The Bachchan family’s powerful legacy comes from the stardom of Amitabh Bachchan, who single-handedly defined a genre of Hindi filmmaking – the angry young man. He was the first generation from his family to have entered films, but his parents were closely associated with the world of theatre and poetry. Amitabh has often credited his father’s literary works for inspiring his cultural consciousness and helped shape the cinematic giant he is today.
Let’s look at the powerful legacy of Amitabh Bachchan and his family’s contribution to Indian cinema.
Harivansh Rai Bachchan was an Indian poet of the Nayi Kavita literary movement of early 20th century Hindi literature. He is best known for his early work Madhushala. Although Harivansh wasn’t part of cinema, his work has been used in movies and music. His wife Teji Bachchan was a social activist. She played Lady Macbeth in her husband’s Hindi adaptation of Macbeth. They also played a cameo appearance in Yash Chopra’s 1976 film, Kabhi Kabhie. They had two sons – Amitabh Bachchan and Ajitabh Bachchan.
Amitabh Bachchan: He is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema. During the 1970s–1980s, he was the most dominant actor in the Indian movie scene. After an initial period of struggle, Amitabh found his genre with the angry young man movies that catapulted him to the apex of fame. He has appeared in over 200 Indian films in a career spanning more than five decades. Despite a huge career setback and financial slump in the early nineties, Amitabh showed remarkable grit in returning as a star with the TV quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati and filsm like Mohabbatein and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
Amitabh married actress Jaya Bhaduri in 1973 and together they have two children – Abhishek and Shweta. Jaya Bachchan is particularly known for reinforcing a natural style of acting in both mainstream and ‘middle-of-the-road’ cinema. Amitabh and Jaya were co-stars in several films including Zanjeer (1973), Abhimaan (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975), Mili (1975) and Sholay (1975).
Ajitabh Bachchan: Amitabh’s brother and his family have majorly stayed away from films. Married to designer Ramola Bachchan, Ajitabh has three daughters – Nilima, Naina and Namrita Bachchan, and a son, Bhim Bachchan. Ramola is an active part of the fashion circle in Delhi.
Abhishek Bachchan: Amitabh and Jaya’s son began his acting career with Refugee in 2000. After several commercial failures, Abhishek’s career prospects improved in 2004, when he played a gangster in the Mani Ratnam-directed political drama Yuva. The Dhoom series brought him commercial success. Abhishek co-starred with his father in several films, including Bunty Aur Babli, Sarkar and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.
In 2007, Abhishek married actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The two were co-stars in films like Dhoom 2, Umrao Jaan, Kuch Naa Kaho and Guru, among others. The couple have a daughter named Aaradhya.
Shweta Bachchan Nanda: The daughter of Amitabh Bachchan is very much a part of film circles, even though she never stepped into the industry professionally. She is married to industrialist Nikhil Nanda, grandson of Raj Kapoor. They have two children – daughter Navya Naveli, son Agastya Nanda.
Naina Bachchan: Daughter of Ajitabh Bachchan, Naina is married to actor Kunal Kapoor.
Navya Naveli and Agastya Nanda: The children of Shweta and Nikhil Nanda carry forward the genes of two major film families – the Kapoors and the Bachchans. It is yet to be seen if either of them step into showbiz.
Aaradhya Bachchan: The nine-year-old daughter of Abhishek and Aishwarya has already accompanied her mother to major showbiz events, including the Cannes Film Festival.