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Failure to Success – Inspirational Life Story of Amitabh Bachchan

Failure to Success - Inspirational Story of Amitabh Bachchan

“In the year 2000, when the entire world was celebrating the new century, I was celebrating my disastrous fortune. There were no films, no money, no company, a million legal cases against and the tax authorities had put notice of recovery on my home.”
– Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh is a famous Indian film actor, perhaps the most popular star in the history of India’s cinema, known primarily for his roles in action films. He needs no introduction if you are a fan of Bollywood movies. This post is about getting inspired from his never-say-die attitude.

  • He is the most-nominated performer in any major acting category at Filmfare, with 36+ nominations overall.
  • In addition to acting, Bachchan has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television presenter, and was an elected member of the Indian Parliament from 1984 to 1987.
  • In 1999, in a BBC Online Poll, Amitabh Bachchan was named the Superstar of the Millennium ahead of the likes of Alec Guinness and Marlon Brando.
  • In June, 2000 he became the first living Asian to have a wax statue erected in his honour at Madame Tussaud’s.

All those achievements and accolades just didn’t came to him. His life has been never a bed of roses.

Failures and Crisis of Amitabh Bachchan

Remainder of this post talks about the multiple failures and crisis that followed Amitabh. And then how he eventually came out with success by fighting all odds.

Failures and Crisis of Amitabh Bachchan
Failures and Crisis of Amitabh Bachchan

1. Initial Rejections in Bollywood

A tall and thin young man who known for his voice entered the city of dreams had to face rejections because of these two qualities of his.

  • Film makers rejected him for being 6 feet 3 inches and had no confidence in him.
  • He also auditioned for a voice test at All India Radio but was rejected.

2. 1982 – Near Death Experience

In 1982, Amitabh had a near death experience, the doctors and his family had lost hopes after he met with an accident on the sets of the movie ‘Coolie’.

However, he came back stronger from this incident.

3. Ailment called Myasthenia

Myasthenia Gravis, an ailment which struck him after the fatal accident, the disease makes one feel weak and the person keeps dropping his head but he was able to recover as it was in remission state.

4. Crisis called Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd(ABCL)

In 1995 Amitabh started Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd(ABCL) that specialized in film production and event management. It was a pioneering attempt to evolve a corporatized entertainment company on the lines of the Hollywood studios. The company burst into the limelight in 1996 when it brought to India the Miss World Pageant. But in its tearing hurry to grow and expand, it seemed to have spread itself too thin without proper planning and management control.

ABCL did anything and everything to do with the entertainment business. Was it a success? Of course No.

a. Miss World Pagent – More Fits than Profits

Miss World 1996, the 46th Miss World pageant took place on November 23, 1996 in the city of Bangalore, India. By the end of the night, Irene Skliva of Greece took home the title.

However, ABCL’s attempts at event management threw up more fits than profits. The Miss World contest, its first such attempt, was riddled with controversies, beginning with protests from women’s groups and ending with the Spastics Society publicly denouncing the company’s inability to pay up its promised charity until recently. The Miss World international organization expected a fee of $2 million from the local event manager. Along with other costs, ABCL would have run up a bill of an estimated $5 million (Rs 17.5 crore). Even a modest estimate puts ABCL’s loss at about Rs 4 crore.

b. Bankruptcy Filing of ABCL

In 1999 ABCL was facing an unprecedented liquidity crunch. Substantial funds were blocked in production and distribution of films; staff salaries were not being paid on time; and public confidence has nosedived.

In March 1999, hounded by creditors led by India’s public broadcaster Doordarshan and Canara Bank, ABCL approached the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction to seek protection under the bankruptcy laws.

The Bombay high court restrained Bachchan from selling off his Mumbai bungalow ‘Prateeksha‘ and two flats till the pending loan recovery cases of Canara Bank were dealt with.

Bachchan, however, pleaded that he had mortgaged his bungalow to Sahara India Finance for raising funds for his company. The Indian Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction declared Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited a ‘sick’ company with a debt of US$14m.

Amitabh Bachchan interview from Rediff
Amitabh Bachchan interview from Rediff

Amitab’s Fight Back with Kaun Banega Crorepati

Big B was back with a bang by 2000, this time on the small screen with Kaun Banega Crorepati—a series that revived his fortunes along with those of the STAR Plus. 

stimates reveal that Bachchan earned Rs 15 crore for 85 episodes of the show. The rush of endorsements that came his way, like the ICICI Bank endorsement deal for Rs 10 crore, helped Big B pay back creditors and clean up ABCL’s balance sheet. Helping him in his hour of need were  Subrata Roy of the Sahara group and Samajwadi Party general-secretary Amar Singh. At sixty plus, Amitabh Bachchan became a greater icon.

Successful Launch of AB Corp (Version 2 of ABCL)

From Amitabh’s interview in 2003 – Rediff

The company was launched again by Amitabh Bachchan in 2001 as A B Corp. The company then went on to produce hit films such as Paa in 2009 Directed by R Bali and Viruddh.

Come to Year 2012 and Net Worth of 500 cr

In March 2012, according to the affidavit filed by Jaya Bachchan as Samjwadi Party candidate for Rajya Sabha, She alone has movable and immovable assets of nearly 100 crore and with Amitabh Bachchan around 500 crore. (Ref – Daily Pioneer)

In Summary, What to Learn from Amitabh’s Experience?

Amitabh Bachchan – Never Give Up
  • Amitabh was good at earning and creating wealth, but trusted others and did not have the ability to protect the wealth he had earned. That resulted in series of failures.
  • However, he fought back hard and is now a bigger role model than ever.

So, it is not enough to focus on building wealth. We also need to give enough emphasis on the protection of what wealth we have.

Do you think Amitabh Bachachan proved himself a role model to younger generation? Do you get inspired by his story?