73 years ago, the Indian film fraternity was blessed with an iconic personality who managed to entertain the audiences in every possible way making him the most sought-after actor across the globe; it was on this day in 1942 in Allahabad where Amitabh Bachchan was born. Over the years we have seen Amitabh Bachchan in various avatars and forms. He has a comic under his name, The Adventures of Amitabh Bachchan and he has also given voiceovers for various animated films.
On his 73rd birthday, we at TheGraphicSlate have listed down some of his incredible works in the animation and comic industry.
Bachchan was commonly regarded as the angry young man of Bollywood and he gained his popularity back in 1970’s with films like Zanjeer and Deewar. Big B is one of the finest actors our country has seen and due to his immense popularity back in 1970’s and 80’s he got a whole set of comics based on him.
Amitabh Bachchan starred in comics as Supremo, a crime fighting superhero who was the brainchild of Pammi Bakshi, editor of Movie magazine. Supremo was a comic book character in the series The Adventures of Amitabh Bachchan which were published back in the 1980s and were seen in the market for two years. The series were launched under the Star Comics imprint by India Book House (IBH) publisher.
This masterstroke creation wasn’t born out of nowhere; it has a very interesting story behind it. While standing in the balcony of her flat, Pammi Bakshi saw a group of children playing in the compound of a neighbouring building. The boys were declaring who will play which hero: one said Superman as he could fly, other said Batman as he could scale any building where as the most surprising answer came from the third boy who said he’s Amitabh Bachchan as he can beat up ten baddies with one hand. This is how the Indian rising star got comic starring him as the badass Superhero.
This comic series was written and directed by Gulzar and the illustrations were done by Pratap Mullick who used to work at Amar Chitra Katha. Supremo sported a pink, fitting outfit with a wrap and holster and a pendant around his neck. The character did not possess any superpowers that would make anyone go green with envy, but simply happened to have the right combination of strength and intelligence.
Supremo runs his superhero operations from a top secret submarine with his best pals, the crimesolving adolescents Vijay and Anthony. These names were a tribute to Bachchan’s screen persona, after the actor’s most iconic characters. We also see Supremo having talking animals and birds as friends who help him out in his missions. They include a falcon, a crime solving leopard and a few tigers.
The comics had to be great success, one because Supremo had Amitabh Bachchan who was on the peak of popularity charts and second, it had witty one liners and action packed scenes. Sadly the production was stopped as Pammi had to go abroad and no one was there to continue this comic which starred the Indian Bollywood hero Big B.
Not only comics but the baritone actor has also touched upon the animation industry with songs and animation series featuring him. The song ‘Ek Rahen Eer Ek Rahen Beer’ had Big B as a grown-up kid who goofs around with his small friends and creating all the troubles in school and finding himself in one. Animation was used extensively throughout the song, with different styles of animation being used such as stop motion animation and shadow animation executed brilliantly to compliment the song. Sung by Big B himself, the song was a chartbuster in 90s and over the years we have seen him lending his uniquely amazing voice in many movie narrations and as voice overs for a number of animated characters.
In 2010, in a joint venture of Amitabh’s production house ABCL along with Toonz Animation, a Kerala-based animation firm, had Big B voicing two characters (young warriors Dhruva and Vajra) in the 3D animation movie Twinergy that was supposed to be released in November that year. With a budget of Rs 20 crore, his character was designed replicating the angry young man of the 70s.
This first animation work to be directed by Priyadarshan, Twinergy tells the story of two cities, one on earth and the other in the sky, united by an energy field. The plot revolves around two superheroes with complementary powers, who set about fighting evil forces to save the two kingdoms from mutual destruction. Though the film was first announced way back in 2009, the movie is yet to see the light of the day.
Next in the year 2013, producer Jayantilal Gada managed to rope in Amitabh Bachchan for his ambitious Mahabharata, a 3D animated film, to captivate his aura as the majestic Bheeshma. The movie also had Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, and Vidya Balan to voice for other mythological roles. The film got mixed reviews and though it was touted as most expensive animated film in Bollywood back then, critics weren’t happy with it. The film grossed Rs 1.5 crores in total.
India’s first photorealistic motion capture film, Kochadaiiyaan which was a tribute to the centennial of Indian cinema and released worldwide in 3D and traditional viewing in 2014, starred the cultural icon, Rajinikanth and Deepika Padukone. The film was originally created in Tamil under the narration of musical maestro A.R. Rehman whereas for the Hindi version, Amitabh Bachchan was roped in.
Presently too, at the age of 73, Amitabh Bachchan is all geared up to be associated with Disney Channel India and Graphic India as they have announced production on 52-episode animated series Astra Force.
The series will follow 8-year-old twins who accidentally awaken a mythical superhero from hibernation and must teach him the ways of the world in order to save the universe from intergalactic threats. Amitabh Bachchan shall be the voice for the main character which will also be based on Big B himself.
With Astra Force, we think it’s the right time that the nation’s most loved hero once again gets his own comic series as well.
We wish the ‘Shahenshah of Bollywood’ a very happy birthday and may he continue to work in such diverse fields of entertainment.