From bankruptcy to Big B

How acting helped Amitabh Bachchan emerge from the brim of going broke.

Ians December 15, 2014


Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has seen highs and lows in his journey from being Bollywood’s ‘angry young man’ to its Shahenshah. The actor says his determination and focus helped him emerge from the brink of bankruptcy.

For the actor, things didn’t turn out as expected with his Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd. (ABCL) landing him into a financial mess. “It was a difficult time. ABCL went into debt. I was bankrupt. The people who expressed desire to work with me at the peak of my career came and hurled abuses at me,” Bachchan said at a session of the TV show Agenda Aaj Tak.

Still from the film Sholay.

Bachchan who has consistently proved his mettle with films like Agneepath, Don, Black, Paa and Cheeni Kum, says his focus and passion for acting helped him overcome that phase. “When you are in such a problem, you don’t sleep at night. On one such night, I asked myself ‘Who I am’ and realised that I came here to act and should stick to it,” he said.

“Next morning, I went to [late filmmaker] Yash Chopra and explained my problem and told him that I neither have money nor work. It was then he gave me a role in Mohabbatein and then I started again from that point,” he added. Bachchan played the role of a strict father and professor, who doesn’t believe in love, in the musical romantic drama, which released in 2000.

At the session, he also recited his late father Harivanshrai Bachchan’s poem Madhushala and reminisced about his father. “The poem was written in 1933 and published in 1935. It is amazing that the poem still manages to attract people. My father never drank, but the poem is all about alcohol. It was a hot topic of discussion then,” said Bachchan.

The actor says his father’s lessons are his driving force. “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’.”

“So, when I entered 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 have helped me in my life,” he said.

Bachchan expresses that entering politics was a mistake, and he would never again repeat the mistake. The 72-year-old, who contested the Lok Sabha election from Allahabad in 1984 and won, resigned after three years as an MP.

“Venturing into politics was a mistake. I entered the field with the flow of emotions but then I realised that emotions are very different from reality in the political arena. So I gave up,” the actor said “I have never thought of going back to politics since then,” he added.

Meanwhile, the actor has wrapped up shooting for Piku and is currently busy with Wazir.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2014.

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