Did you know that Amitabh Bachchan has won 4 National Awards, 15 Filmfare Awards and is the most nominated actor? Such is the prowess and skill of one man that the Hindi film industry used to be called the ‘one-man industry.’ He is also one of the only Hindi film actors to have a temple dedicated to him!
There is hardly any Indian alive who doesn’t know the enigma that is Amitabh Bachchan. He captured the hearts of women and ruled the minds of men at his peak in the 1980s. Fondly known as Big B, he has acted in almost 190 films over 50 years. His competitors have faded or retired but his star continues to shine bright even today.
Amitabh Bachchan came to the Hindi film industry or Bollywood without a godfather or contacts. He struggled and climbed his way up right to the top. His intense voice, his commendable acting skills, his unique choice of roles and his commitment to cinema has made him the superstar he is today. Amitabh originally debuted as a narrator in the 1969 National Award winning film Bhuvan Shome. His acting debut followed soon in the Hindi film, Saat Hindustani.
Amitabh Bachchan is very outspoken about his initial failure and struggle. He received mediocre success in supporting roles but had 12 flops by the age of 30. His first success came in 1973 with cult hit Zanjeer where he managed to carve the niche of the ‘angry young man’ for himself. Amitabh Bachchan shined in the role of the intense, dedicated and efficient police officer struggling with demons of his past. Zanjeer paved the way for many blockbuster hits and stardom for Bachchan. The following decade became the decade of Amitabh Bachchan and his aura spread across the country. He tried his luck with television and was equally successful as the charming host of Kaun Banega Crorepati?
It should come as no surprise that fans go crazy for the tall and statuesque actor. His warmth, personality and cinematic talents have garnered him unbelievable love and applause all over India. Sanjay Patodia is an ordinary Indian man who is a superfan of the superstar Amitabh Bachchan. He wanted to do something unique to celebrate his favorite actor. He built a shrine dedicated to the actor and his popular roles over the years.
Based in Kolkata, the shrine is a part of the All Bengal Amitabh Bachchan Fans Association. It also acts as a social welfare organization which does charity work in the city. The temple is covered in photos of the actor portraying various characters and during his visits to Kolkata. Visitors can glimpse ‘Jai Shri Amitabh’ pasted proudly on the wallpaper. Mementos from different films and items gifted by the benevolent actor himself are displayed grandly in the shrine. For all purposes, Amitabh Bachchan is God here as devotees and fervent fans chant mantras and perform aarti to pay their respects to him.
The fans and Sanjay travel to Mumbai regularly to meet their idol and create new memories. Amitabh Bachchan is reported to be touched and humbled by their love and kindness. He also makes it a point to visit the organization whenever he is in Kolkata. Sanjay waits eagerly to see any movie starring the golden-voiced actor and celebrates it by distributing sweets and flowers to cinema-goers. He has also installed a statue of Amitabh for viewers to see and enjoy.
If you thought the organization was just some fans getting together then you are wrong. The organization actively holds blood donation camps, distributes food and materials to the poor and homeless while also collecting donations for calamities. Members of the organization volunteer to teach needy children and support their education.
There might be actors and their hordes of ‘online followers’ today but nothing beats the true superstardom of having your own temple!
Featured Photo by Soumik Kar