Amitabh became the first Bollywood star to be immortalised in wax at Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum in June 2000. The powers that be at the museum shortlisted five major stars of Indian cinema (along with Madhuri Dixit, Raj Kapoor, Shahrukh Khan and Ashwaria Rai) and left the decision to public vote.
"It's a double first for us. As well as our first Bollywood star, it's the first time we've ever asked the public to chose a Madame Tussaud's subject in our two-hundred year history. We consulted a variety of pundits from film and entertainment magazines to community radio stations to the BBC and the Bollywood insiders at B4U to come up with a representative shortlist."
Diane Moon, spokesperson for Madam Tussaud's.
With more than twice as many votes as his nearest rival, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh was announced the winner at the first International Indian Film Awards held the same year in London. Hundreds of intricate measurements were made and his waxy double made its debut at the museum in early 2001.


Amitabh is one of the giants of Indian cinema, one of those actors with whom the entire subcontinent is on first-name terms. With a career stretching back almost four decades and with 187 acting credits to his name (not to mention his work as a playback singer, producer and member of parliament) he is staggeringly prolific by Western standards, although this level of activity is not so extraordinary in Bollywood.

Despite being in his mid sixties at the time of writing, he still gets 'cool guy' roles, almost like an ageing Indian James Dean. In his cheesy way he still looks pretty sexy in leathers and sunglasses, if you like that sort of thing, and his baritone voice has as much appeal as his looks. He actually got more voice work than visible acting, early on, and he still occasionally provides narration in films where he doesn't appear in person, like the wonderful Lagaan.

On his blog, an enormous photo of the man takes up the entire first screenful or so, which seems quite appropriate in an odd sort of way. His face fills movie posters, too, and his name dominates credits. AMITABH. There is something a little bit different about the nature of stardom in India.

It's no surprise that The Big B, as he is widely known, is the actor who inspires the protagonist of Slumdog Millionaire to escape from an outdoor toilet the faecal way, though his part is played by another actor in the movie, and he seems to have had quite critical things to say about it. As it happens he was also the original host of the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? starting in 2000, which helped him revive his career after something of a slump in the 1990s. This being Amitabh, though, even that relative low was not enough to stop him topping a 1999 BBC News website poll as the Greatest Star of the Millennium.

He is married to the respected Bengali actress Jaya Bachchan (neé Bhaduri). Their son Abhishek is also an actor, who seems to tend towards more comical roles, and married Aishwarya Rai (now Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) in 2007. Amitabh and Jaya's daughter Shweta is not an actress, though she has done some TV presenting work.

I'm sure I could carry on for pages without coming close to doing Amitabh Bachchan justice, but I've only seen a few of his films, so I'm going to leave off here. He is a pretty good, exceedingly charismatic actor, and an interesting character all round. Check out his IMDb page, his blog and his Twitter feed if you're interested.

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