Fans usher in Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday with prayers

November 14th, 2007 - 2:03 am ICT by admin  
Scores of people gathered on the banks of the confluence of three holy rivers in the city, performing religious rituals and chanting hymns.

“Today is Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday. On this auspicious occasion we are conducting rituals. And like the sun shines with all its intensity, we hope that Bachchan does too all the time,” said Vijay Kumar Tripathi, a fan.

Dozens of other fans lit firecrackers and danced on streets alongside Bachchan’s posters to wish their hero a happy birthday.

A man operating a horse drawn carriage in the city decorated his horse as well as the carriage with flowers and photographs of Bachchan. His effort was to imitate a character played by the actor in a film called “Mard” in the 1980s.

Bachchan was a rage of Indian cine goers in the 1970s and 1980s and is still amongst the most popular in the country.

Son of a Hindi poet, he quit his job as a Calcutta freight broker for films and made his name in the 1970s playing a “Dirty Harry”- style cop in the ground-breaking movie ‘Zanjeer’.

His best-known film, “Sholay”, ran in Bombay for seven years - turning him into an icon in India, much like Elvis Presley was in the West. Millions of young men aped his distinctive hairstyle and people in remote villages rattle off lines from his films.

A fatal accident he survived on the sets of “Coolie” in 1982 let the country into a tizzy, forcing state television to telecast hourly bulletins, the first in media history.

He was voted the millennium’s greatest star of stage and screen in a BBC online poll three years ago, ahead of Hollywood icons including Lawrence Olivier, Humphrey Bogart and Charlie Chaplin.

Seven years ago he also became the first Indian movie actor to be exhibited in wax at Madame Tussaud’s museum in London.

In recognition of his popularity, French perfume-maker Lomani has also named a fragrance, “Amitabh B” after him.

While many contemporaries have retired from Bollywood–known for its megawatt musicals and song-and-dance extravaganzas–the silver-bearded actor still continues to attract audiences of all ages.

He recently appeared in a Bollywood remake of Sholay in director Ram Gopal Varma’s “Aag”, in which he played the bad guy. In comparison to the original, the remake bombed at the box office. (ANI)

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