The biggest superstar of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan has acted in more than 180 films and has received three National Film Awards and 14 Filmfare Awards, among many others.
But the 72-year-old actor is equally revered for his distinctive baritone. He has sung for several of his films and has also dabbled in film narration, including in Shatranj Ke Khilari in 1977; Lagaan in 2001; and the Indian-version of the Oscar-winning French documentary March of the Penguins (2005) for which Bachchan did the storytelling in English and Hindi.
We look at five of Big B’s songs that have become cult classics.
Mere Paas Aao, Mr Natwarlal – 1979
When the music director Rajesh Roshan roped in Bachchan to sing a children’s song for the action comedy Mr Natwarlal, little did he know that he was tapping into a gold mine. The song – Bachchan’s first for film – went on to become the highlight of the film and set the actor on the path to musical fame.
Neela Aasman, Silsila – 1981
Shortly after Mr Natwarlal, Bachchan took to the mic once more, this time for the filmmaker Yash Chopra. It is said that Neela Aasman – probably one of Bollywood’s most romantic numbers – was based on a composition by the veteran actor Shammi Kapoor.
Rang Barse, Silsila – 1981
Bachchan lent his voice to the Bollywood version of a little-known traditional folk song – beautifully shot against a backdrop of Holi festivities – and overnight made popular a track that has since remained synonymous with every Holi celebration across India.
Mere Angane Mein, Laawaris – 1981
Never one to do things by halves, Bachchan sang this silly song about the importance of loving one’s wife and even put on a sari for the sequence. One of Bollywood’s most popular numbers, it still has a firm place on wedding playlists.
The Indian national anthem – 2015
For India’s 66th Republic Day, Bachchan, resplendent in a crisp, white kurta, sang a goosebumps-inducing version of Jana Gana Mana. The video was filmed at the ancestral home of the poet Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote the national anthem.