He surprised us when he played the role of a child in Paa. And we couldn’t stop laughing at his adorably irritated personality in Piku. On one hand, his acting in Pink and Wazir didn’t fail to inspire and on the other, his serious avatar in Baghban made us more considerate towards the elderly. There is no doubt about the fact that Amitabh Bachchan can morph himself into any character any time.
Over the decades, Bachchan’s acting portfolio has not just evolved but also, broadened. And despite the variations, his iconic image of an “angry young man” has stayed as memorable as his romantic-flirtatious characters. If we begin to look at the variety that he has displayed as an actor, it leaves us awestruck all over again. Here is a list of 12 such examples to prove the same!
1. Rural Jaggery Trader: Saudagar (1973)
Saudagar is one of those rare movies from the 70s era that showed a protagonist as a very realistic character. Instead of the usual all-good vibes that distinguish the “hero” in a film, Saudagar’s Moti (Amitabh Bachchan) was selfish and calculative. A trader of raw jaggery in a village, Moti marries his business partner only to divorce her after achieving his ultimate business goal. Bachchan’s portrayal of these grey shades was unexpected but convincing at the same time.
2. Vengeful Police Officer: Zanjeer (1973)
This film marked the turning point in Bachchan’s career, granting him the irrevocable title of Bollywood’s “Angry Young Man.” The actor played the role of a furious police officer who channelizes his rage into fighting crime dedicatedly. Exciting plot turns reveal the cause of his subconscious anger before an action-packed revenge-fantasy comes to life.
3. Brain Tumour Patient: Majboor (1974)
Bachchan beautifully portrayed the heart-wrenching story and struggle of a man named Ravi Khanna in Majboor. A simple and happy family person, Ravi’s life turns upside down when he is diagnosed with terminal brain tumour.
4. Thief Turned Vigilante: Sholay(1975)
Declared as “Film of the Millennium” by BBC India, Sholay is one of the greatest must-watch classics in Indian cinema. Among the many unforgettable characters that the movie gave us was the sarcastic and no-nonsense Jai, played by Amitabh Bachchan. Initially a small-time thief, Jai died saving a village from the dreaded dacoit Gabbar Singh.
5. Interpol’s Most Wanted: Don (1978)
This crime-thriller was the first movie to feature Bachchan in an entirely negative role. The unnamed Don throughout the initial phase of the movie was a dashing womanizer and a sharp businessman. Also the uncrowned king of the underworld, he was a merciless boss who no one wanted to mess with. Listed at the top of Interpol’s most wanted, Don remained confident that it was impossible to capture him! The film was remade in 2006 with Shahrukh Khan reprising the title role.
6. Double Role of A Farmer & A Hitman: Satte Pe Satta (1982)
Satte Pe Satta was an adaptation of the American musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. And Amitabh Bachchan flawlessly played two absolutely contrasting characters in the film. The first was Ravi Anand, a romantic, free-spirited elder brother to six unsophisticated men living on a farm. The second role was that of Babu, Ravi’s sinister doppelganger whose sole mission was to kill an heiress. Babu’s stoic expressions, piercing brown eyes and salt & pepper hair made him appear all the more menacing.
7. Vigilante With A Secret Identity: Shahenshah (1988)
Shahenshah marked Bachchan’s return to films after a hiatus of three years. It turned out to be the second highest-grossing production in 1988. Bachchan played the role of Vijay, a man who led a dual life. During the day, he would be a corrupt cop. However, at night, he would embrace his alter-ego of Shahenshah- a vigilante on a mission to free the city of crime. While he was hilarious as the comic policeman, he didn’t fail to intimidate as a crime-fighting superhero.
8. Afghan Tribal: Khuda Gawah (1992)
A beautifully moving story of love and sacrifice, Khuda Gawah was laced with action, thrill and drama. Bachchan played the lead role of Badshah Khan, a brave Afghan tribal who would go to any lengths for the love of his life. On one hand, he got under the skin of the character to display unbelievable courage and on the other, mastered an accent inspired by Dari (Afghanistan’s lingua franca). Furthermore, he did full justice while displaying Badshah Khan’s pain upon being separated from his motherland. The film was extensively shot around Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan as well as in parts of Nepal and India.
9. A Grumpy Chef: Cheeni Kum (2007)
If Piku taught us anything, it was the fact that no one does ‘grumpy’ better than Amitabh Bachchan! But before Piku, came Cheeni Kum where the actor played the role of Buddhadev Gupta, a 64-year old ego-centric chef. The owner of London’s top Indian restaurant, Buddha’s arrogance clearly reflects a superiority complex. However, things take a different turn with the arrival of 34-year old Nina- an equally headstrong woman who puts Buddha in his place. Little do they know that it’s just the beginning of the most unusual love story! The film keeps you laughing at Buddha’s irritation as well as Nina’s ideal comebacks to his arguments.
10. A 12 Year Old: Paa (2009)
Nothing can be more fascinating than a man in his 60s play the role of a 12-year old! And Bachchan did exactly that through the role of Auro, a child suffering from a rare genetic disorder in Paa.
11. A Friendly Ghost: Bhootnath (2008)
Bachchan’s gloomy aura and tattered clothes were meant to be a little scary in the beginning of this horror comedy. However, he turned out to be more sweet than dangerous through the course of the story. This ghost of a man named Kailash Nath, ended up as a friend and guardian angel to the youngest new inhabitant of the famous haunted house known as Nath Villa. The film was an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost”.
12. A Hilarious 102 Year Old: 102 Not Out (2018)
In this upcoming release, Amitabh Bachchan is playing a young-at-heart 102-year old father to a 75-year old man! The film is based on a Gujarati play by Saumya Joshi and portrays the generation gap in reverse mode where the father enjoys life but the son keeps whining about old age.
The 102 year old father plays pranks on the son and constantly pulls his leg. He even tries to talk him into writing a love letter. The hilarity reaches its peak when he threatens to send the son to an old-age home! Rishi Kapoor’s obvious irritation and lacking sense of humor only enhances the comic appeal of the plot.
The film also brings back the iconic duo of Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor after a span of 27 years! And both the actors are sporting refreshing new looks.