x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Amitabh Bachchan turns 70 with celebrations on and off the red carpet

Big B's big day is marked with a star-studded party of 800 guests, fans at his Mumbai home chanting "Long Live Amitabh" and the opening of a mobile diabetes van at a hospital

Amitabh Bachchan waves to fans gathered at his house in Mumbai on his 70th birthday. Rafiq Maqbool / AP Photo
Amitabh Bachchan waves to fans gathered at his house in Mumbai on his 70th birthday. Rafiq Maqbool / AP Photo

India's favourite film star Amitabh Bachchan turned 70 on Thursday, marking his birthday with a lavish celebrity party and drawing hundreds of fans outside his home.

Bachchan hit the red carpet with his family on Wednesday night for celebrations in Mumbai, where he was joined by a star-studded list of 800 guests.

Outside his residence in the city, fans gathered on Thursday to present flowers and chant "Long Live Amitabh". But the birthday boy struck a modest note. "Birthdays are special for all. Mine is no different, but it would never be the same without your love and affection," he said to his millions of Twitter followers.

Among the film, business and political bigwigs at the party was his fellow acting superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who tweeted that he had "too much fun" dancing with Bachchan and his wife Jaya, who organised the bash.

On Thursday Bachchan also opened a mobile diabetes van at a Mumbai hospital.

"I quite like the idea of getting old. It's a natural phenomenon," Bachchan told the Hindustan Times.

Known as "Big B", Bachchan made his name as the "angry young man" of Hindi cinema, starring in more than 150 films. Still acting in several movies a year, he was voted "actor of the millennium" in a BBC online poll in 1999 and became the first Indian actor to gain a lookalike at London's Madame Tussauds wax museum.

"I just feel that so long as I have life and I have breath inside me, I should continue to work," he told the DNA newspaper.

The veteran actor is a ubiquitous figure in Indian life, hosting the local version of quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, supporting charity causes and featuring in countless advertisements.

He is set to make his Hollywood debut with a fleeting appearance in Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and scheduled to be released next year.