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Trivia about Amitabh Bachchan

ExpressIndia.com

Posted: Oct 11, 2006 at 0944 hrs IST

Amitabh Bachchan, unarguably the most respected actor in Bollywood, celebrates his 64th birthday on October 11, 2006. Here are 64 interesting things about the superstar.

He was going to be named Inquilab (which means ‘revolution’) before his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan decided on Amitabh, which means 'brilliance unlimited’.

Amitabh has a penchant for wristwatches and sunglasses, and possesses an enviable collection of both. Bvlgari, Omega, Cartier, you name it, he has it.

Big B is a punctuality freak. In an industry, where most stars have little respect for time, the gracious actor is known to always report on time.

BBC Online voted him Star of the Millennium, above Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando.

He attended Sherwood School, Nainital and graduated with a B Sc from Kirorimal College, Delhi.

During his school days, Amitabh dreamt of becoming an engineer. At one point, he even contemplated joining the Indian Air Force.

Big B is ambidextrous -- he can write with both hands. He excelled at science subjects, but fared abysmally in languages.

His first job was with Shaw Wallace. He also worked as a freight broker for a shipping firm, Bird and Co in Kolkata.

The 6-feet, 2-inch tall AB was rejected when he auditioned for a newsreader's job at All India Radio. Ironically, it is his voice that has been considered one of his strongest assets.

He once spent a few nights on a bench at Marine Drive, Mumbai, when he was a struggler trying to make it big in films.

He got his first break in Khwaja Ahmed Abbas's Saat Hindustani. Though he got good reviews, he was better noticed in Sunil Dutt's home production Reshma Aur Shera.

Had he not been an actor, Big B says, he would be selling milk in Allahabad, his hometown.

After his likeable act as the compassionate act in Anand, Amitabh had a spate of 10 flops, Parwaana, Pyaar Ki Kahani, Reshma Aur Shera, Bombay Talkies, Bansi Birju, Ek Nazar, Raaste Ka Patthar, Sanjog, Garam Masala, Bandhe Haath. Finally, Prakash Mehra's Zanjeer broke the jinx.

His favourite screen name is Vijay (Deewar, Zanjeer, Shakti, Agneepath), and favourite screen profession was to play a cop (Zanjeer, Ram Balram, Bade Miya Chote Miya, Aks).

Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri met for the first time at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and then again on the sets of Hrishikesh Mukherji's Guddi.

Amitabh would have been the hero of Jaya's debut film, Guddi, as he was the original choice for the lead role. Finally, Samit Banja bagged the role.

Known for his sharp memory, AB never forgets the birthday or special occasions in his loved one's lives. The actor makes it a point to wish them unfailingly.

Being the conservative gentleman that he is, Amitabh never formally dated Jaya. They always went out in groups.

He is called Big B by the media, Munna by his parents and Amit by his close friends.

While shooting for a fight sequence in Manmohan Desai's Coolie, Amitabh was knocked down by Puneet Issar's mistimed punch, injuring him gravely. He was critical for many days and August 2 is regarded as the day when he got a new lease of life. Hundreds of fans gathered outside Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital where he was fighting for his life. India's then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi flew down to pay him a visit.

When Amitabh was in a critical condition after the near fatal accident on the sets of Coolie, wife Jaya would walk barefoot daily from the Breach Candy Hospital in south Mumbai to the famed Siddhi Vinayak Temple, six kilometres away, praying for his quick recovery.

Amitabh dabbles in poetry once in a while. He also enjoys reciting his Babuji's (father) poems. His favourite is Madhushala.

He is a vegetarian who loves to gorge on Aloo Puri, Pakodas, Dhoklas and Parathas.

In a 'People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) poll Amitabh Bachchan won the title of Hottest Vegetarian Alive.

He works with the Government of India's media campaign to publicise the National Immunisation Days and encourage people to be a part of the drive against Polio.

Besides making a hit jodi with Jaya Bhaduri, Rekha, Zeenat Aman, Raakhee, Parveen Babi and Sridevi, Amitabh made a smashing pair with his heroes too -- Dharmendra (Ram Balram, Sholay, Chupke Chupke), Vinod Khanna (Muqqadar Ka Sikandar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish) and Shashi Kapoor (Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Deewar, Shaan, Trishul).

Amitabh considers Waheeda Rehman one of the most beautiful women in the film industry.

Both times Amitabh worked opposite Rajesh Khanna (Anand, Namak Haram), he ended up winning the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Trophy.

While shooting for Mukul Anand's Khuda Gawah, Najibullah, then the president of Afghanistan, provided Amitabh with half the country's air force for his protection. Khuda Gawah became one of the most watched Indian films in Afghanistan.

During the making of Khuda Gawah, Amitabh, who plays a Pathan, developed blisters on his face due to the constant application and removal of his fake beard.

Amitabh Bachchan first sang a playback song for the film Mr Natwarlal.

The character of Anthony Gonsalves was actually inspired from a man of the same name who used to live in Khetwadi, an area in Mumbai where Manmohan Desai also lived.

In the film Deewar, Amitabh’s role was loosely based on Bombay smuggler Haji Mastan.

In 1996, he released an album called Aby Baby. This album was released under ABCL and featured songs like Eer bir phatte and remixes of his songs from his early movies O saathi re and Kabhi kabhi. Eer bir phatte" was inspired by one of his famous dialogues in his movie Adalat (1976).

In 1984, he was honored with the Padma Shri Award for his outstanding contribution to the Hindi film industry.

Amitabh Bachchan got burnt on his left hand during Diwali celebrations in 1983 and that is the reason that his left hand is always in his pocket in the film Sharabi.

The film Satte Pe Satta is based on the Hollywood flick Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Amitabh Bachchan, known for his rich baritone, played a mute in the film Reshma aur Shera.

At the age of 58, he jumped from a height of 30 feet, along with co-star Manoj Bajpai, for his 2001 movie Aks (2001).

AB loves Gulab Jamuns.

It was during the making of Sholay that Amitabh discovered he was going to be a father of his firstborn, Shwetambiri. Amitabh's role of the strong, silent Jai was first offered to Shatrughan Sinha who refused to play second fiddle to Dharmendra.

Amitabh's favourite director Hrishikesh Mukherjee referred to the superstar as Maharaj.

Amitabh makes it a point to have at least one meal with his family. He likes his meals to be served to him by Jaya.

The god-fearing Libran reads the holy Bhagwad Gita regularly.

According to Amitabh, his kids (Shweta and Abhishek) are his severest critics, who run down everything -- from his clothes, hair, performance to dancing -- every time his film is released.

A comicbook series about superhero Amitabh, based on the star was published in the mid-eighties. The story was later developed into a full-fledged film Toofan.

Amitabh was diagnosed with a nerve-related disease, myasthenia gravis, in June 1984.

Holi and Amitabh Bachchan are synonymous with each other. Remember Amitabh's raunchy Rang barse in Yash Chopra's Silsila? The man loves Holi and loves to celebrate the festival of colours by throwing parties, at which half the film industry is invited.

Even though he is considered the biggest superstar, Bachchan has won few awards: National Award for Best Actor -- Agneepath (1991), Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor -- Anand (1972), Namak Haram (1974) and Mohabbatein (2000). He won the Filmfare Best Actor Award for Amar Akbar Anthony (1978), Don (1979) and Hum (1992). He also won the Critics' Award for Best Actor in Aks (2001)

He was one of the judges at the Miss World beauty pageant in 1995. The next year his company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited organised the Miss World contest in Bangalore, India. Unfortunately the event met with flak from feminist groups who felt the contest was 'demeaning to Indian culture.'

He made a path-breaking entry into Indian television with the Hindi version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Kaun Banega Crorepati. The show was an astounding success and marked another glorious chapter in his career.

Amitabh won the Allahabad parliamentary seat in December 1984 on a Congress ticket, defeating veteran Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna. His stint in politics did not last long and he resigned from Parliament four years later after condeming it as a 'cesspool.'

He is the only Asian to feature on BBC's much loved Wogan Show.

He has a wax replica displayed at Madame Tussauds in London.

In a career spanning over three decades, AB recently acted in a mythological drama. It was a special appearance as the bearded Lord Indra in Arjun Sajnani's Agni Varsha. Sajnani and Bachchan go back a long way to their Delhi theatre days.

Ironically, the actor who refused to endorse any products at his peak is a regular fixture on the advertising circuit these days, lending his image and persona to a wide range of products from cellular phones to soft drinks to pens to cars to financial schemes.

Recently, French perfume company Lomani launched a new fragrance, Amitabh B Pour Homme (for men) and Amitabh B Pour Femme (for women).

In November 2005, when on a private visit to Allahabad and Hardwar, Big B was diagnosed with an acute case of colitis. Called Diverticulitis, it is swelling of the small intestine resulting is formation of pouches in the colon. He was subsequently operated upon.

On his 60th birthday, Jaya compiled a 400-page coffee table book replete with 800 photographs called To Be or Not To Be, written by Khalid Mohamed. Abhishek and Shweta also contributed a chapter each to the book.

Amitabh is probably the most experimentative actor in the industry. At the age of 65, he’s been seen in many a controversial roles. Sexy Sam of Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna is just one of them.

In Ram Gopal Varma’s forthcoming movie, Nishabd, Amitabh, playing a wildlife photographer, will be seen romancing a girl 20 years younger to him.

The Income Tax department seems to be in love with the superstar too. The I-T department has sent notices to AB on several occasions, the latest being notice to Jaya Bachchan to furnish the details of the ownership and transfer of Jalsa, where the Bachchans have been staying for the last 24 years.

Amitabh Bachchan is also the brand ambassador of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, held in Dubal this year.

Big B’s forthcoming films include, RGV’s Nishabd, Balakrishnan's Cheeni Kam, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya, Shoojit Sircar’s Johny Walker, Ravi Chopra’s Babul, Shaad Ali’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Ram Gopal Varma Ke Sholay among many others.

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