Indian cinema through this very worthy and legendary human being. However, for many of the younger generation, it may be a little odd understanding why Bachchan is the owner of such a superstar status. This very idea made me think. He has been an actor for a very many more years than I have spent on this earth but yet I still feel a part of the love he receives today is from those who weren’t around when he was at the peak of his career. So, as he celebrates his 70th birthday, I ask… why is Bachchan’s charisma and persona still so prominent today? At the ripe old age (with all due respect) of 70, what makes Bachchan a superstar even for today’s generation? Here are a handful reasons why…
Having interacted with Bachchan once last year in the midst of an audience whilst he was in London to promote his vlog (voice-blog), I can safely say that the man oozes… erm… ‘superstar’. I know that that probably doesn’t make much sense but there isn’t really another way to put it. Anyone who will have met or interacted with him in their lives will be able to tell you something similar I’m sure. There is a certain feeling that comes with being acknowledged by this legend and not many actors or stars can boast that kind of effect.
His tech-savvyness is undoubtedly one of his USPs. One would not know so much about the person behind this legendary actor was is not for his tweets, his blog and now his Facebook updates. Through social media, Bachchan is able to talk about things he thinks about, where he is, what he is doing… and also take pictures to show all of these. One very important part of this kind of interaction is that he is able to respond directly to his fans. This makes the equation a little different when thinking about what makes him different. Whereas his counterparts may have been active on such sites, Bachchan takes it a step further by being regularly active. As a fan, one finds it difficult not to be lured by his words, his thoughts and his ways of interacting. Hats off!
Bachchan, not quite like any other, has a legacy that he leaves behind in the form of his family. Because of his superstar status, his family are treated (more or less) and royals and this only adds to the whole Bachchan brand. Since Aishwarya’s addition to the family, brand Bachchan continues to shine and shine uncontrollably. Bachchans always remain in the news and more so now with little Aaradhya to further the name. With the Bachchan blood and the Rai beauty, although one can’s help but feel a little uncomfortable about the pressures the child will always face in her life, one also remains more than apprehensive as to what she will choose to do with such power, love and attention which was present for her even before she entered the world that is. Brand Bachchan… long live!
Bachchan’s small screen presence also makes him a much more loved star in today’s age. Whilst, in recent years, he has continued to be involved in award-winning projects on the big screen, his hosting of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ has put him on a whole different level with the audiences. It is evident through the contestants on the show and their actions exactly how much love there is out there for Bachchan. Also, having Bachchan come into one’s household through KBC for more than one night a week is quite something else. The show, once again, allows for interaction between himself and those who admire him as well as others within the film fraternity who often grace the show on special occasions. This makes for unique TV and only Bachchan invites this kind of intrigue and interest.
Over recent years, Bachchan’s greatest hits have been reworked in B-town. Whether it be films such as Don and Agneepath or songs such as ‘Apni to jaise taise’ in Housefull, Bachchan’s popularity is all evident through these. The remaking of movies inspires most to watch the original movie in order to get an understanding of the modern take – much like what I did with Agneepath. It’s only when one does this does one realise exactly how Bachchan became the star he is and why there is such a status attached to him.
One of the most importants things that has helped to make Bachchan popular even today is the subjects that have come his way in terms of films even at the age he is. In the last few years, one has seen him play the lover of his daughter’s friend, a chef who falls for a woman nearly half his age, a child who suffers from Progeria and also a hitman who easily outdoes his much younger counterparts. Bachchan has also been a part of many contemporary songs in his movies such as in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and also, more recently, in Bol Bachchan – sharing screen space with his son Abhishek in both.
A reiteration, I feel, is needed to put across once again that this is a list of just a few factors that determine why Bachchan remains the superstar he is today. One can only admire the way he has dusted himself off and started again in the way he has and no doubt will continue to do. Controversy will always surround him but one hopes the love of his fans and well-wishers will always go on to overshadow the bad times. There will never be another Amitabh Bachchan… so let’s toast 70 years of a man who is most definitely a cinematic God. Let’s also raise a glass to the many moments, the dialogues, the songs and the love he has given to us over the years. Happy birthday you living legend! Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap!