THE MARK OF A MAN
Every iconic film of AMITABH BACHCHAN saw him in various avatars. Ankit Shah decodes the Hindi film Industry’s biggest superstar and his many looks.
Regarded as one of the greatest Indian actors of all times, the iconic Amitabh Bachchan made his debut in 1969 with Saat Hindustani. He didn’t really make a mark here but his time obviously hadn’t come just yet. At that point Rajesh Khanna was the biggest superstar around, and all the other actors faded in comparison to the great Khanna ‘super’dom. After a slow start, Amitabh Bachchan starred opposite the great Rajesh Khanna in Anand in 1971. His portrayal as Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee was critically acclaimed and some even say he outshone the reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna in the film. This film also won him his first award. In 1973, Prakash Mehra cast him in Zanjeer - and this was the film that earned Amitabh Bachchan the sobriquet of the ‘Angry Young Man’ which went on to became his persona for most of his movies.
However, the biggest break for Amitabh Bachchan came in 1975 when he starred in two of the years’ finest films. The first being Deewar which crowned Bachchan as the superstar of the film industry. The movie saw Bachchan as a stylish gangster and his look was super dapper. His well-tailored suits in the film were sartorial trendsetters and way ahead of its time. However, what does stay firmly etched in the mind is his ‘first’ look where he wore a denim blue shirt and khaki pants, with a rope dangling over the shoulder. The next was the iconic Sholay, in which he played a small-time thief Jai. He starred alongside Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amjad Khan, Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan. This movie cemented Amitabh Bachchan’s title as the greatest superstar of the film industry. In 1976, Amitabh Bachchan starred in Kabhie Kabhie as a romantic hero, and this changed Bachchan’s persona from just the ‘Angry Young Man’ to being the dreamboat of the nation. Bachchan’s look in the movie was hugely popular especially among the women during that time. His trademark turtlenecks paired with flared Bell-bottoms went on to become a rage with the youngsters.
Amar Akbar Anthony then saw him as Anthony, a street-smart good-hearted small-time crook – a role Bachchan played to perfection. Bachchan’s one-liners and his fashion sense in the film became an instant hit especially the cap and the tuxedo from the song My Name is Antony Gonzalves. In 1978, Bachchan starred in Don, which had him in a dual role as a highly intelligent crime lord as well as Vijay, a simpleton. Don was seen by many as a landmark movie which further established Amitabh Bachchan as a legendary actor. His character of Don was seen wearing expensive suits and driving sleek cars.
The next was Muqaddar Ka Sikandar where he was seen as Sikandar, a man wronged by the system. His ‘jacket’ ensemble in the movie especially where he is seen riding a bike inspired the youth to copy his iconic style. He also starred in Trishul where he played Vijay Kumar, a man who wanted to extract revenge on his father for abandoning his mother. He yet again wore well-tailored suits and bell bottoms. By this time the name ‘Vijay’ was seen as a name synonymous with Amitabh Bachchan. This resulted in many people naming their children as Vijay. His character as a coolie in the movie of the same name, was not a bed of roses. During the filming of an action sequence, Bachchan was badly injured – in fact, such was the impact of the injury that Amitabh Bachchan almost died. His recovery further escalated the dizzy craze for Amitabh Bachchan. He later on starred in Shahenshah, which further upped the ante on his stardom. Here he played a super-hero. His black costume with an iron chain is legendary. The dialogues of the movie are also part of his persona and style especially, ‘Rishte mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hain, naam hai Shahenshah’. After this, he starred in Agneepath - the movie was the remake of the 1983 Al Pacino starrer Scarface. Here he tried to step into Marlon Brando’s shoes - and the guttural tonal quality of his voice was the biggest USP of the movie. And though it didn’t work at that point, today this film is considered as a cult classic. His portrayal in Sarkar was part Vito Corleone from Godfather and part Bala Saheb and was well appreciated by the critics as well as the audience. His look in the movie was a black kurta-dhoti. He later starred in Family: ties of blood, where he played a dreaded gangster. His look in the movie was his traditional French beard along with his uber-cool suits paired with stylish sunglasses and cigars.
His performance in Paa in 2009, was the tour de force. As the 12-year old Auro suffering from progeria, this was easily his toughest role. The makeup and the costumes was impeccable and Amitabh Bachchan surpassed all expectations in terms of acting.
Amitabh Bachchan is not just a legendary actor but an iconic fashionista! This Bachchan can put every youngster’s swag to death when it comes to style! From his shining shoes to colourful watches, embroidered shawls to pop colours, velvet blazers to classic Nehru Jacket, Big B has killed it. And, how! And his suits… undoubtedly, nobody wears the suits like he does. From the traditional twopiece, to elegant three-pieces to uber-cool Tuxedos, his wardrobe boast the best and the most elegant suits. His accessories too are on point - be it cufflinks, ties or even scarves. The same can be said for his ethnic collection. Big B wears incredibly well-tailored Kurtapajamas. The simplest ones as well as the ones with elegant embroideries. His love for shawls too are well documented. Indeed, the great Amitabh Bachchan with his signature salt ‘n’ pepper French beard and his amazing fashion sense gives him a buccaneer swag and attitude that no other actor has. Long live this icon. Long live his style.