From 'Sholay' to 'Zanjeer': The timeless roles of Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan
On the work front, Big B will be seen next in 'Ganapath', helmed by Vikas Bahl. Photo: IANS

Today marks the 81st birthday of the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan. With a remarkable film career spanning over five decades, he has graced the screen in over 200 films. Bachchan's legacy firmly establishes him as one of Indian cinema's most successful and influential actors. On this remarkable day, let's take a look at some of his most iconic roles.

Sholay is frequently hailed as a timeless masterpiece in Indian cinema. It narrates the tale of two outlaws, Veeru (played by Dharmendra) and Jai (portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan), recruited by a retired police officer (Sanjeev Kumar) with the mission of apprehending the notorious dacoit Gabbar Singh (brought to life by Amjad Khan). The film stands as a pivotal moment in Amitabh Bachchan's career, propelling him to unprecedented fame. Numerous scenes and dialogues from the film remain so iconic that people vividly recall them to this day.

'Zanjeer' stands as a significant action crime film in Indian cinema, helmed and produced by Prakash Mehra, with a script penned by the renowned duo Salim–Javed. This movie marked the inception of a remarkable partnership between Salim–Javed and the iconic Amitabh Bachchan, who earned the iconic title of the 'angry young man' through his role in Zanjeer, propelling him to unprecedented fame. Today, Zanjeer is celebrated as a timeless classic and holds a pivotal place in the annals of Indian film history.

'Don' stands tall as one of Bollywood's most iconic and revered films, firmly earning its place among the greatest cult classics in cinematic history. The movie boasts a stellar cast, with Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, and Pran taking on pivotal roles. Bachchan's remarkable performance encompasses dual characters, portraying both the titular character and a simpleton bearing a striking resemblance. The storyline revolves around Vijay, a resident of Bombay's slums, who, due to his uncanny resemblance to the notorious criminal Don, is recruited by Police Superintendent D'Silva. Vijay is tasked with assuming Don's identity after the criminal's demise, all in an effort to serve as an informant for the police and unravel the depths of the criminal organization's secrets.

Released in 1990, 'Agneepath' marked a significant milestone in Amitabh Bachchan's career as it earned him his maiden National Award for Best Actor. The film's narrative revolves around a man's relentless quest to seek vengeance for his father's death and the injustices inflicted upon his family, leading him to become entangled in the Mumbai underworld. Although the initial reception of the movie was mixed, "Agneepath" evolved over the years to solidify its status as one of Bachchan's iconic classics. Notably, in 2012, Karan Johar undertook the task of remaking this cinematic gem.

Amitabh Bachchan takes on the role of Iqbal Aslam Khan, a railway coolie who endures a heart-wrenching separation from his mother Salma (portrayed by Waheeda Rehman). This tragic rift is the result of Zafar's obsession with Salma, leading to the disintegration of her family and her subsequent mental breakdown. The film is notorious for a dramatic fight scene involving Bachchan and co-star Puneet Issar, during which Bachchan suffered a near-fatal injury due to a miscalculated jump. In the final edit of the movie, this critical fight scene is preserved, with a special note acknowledging the incident where Bachchan was injured. Notably, this film achieved tremendous success, becoming the highest-grossing release of the year.

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