Amitabh Bachchan: Meet the biggest movie star in the world

If you haven't heard of Amitabh Bachchan, I feel rather sorry for you. He is, after all, the greatest actor Indian cinema has produced and his films are some of the greatest you are ever likely to see. Bachchan has been a phenomenon for more than four decades and at 72 he is still making films that excite and surprise audiences around the world.

His latest, Shamitabh, is about a young actor who achieves top-billing by "borrowing" the overdubbed voice of a down and out, played by Amitabh (hence the "sham"); and of course it gives full range to his rich, commanding baritone, which has transfixed audiences for more than 40 years.

But it's also a meditation on identity and the nature of fame and fortune – asking audiences to examine their own role in the relationship between idol and fan – and, arguably, a sign of the growing sophistication of the Indian film industry. And it is a sophistication that has been in part affected by Bachchan, who is such a huge name that the industry has had to mature with him, changing its focus to fit in with his own journey through life. And you can't be a bigger star than that.

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Date added: 
Sunday, February 15, 2015 - 2:45am