1. AB was rejected by many filmmakers at the start of his career as too tall, too lanky, too much like a non-hero. It was his father’s friend the Communist filmmaker Khwaja Ahmed Abbas who predicted big things for the tall, lanky, brooding mass of implosive energy and cast him as one of the seven protagonists in Saat Hindustani. The rest, as they say is history.
2. One of the many films that AB was rejected for was Kundan Kumar’s Duniya Ka Mela in 1974. After shooting for a few days for the film he was expelled and replaced by the hot-and-happening Sanjay Khan. It is said that the film’s leading lady Rekha with whom AB later did a slew of spectacular romantic films,had a hand in AB’s ouster. Irony can go no further even if you push it with a cartwheel.
3. The turning point Zanjeer came to AB by default. Director Prakash Mehra wanted Dev Anand to play the angry cop. But the film’s cop hero had no songs to sing. Dev Saab requested the director to add some gana-bajana. Prakash Mehra refused.
4. At that time Jaya Bhaduri was the superstar. She agreed to co-star with her boyfriend Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer because every other top actress refused. Amitabh paid off the debt by doing Jaya-centric films like Abhimaan and Mili
5. Another heroine who refused to work with AB was Asha Parekh. AB never held it against her. He is too much of gentleman to hold grudges against a lady. However AB and AP never came together until Kaalia where they played devar and bhabhi.
6. In Kaalia the chartbuster Jahan Teri Nazar hai was composed by Bachhan Saab and given to R D Burman. AB also composed some numbers in his film Baagbaan and Baabul. He is not just a singer but also a complete musician and played the Sitar in his younger days.
7. While audiences preferred to see AB with Rekha and Jaya his favourite co-star was Raakhee Gulzar with whom he did such masterpieces as Kabhi Kabhie, Bemisal and Kasme Vade. He spoke to Raakhee only in shuddh Bangla whenever they worked together or met socially.
8. AB Sr’s best friend and only friend is Abhishek Bachchan. They hide nothing from one another and share each other’s precious shoe collection. Abhishek is the only person on this planet who gets to plunder Bachchan Saab’s closet.
9. AB loves wristwatches and has the biggest collection of watches in the film industry. If you want to win him over on his birthday try gifting him a watch. And we aren’t talking about an HMT or a Titan.
10. AB’s favourite birthday gift is the poems that his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan wrote for him for each of his birthdays until he was alive. They will one day be published in book form, and that’s as close to biography as the Big B will get in his lifetime.