It isn’t a common thing to see actors who are born to be part of the film industry. There are only a few iconic artists who have paved their way to stardom with the variety of characters they have portrayed as well as the manner in which they made these characters convincing enough for the viewers. One such actor is the Shehenshaah of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan. With a career spanning over 52 years and 200+ films, Amitabh Bachchan is considered as an all time legend in Indian cinema. There are multiple roles and characters of his which impacted viewers, in many different ways. My top 5 characters and performances of his, in no particular order, are the following:
1. Badla (Badal Gupta)
In the film Badla, Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Badal Gupta, an advocate, who approaches Naina Sethi, a shrewd businesswoman who has been arrested for the murder of her lover. The film, despite being a remake, was an engrossing watch. The thrill remained intact due to the powerful performances of the cast. Amitabh Bachchan as Badal Gupta was simply flawless. In the scenes where he interrogates Naina to understand the reality, he brings in a special charm through several minute and subtle voice modulations and body mannerisms, to indicate a sense of authority over Naina. The manner in which he carries the character till the end, where a big reveal takes place, is nothing but awesome to watch. It is his performances in such roles that solidify the notion that age is just a number for those artists who have complete faith in their craft and are willing to take up any kind of role and excel in it. Amitabh’s role as Badal Gupta is surely one of my personal favourites of his.
2. Pink (Deepak Sehgal)
From the topics and issues it discusses to the marvellous crafting, Pink is surely one of the best Indian films ever. Though the film is spearheaded by Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang, Amitabh Bachchan in his small role of Advocate Deepak Sehgal just steals the limelight. After being introduced in the film as an eerie individual, who always keeps looking at the three women, to finally fight their legal battle in the court, the character arc is well developed. To make this character a convincing one, there needs to be an expert touch by an expert actor, and who better than Amitabh Bachchan to portray the role to perfection? The subtlety in his portrayal is superb to watch. There are several scenes where his acting hits right at the viewer’s heart, especially the scenes where he says the dialogue “No means no”. Through the film, he shows how to portray a character with extreme subtlety, yet score and become the hero, when the time comes. He was just flawless in his role as Deepak Sehgal and hence becomes one of my all time favourite on-screen lawyers.
3. Paa (Auro)
Paa is a film that had such a brilliant concept as its central theme. The film’s biggest success was seeing a 68 year old Amitabh Bachchan play the role of a 12 year old boy. He lends a childish nature to his character, to make his role more convincing. Another interesting facet of the film was to see Abhishek Bachchan play a father to him. Amitabh’s superb portrayal of Auro, the 12 year old kid who suffers from progeria, won him a National Film Award for Best Actor. From being annoying and irritating, to absolutely winning our hearts with his heartwarming performance, he showcased his range as an actor and performer with this role. It is not easy to play a character that is more than 50 years younger than him.
4. Bhootnath (Kailash Nath aka Bhootnath)
Bhootnath is a film which had a sense of innocence in it. The character played by Amitabh Bachchan, Kailash Nath, has a backstory, which is sure to move you emotionally. His excellent portrayal of emotions makes this role of Kailash Nath an enjoyable one. His heavy voice doesn’t diminish the innocence of his character. One of the most heartwarming scenes is the one where a pooja is held in the house to help Kailash’s spirit attain moksha. The scene, along with the music and the terrific performance of the cast, becomes a very emotional one to watch. His performance in the scenes he shares with Aman, is heartwarming to watch. The way in which he vibes with the innocent kid, becomes his friend and eventually an inevitable part of him is brilliant. This performance of Amitabh’s isn’t widely acclaimed compared to his other roles, however each time I see the film, it makes my heart full.
5. Satyagraha (Dwarka Anand)
Satyagraha is a film that depicts the ugly side of politicians and their false promises. In this star studded film, there are many characters that have their own influence on the viewers. However, Amitabh’s character, Dwarka Anand, had a different kind of touch. His experience as an actor was evident throughout the film. The film has a very intelligent screenplay, wherein there is an integration of the flow of events, like India’s freedom struggle. The characters are also developed in such a manner that each character represents one prominent freedom fighter. Amitabh Bachchan’s character of Dwarka Anand has similarities to the traits of Mahatma Gandhi. His belief in attaining a common goal through the path of non-violence, fighting through hunger strikes as a mark of protest and many more were incorporated in the film. Amitabh Bachchan’s aura while portraying the character makes it an enjoyable watch and in effect, one of my personal favourite roles of his. There are several scenes in the film where the actor in him shines and elevates an otherwise normal scene into something magical.
Amitabh Bachchan is a personality whose filmography is filled with several iconic roles. Be it the ones which catapulted his stardom to another level or the ones where he tried to experiment with his craft, Amitabh Bachchan always left a mark with the characters he has portrayed. There is no doubt in the fact that he was, is and will always be an irreplaceable artist in the Indian film industry. Each time he appears on screen, he does something magical. Until his next release, let’s revisit all his golden performances in several iconic films, which changed the face of Indian cinema.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.