Years ago, a lanky, awkward-looking man walked into tinsel town with starry dreams in his eyes. But no one took notice of him; he certainly didn’t fit into the set parameters of Bollywood. He was too tall, painfully thin, his voice was not considered right either; there was no chance that he could become the quintessential Hindi film hero. Or so it seemed.
However, the man was driven by passion and despite the many hurdles, he refused to give up on his dreams until they came true.
He turned all his weaknesses into his strength. He used his tall stature to build strong characters and his deep baritone, which was once considered to be not good enough became a part of his signature style as he delivered one stellar performance after the other.
Today he is known as the Shahenshah of Bollywood and is one of the most respected actors in the Hindi film industry. He is none other than the megastar – Amitabh Bachchan.
With a career spanning over four decades, the Piku actor, who still has roles specially written for him, arguably is a role model not only in Bollywood but for anyone who has a dream.
And of course, there is a lot to learn from his incredible journey.
Here are few lessons that youngsters can learn from Big B’s life to make a successful mark for themselves in whatever field they choose…
1.Believe In Your Dreams
When you start up on your journey to achieve your dreams, there are going to be times when people may pull you down, but if you believe in yourself and in your dreams, you are certain to stand up again and take over the world. And this is exactly what Amitabh Bachchan did.
Mr. Bachchan, who shall soon be seen in Te3n, was not only rejected as a hero but even by All India Radio as they didn’t like his voice. Imagine what if he had let all these naysayers affect his determination to become an actor? But fortunately, he didn’t. Undeterred by all the cynicism, he believed in his dream and kept moving.
So conviction is the key, my friend. Nothing better to start off with than a strong belief in yourself. The mantra is — You can and you will.
2.Don’t Fear Failures, Be Persistence And Never Give Up
It is said that failure is the key to success and what really defines us is how well we rise after falling. No one can better affirm this fact than our Major Saab himself. The iconic Sholay star has encountered not one but three rough phases in his career, and after each failure, he came back with a vengeance.
“I faced rejection several times until I got my first film, Saat Hindustani, but that too failed miserably. Nevertheless, I kept moving on. And what followed after that everyone knows,” said Amitabh Bachchan in one of his interviews.
After his first film tanked miserably, no actress was willing to work with him. His career was not going anywhere. But despite all this he continued to do what he loved – acting. He did a couple of cameos, a few voice-overs and it was only after a thundering 12 flops, that success opened its doors for Mr. Bachchan. In 1973, Prakash Mehra cast him in the leading role of Inspector Vijay Khanna in his film Zanjeer and it was with this film that the legendary Angry Young Man of the silver screen was born. Thereafter, a spate of films followed, success followed him everywhere and Amitabh Bachchan went on to hold an unbeatable position in the industry.
However, his meteoric rise soon saw a downfall.
In the 80’s when Bachchan was ruling the roost, he met with a near-fatal accident while shooting for an action scene for Manmohan Desai’s Coolie. But yet again, Amitabh picked himself up and rose from the ashes.
Another downfall awaited him in the 90s when after a voluntary retirement he started his company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd (ABCL) in 1995. In less than four years, ABCL faced a major financial crisis and Big B lost everything he had. But again, his indomitable spirit and never give up attitude helped him bounce back. He came back with the first instalment of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, which went on to become the most watched TV show and started his second innings as an actor with Yash Raj Films Mohabbatein and ever since there has been no stopping this legend.
Big B undoubtedly is a testimony to the famous poem, penned by his dad, Harivansh Rai Bachchan – ‘Koshish karne walo ki har nahi hoti.’
3.Embrace Your Struggles
Amitabh’s father, the renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan greatly influenced him. “My father once told me – ‘jab tak sangharsh hai, tab tak Jeevan hai (Till the time there is struggle, there is life)’,” said the actor who has never shied away from the struggles of life.
In fact, during his struggling days, Big B even spent many nights on a bench at Marine Drive. This speaks volumes about his determination to chase his dreams.
Remember, the road to success is paved with hurdles and it’s important to embrace them and move forward.
4.Work Hard And Be Disciplined
If you want to start-up and make a mark for yourself, you need to prepare yourself to do the hard yards, just like AB, who often works for over 16-17 hours even today.
Big B recalls an incident, “My father was in a government job and he went for another job at night due to which he came home late. When I opened the door for him, I often asked him ‘Why is he so late?’ and to which he replied ‘Paisa badi mushkil se milta hai’ (You don’t get money easily).’ So, when I entered the show business, I used to do two to three shifts and reached home late. Then my father asked me the same question and complained about my late arrival. My answer was the same: ‘Paisa badi mushkil se milta hai, babuji’. This is one of the many teachings that helps me in my life.”
While B-towners are notorious for being forever late, Amitabh Bachchan is among the few stars who is known for his punctuality. He is never late and on those rare occasions, when he is delayed by few minutes, he won’t stop apologizing.
Mr. Bachchan feels that he is not worthy of being aped, but says that there is one thing that everyone should borrow from him and it is his – Punctuality, as time is everything.
6.Don’t Be Afraid Of Experimenting And Taking Chances
From romancing a heroine as a 64-year-old chef in Cheeni Kum to playing a 12-year-old boy with a genetic disorder in Paa. Mr. Bachchan has never shied away from leaving his comfort zone and experimenting with something new. No wonder this National Award winning actor, who is also honoured with a Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and the Padma Vibhushan, is still playing central characters in his films.
The funda here is pretty simple, unless you are not willing to take chances, success will delude you.
7.Keep The Passion Alive
It is impossible to reach your goals if you lack the passion. Mr. Bachchan is known to be constantly pushing himself to do more. Despite the fatal accident in 1982 on the sets of Coolie, which left his spleen ruptured, Big B after recovering resumed back his shooting and completed the film.
Few years later, he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis — an autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fluctuating muscle weakness and fatigability. But that wasn’t going to pull him down either. Passionate about his work, Mr. Bachchan still jumped from a height of 30 feet for a stunt in the movie — Aks.
In 2005, he once again landed in the ICU for diverticulitis of the small intestine. But this living legend refused to stop. He stunned the unit of Shootout At Lokhandwala by recording 23 scenes in five hours, a feat that actors half his age don't have the stamina for!
Quoting his own words, "I like to feel the butterflies in the stomach, I like to go home and have a restless night and wonder how I'm going to be able to accomplish this feat, get jittery. That hunger and those butterflies in the stomach are very essential..."
Aye aye, sir, we couldn’t agree with you more!
8. Stay Humble
Lastly, one of the most important lesson that one needs to learn from Big B is to stay humble. The minute you let pride take over, you have invited your own downfall.
Despite achieving so much in his life, one would never hear Mr. Bachchan boast about anything, rather he would humbly say, “Frankly I've never really subscribed to these adjectives tagging me as an 'icon', 'superstar' etc. I've always thought of myself as an actor doing his job to the best of his ability."
Images credit: filmymonkey.com, desimartini.com, andhrawishesh.com
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