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Amitabh Bachchan – Managing Image across Thresholds

Thresholds occur in everyone’s life and they can be career, social or personal thresholds. In our blog related to threshold situations, we have highlighted select typical and atypical threshold situations that we might face in life. The biggest learning in how to deal with threshold situations though, comes from observing celebrities.

Everybody needs image management – that celebrities understand this fact better than most is well-known. The lesser known fact is that they manage their career and life thresholds by transitioning their image effectively.

Hence, we begin our series on threshold situations by offering blogs related to three celebrities – Amitabh Bachchan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We picked 3 gentlemen – a film star, a sports star and a political star – their vocations couldn’t have been more different, but the common thread is that they are celebrities.

They are perfect examples of people who have managed their image well as they crossed the thresholds to play different roles in their professional lives.

We take Amitabh Bachchan as the example for this post. In his professional life, he was first a struggling, gangly youth, eager to do what was asked of him. Then he moved into the role of the angry young man fighting the inequality-ridden status quo. In this role, the style of his clothing and the colours he wore speak volumes of the confidence and courage inherent in such roles. From there to the wise old gentleman of today, he has transitioned his off-screen persona to that of an elegant and dignified person.


In the process, he has turned himself into a brand, is considered the leading star even when he plays a supporting role – technically speaking. Roles are written for him and much credit goes to his ability to transform and recast himself into a new role, professionally as well as in his off-screen image. Both have always gone hand-in-hand.

Aiding Amitabh Bachchan in his professional transition is his conscious effort to manage his image to match the professional role. And he does it with what looks like casual ease which can only come from the fact that his outer persona reflects his inner persona.

We asked people – What comes to mind when you think of Amitabh, the real, off-screen Amitabh?

Dignity, independence, humility and ease with himself emerged as the key traits of his persona. He is the perfect example of how the 4 elements of image management are utilised to project each specific trait of his persona. It doesn’t happen by chance. Immense measured care is taken – even in his casual elegance. These traits comprise the common thread that helps him cross the thresholds with seeming ease.

Dignity with Independence

From the simple trouser-shirt phenomenon in his early days to powerful red tones and body hugging t-shirts which he didn’t shy away from during his angry young man days, Amitabh Bachchan wore his dignity and independence with ease. All that shifted at the threshold was the intensity of each element.

From the early days to the height of his stardom, the independence dominated. When he crossed to being the elderly gentleman, dignity dominates over independence. It is only in the diverse roles he chooses to portray that we get a glimpse of his independence these days. Otherwise, it’s all dignity.

His clothing today is styled in clean lines that lend dignity. Tasteful in colour, texture and in the way he wears it and grooms himself, it also shows taste and refinement.

As much as he follows the elements of classic style, he takes care to make it his own with a range of textures and style of clothing, from three-piece suits to kurtas to Nehru jackets, tailoring them to suit his persona, yet with a spot of colour in the form of a tie, a peeking kerchief or a scarf, all of which shows his spirit of independence.

And the result of his conscious effort is there for us to see – he stands out with easy grace.

Ease With Himself

Amitabh Bachchan’s ease is as much a factor of his inner comfort, as of the ease being translated into all four elements. Clothing that suits each occasion, perfect grooming to match the occasion, his body language, which makes a soft, yet effective statement, “I am my own man,” and his powerful, yet sensitive vocal communication – translating his inner comfort into easy grace.

The voice that was rejected by the All India Radio coupled with his body language brought an earnestness that catches your heart during his early days. But, once he reached stardom with powerful roles that projected courage, his baritone voice, the eyes that bore into you and the powerful body language display tremendous power, control and ease with himself. Today, in the third stage of his career, it is the ease that they project, turning him into a respected gentleman with humility, grace and talent to warrant the respect.

All 4 elements speak one language in his case – the language that is Amitabh Bachchan!

Image Management isn’t a body of knowledge to ignore. Nor is it a practice to follow with slavish obedience. It is about knowing the elements of image management so that they become an integral part of you. Once that is done, your inner persona takes over, enabling you to cross any threshold of life with perfect readiness. At each such threshold, your outer persona reflects your inner persona and you derive the maximum out of relationships and opportunities – as in the case of Amitabh.

If you are interested in knowing in greater detail of how Amitabh Bachchan uses the 4 elements of image management, click here.

Read more about how celebrities like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Narendra Modi manage their image across thresholds. Among the typical threshold situations of everyday life, read how students, professionals, homemakers-turning-professionals and those who cross the threshold of marriage manage their image. Read how prisoners can manage their image when entering mainstream life.

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