Amitabh Bachchan





Prakash Mehra, 1973; 145m
ZanjeerThis film is a turning point in the career of superstar Amitabh Bachchan (AB) and even a turning point in the history of Hindi cinema. It was with Zanjeer that Amitabh Bachchan created the new "angry young man" that would define this portion of his career. The villain Teja kills the parents of young Vijay (AB). The only thing he remembers is that the murderer was wearing a chain (zanjeer), and that memory would always haunt him. Years later, Vijay has become a police inspector known for his hot temper. He continues to search for Teja, the murderer of his parents, who has changed his name and become a respectable citizen. At long last Vijay's investigations lead him to Teja, and the hour of revenge finally arrives. Movie stalwarts Ajit, Om Prakash and Pran all give unforgettable performances, and Jaya Bhaduri is also impressive.

Amar Akbar Anthony
Manmohan Desai, 1977; 184m
Amar Akbar AnthonyOne of Amitabh Bachchan's best-loved performances, and an all-around popular favorite. Kishanlal (Pran), happily married and the father of three sons, works as a driver for Robert (Jeevan). One day, Robert kills a person in a car accident. He asks Kishanlal to take the blame and assures him that he will take care of his family and support them financially. Kishanlal agrees and goes to jail, but soon Robert forgets his promise. Cracking under tremendous financial and physical hardship, Kishanlal's family is eventually split up. The three sons grow up to become Amar (Vinod Khanna), a Hindu police inspector; Akbar (Rishi Kapoor), a Muslim tailor's son; and Anthony (Amitabh Bachchan), an outlaw Christian who is brought up by a priest. Through a series of gloriously unlikely events the three brothers get to meet each other again, without knowing their real connection. That discovery will come only later, and after the reunion with their real father and mother, the deadly trio takes revenge on Robert.

Govind Nihalani, 2004; 172m
DevDev stars Amitabh Bachchan as Joint Commissioner of Police Dev Pratap Singh, a righteous and dedicated officer whose high ideals often run up against a corrupt system. Dev's friend, Special Commissioner Tejinder Khosla (Om Puri), is more pragmatic; he believes in maintaining a balance between Dev's idealism and the political interests of the state's Chief Minister, Bhandarker (Amrish Puri). A major subplot concerns Farhaan (Fardeen Khan), a young man tormented by the brutal murder of his father, a man who had always taught him the ideals of patriotism and non-violence. Believing that certain officials, including Dev, are responsible for his father's death, Farhaan sets out into a path of terror and violence that eventually will engulf the entire city. Tejinder decides that the only way to stop the killing is to ignore the established limits of police power. A rift appears in the bond of two dedicated cops, both with very different sense of what their real duties must be.

Rakesh Mehra, 2001; 183m
AksHazy bells in a church in Budapest herald in the opening scene, a gun being pointed from a distance towards a cavalcade of cars. A minister makes his way to obtain a floppy disc, which details plans for the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister. Manu Verma (Amitabh Bachchan) is in charge of his security. Minutes later, we see him turn a gun on the minister while stealing the floppy. And then again, minutes later, we see another Bachchan walk into the office. The original tears his mask off to reveal the evil Rajvan (Manoj Bajpai). Moving the action to India, Manu Verma is now with the crime branch and is asked to investigate a local murder where he recognizes the trademark of Rajvan, a small mask on a chain. Determined to catch him this time, he moves his family to Delhi and begins to track down Raghu. A cat and mouse game ensues that will eventually unleash forces - both natural and supernatural - beyond the control of any of the players.

Rajkumar Santoshi, 2004; 174m
KhakeeWhat began as a routine mission of transferring a terrorist, Iqbal Ansari (Atul Kulkarni), from Chandangadh to Mumbai ends as a nightmare. Ambushed, most of Ansari's police escorts are killed, but thanks to the bravery of one officer he remained in custody. Now another team must be assembled to finish the job; this crucial assignment is given to Officer Anant (Amitabh Bachchan) - an officer long considered a failure by his colleagues. Finally, a chance to prove himself. To help with this assignment, Anant selects Officer Shekhar (Akshay Kumar), street-smart, brave but rotten to the core; and Officer Ashwin (Tusshar Kapoor), a rookie on his first serious assignment who is going to find out the hard way about the reality of the harsh, corrupt and violent world. Accompanied by two constables, these three escort the dreaded terrorist from Chandangadh to Mumbai. But someone out there - a nameless, faceless enemy - has vowed that they will never get there alive.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, 2005; 122m
BlackBorn to an Anglo-Indian family, Michelle McNally (Rani Mukerji) has been deaf and blind since falling ill as an infant. A bright, intelligent girl who lives in a world of deep silence with no way of reaching out, Michelle longs to communicate. Just when things seem most hopeless, destiny reveals another hand. Debraj Sahai (Amitabh Bachchan) is described by everyone as an eccentric with a real drinking problem; he's also someone absolutely consumed by his profession of being a teacher to the deaf-blind, something he considers a mission rather than simply a job. After being fired from one school due to his drinking and his own failing eyesight, the McNally family hires him to work with 8-year-old Michelle. Debrai's methods are immediately questioned by the family; he's rough, even brutal at times, yet slowly he seems to get results. But Debrai knows that he's racing against the illness that's taking over his body, which drives him even harder to help Michelle. A work of extraordinary emotional power, it's a tribute to Amitabh Bachchan that he would take on such problematic, largely unsympathetic role. The rapport between AB and child actor Rani Mukherjee is incredible.

Namak Halal
Prakash Mehra, 1982; 165m
Namak HalalSavitri (Waheeda Rehman) gave up her son, Arjun (Amitabh Bachchan), to keep a promise to her dying husband. Savitri brings up Raja (Shashi Kapoor), while Arjun is raised by his grandfather (Om Prakash). In order to make a man out of him, he sends him to the city, where Arjun finds a job in a hotel owned by Raja. At the hotel Arjun meets and falls in love with a co-worker, Poonam (the wonderful Smita Patil). Raja has grown up believing Savitri is his mother, but when attempts are made on his life, he is led to believe that she is the person behind the attacks. A heartbroken Raja returns to the hotel where he meets Arjun and soon they become friends. When another attempt is made on Raja's life at the hotel, Arjun decides to find out who is behind the attacks against his friend. Is it Savitri who is trying to kill Raja, so she can inherit everything? Or is it Nisha (Parveen Babi), Raja's love interest and cabaret dancer who will do anything for money?

Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 1973; 122m
Abhimaan This hugely successful early Bachchan drama, in which he plays opposite his wife, Jaya Bhaduri, is a loose re-telling of A Star Is Born. Subeer Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is a star singer who commands the top of the music charts. A reserved man, his closest friendship is with his assistant, Asrani. On a visit to his aunt Durga in a faraway village, Subeer gets introduced to Uma (Jaya Bhaduri), a woman endowed with a natural singing talent. He falls in love with her talent and eventually with her. They get married in the village and later come back to the city. Soon Subeer and Uma are cutting records together, and her popularity begins to grow - so much so that soon Subeer finds his position as number one seriously challenged. His competitiveness and jealousy cause their marriage to break up, and Uma heads back to her village. But Subeer is already on a downward spiral from which he seems unable to escape.

Suhendu Roy, 1973; 150m
Another offbeat role for Amitabh Bachchan, made before his screen persona fully took shape. Moti (AB), a palm tree tapper, falls in love with a coquettish young woman, but in order to marry her he must raise an unattainable amount of money as dowry. He then marries Mahjubi, a rich widow, but as soon as he's been able to abscond with enough of her money, he divorces her, accusing her of infidelity. Soon after he marries his younger sweetheart - but can any kind of true love ever emerge from such poisoned soil?

Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 1970; 122m
Anand This film is a provocative tale about a man, Anand (Rajesh Khanna), who is dying of a dreaded disease but who nevertheless chooses to live every moment of his life to the fullest. He entertains others and brings happiness to their life. In contrast, Amitabh Bachchan is Bhaskar Banerjee, a young doctor who, despite his education and success, is bitter and frustrated. Anand feels pity for this troubled spirit and befriends him; for a while, things seem to go well between them. Bhaskar tries hard to cure Anand but all his efforts are finally in vain; ultimately Anand dies, but not before leaving a message of love and happiness. Anand was the first movie in which Amitabh Bachchan was seriously noticed by Bollywood, holding his own against reigning superstar (at the time) Rajesh Khanna. The film is a wonderful example of Bachchan's versatility as an actor, and is a must-see for both his fans and those of Rajeesh Khanna.

Satte pe Satta
Raj N. Sippy, 1982; 160m
Seven brothers (Bachchan, Sudhir, Indrajeet, Kanwaljeet, Shakti Kapoor, Paintal and Sachin) live in a farmhouse and are ignorant about the rest of the world. Their only source of love and human feeling comes in the form of Hema Malini's character Indu, Ravi's (Bachchan) girlfriend. After a while, the brothers come to accept her and, more important, she starts accepting them. Later, the other brothers fall for some girls they spot on a beach. These girls have just one job - to look after Ranjeeta, who's unable to walk and is dependent on a wheelchair. Her uncle, Amjad Khan, hoping to inherit her wealth, plots ways to kill her. One night, the desperate, lovelorn brothers kidnap the girls; this gives Khan an idea as to how he can kill Ranjeeta. He replaces Bachchan with a perfect double, Babu (Amitabh again). But all's well that ends well as Babu undergoes a change of heart and finds love with the very lady he was sent to kill. Satte Pe Satta is a perfect masala of humor, music and action.

Mukul Anand, 1990; 174m
Agneepath After having been framed for a scandal, Vijay's father is lynched by the villagers on the instigation of Kancha Cheena. Forced to take care of his mother and sister, Vijay eventually drifts into a life of crime, moving up the ranks of underworld hierarchy. However, his quest to avenge his parents never ends and eventually he has his day of reckoning with Kancha Cheena. Rather than kill him, Vijay turns his vanquished opponent over to the police. After Kancha Cheena is released due to lack of evidence, Vijay realizes that he's the only one who can set matters right. One of Amitabh Bachchan's darker roles, he displays a greater sense of world-weariness, a lifetime of experiences that seem to all well up in his great dark eyes.

Vipul Shan, 2002; 172m
AankhenOne of Amitabh Bachchan's biggest hits in recent years, Aankhen is the story of Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), an honest and successful bank manager who commands respect from his employees and a reputation from his clients. When Vijay notices that his employees are cheating the bank, he tells his supervisors. He is rewarded by being fired, as the bank management has also been cheating the bank, and they do not want the information to spread. But Vijay has other plans. Gathering together a small troupe of blind thieves, Vijay uses his bank knowledge to set up the ultimate robbery, thus setting off a dangerous game of cat and mouse with management, who realize that Vijay might just know enough to bring down their whole operation. AB, who has been the host of India's own Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, here enjoys a role that matches his wits and cunning against a kind of evil empire of greed.


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