Nearly forty five years after he first faced the cameras in Khwaja Ahmed Abbas’s Saath Hindustani, Amitabh Bachchan today is revered as the ultimate megastar of the movies, arguably the biggest Indian cinema has ever seen. Every Sunday evening— for the past thirty years and more since he suffered a debilitating injury during the filming of Manmohan Desai’s Coolie—crowds throng outside his Juhu home in Mumbai, to merely get a glimpse of the man who has been synonymous with superstardom for decades.
Today, at 71, Bachchan is happy playing elder statesman to the world of Hindi cinema, and content with playing a variety of parts in movies as different as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black to Prakash Jha’s Satyagraha. The latter was his only release in the past year, but Amitabh Bachchan continues to dominate Forbes India’s Celebrity 100 list, holding rock steady at number five for the second successive year, and actually increasing his earnings by a healthy 27 percent, thanks to his hugely popular television quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), which just concluded its seventh season, and a string of endorsements.
Fame and adulation sit easy on Bachchan’s shawl-draped shoulders, as he tells Forbes India in an exclusive interview that despite all the successes he has had, there’s always a fear, an anxiety that tough times could return again without warning.
Bachchan has seen ups and downs like few have. Despite being a megastar and being labeled a one-man industry, Bachchan’s financial fortunes saw a steep decline after his company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL) got into serious financial trouble. His homes were attached by lenders who once clamoured to lend to his company and his bank account was down to a pittance. But bit by bit, he managed to pay back all his creditors by getting back to doing what he does best: facing the arc lights and getting back to acting. Today, his success is stuff of legends.
While marketing gurus, the media and analysts marvel at the way he has repositioned Brand Bachchan, the man himself takes all this with more than a pinch of salt. “These [the repositioning and revival of his brand] are words I keep hearing,” he tells Forbes India. I was without a job. So I went across and asked some people for a job and started working, that’s it.”
But Bachchan is also acutely aware that the failures of the past can never be forgotten. “Anything can happen to me just now and I could lose everything. I think the eventuality of that should never be forgotten. There is always going to be a risk; if you are aware of that risk and the fact that it could happen at the drop of a hat, perhaps that is what drives you to not fall into that situation again,” he says. “There’s always going to be that fear, that anxiety that you may get back into that situation which was horrendous and most embarrassing. So I guess you just continue working to ensure that doesn’t happen,” says Bachchan.
Is that the reason which forces him to keep working at a frenetic pace even at 71, when he could easily afford to take it easy? Says Bachchan: “I don’t know whether that is the reason but I think that is a fear.”
For Bachchan, it was important to carry on doing what he knew best to try and emerge from the adversities he faced at the time. He points out that while the biggest and greatest companies have had financial and even bankruptcy problems, he decided to carry on working. “That is the only thing I knew,” Bachchan says, looking back on those tough times. Today, ABCL has been renamed AB Corp and from a staff of 300, it now has only one staff member, a chartered accountant. He has decided to focus on the creative aspect of cinema only, and therefore does not feel the need to have a large organization.
"If I need to do a production or co-production, I would hold hands with someone who knows the job; I would share equity," Bachchan says.
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Days are over, Salman Khan has taken over (Also Sharukh and Ameer)on Aug 23, 2015
The wise advised--\" Tyageneke Amrtatwamaanasuh\" meaning in scarifying alone is immortality. The more you hold on the more is the fear of loosing. Accept the way life is and remorse not on what is not.on Dec 16, 2013
Honourable Abhitab ji your mind and heart should be free from fear regarding your wealth and position.There was no body mercy at the reason of your fame and wealth but it is because you deserve it.Now to keep it preserve you must keep yourself developing further and further without a full stop.No one in this earth can deprive you from it if you are capable to hold it.So to maintain the capacity to hold your position and wealth is essential without any fear.on Dec 15, 2013