Amitabh Bachchan has time and again narrated how he went across to Yash Chopra and asked him for work. The film was Mohabbatein, his first as a character artiste. In life and in showbusiness particularly, timing is all!
A few weeks before Mohabbatein was released, Amitabh Bachchan made his debut on television in the greatest reality show in Indian history, Kaun Banega Crorepati. Everyone advised him against it, said that the small screen will reduce his stardom but KBC proved a gamechanger and the entire nation was hooked on to the show.
When Mohabbatein was released in the cinema halls the audience applauded their matinee idol shouting lines like ‘Lock kiya jaaye’.
The decade saw 50 plus superstar featured in 61 films including songs/ guest appearances/ voice overs and yes, he played the patriarch but was a different father in a different film, reprimanding in Ek Rishta, aristocratic in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, friendly in Armaan, angry in Virrudh and flamboyant in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.
He played both, the good and the bad man, a criminal in Aankhen and Kaante, a cop in Khakee, Dev and Bunty aur Babli. He was god in God Tussi Great Ho and a ghost in Bhootnath.
It was a decade of variety and experiments, there was a psychological thriller/ Aks, a fantasy/ Allaadin, period drama/ Eklavya, horror film/ Darna Zaroori Hai and also a sex comedy/ Boom.
There was Sarkar and Sarkaar Raaj, some regional adventures, Amrithadare/ Kannada, Amrutha Varsham/ Telegu, Ek Krantiveer/ Marathi and Ganga/ Bhojpuri and the Last Lear in English he romanced wife and a Hollywood film/ The Great Gatsby., romanced wife Hema Malini in Baaghban and also younger woman Tabu/ Cheeni Kum and he was accepted in both.
He won two national awards in this decade, Black/ 2005 where he played the tutor of a deaf and dumb Rani Mukherji and Paa/2009 about a genetic defect that accelerates aging.
On television he continued to shine as the star anchor in three seasons of Kaun Banega Crorepati. The health complications continued but Bachchan did not let them overshadow his motivation.
To be continued…