Amitabh Bachchan is an Indian film actor, film producer, television host, occasional playback singer and former politician. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s for films such as Zanjeer, Deewaar and Sholay, and was dubbed India’s “angry young man” for his on-screen roles in Bollywood. Referred to as the Shahenshah of Bollywood (in reference to his 1988 film Shahenshah), Sadi ka Mahanayak (Hindi for, “Greatest actor of the century”), Star of the Millennium, or Big B, he has since appeared in over 200 Indian films in a career spanning more than five decades. Bachchan is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema as well as world cinema.
He was the most dominant actor in the Indian movie scene during the 1970s–1980s, with the French director François Truffaut calling him a “one-man industry”. Beyond the Indian subcontinent, he also has a large overseas following in markets including Africa (especially South Africa and Mauritius), the Middle East (especially Egypt), the United Kingdom, Russia, the Caribbean (especially Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago), Oceania (especially Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand) and parts of the United States.
Bachchan has won numerous accolades in his career, including four National Film Awards as Best Actor, Dadasaheb Phalke Award as lifetime achievement award and many awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies. He has won fifteen Filmfare Awards and is the most nominated performer in any major acting category at Filmfare, with 41 nominations overall. In addition to acting, Bachchan has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter. He has hosted several seasons of the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, India’s version of the game show franchise, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. He also entered politics for a time in the 1980s.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions to the arts. The Government of France honoured him with its highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour, in 2007 for his exceptional career in the world of cinema and beyond. Bachchan also made an appearance in a Hollywood film, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (2013), in which he played a non-Indian Jewish character, Meyer Wolfsheim.