Early lifeBorn in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Amitabh Bachchan hails from a Hindu Kayastha family.His father, Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan was a well-known Hindi poet, while his mother, Teji Bachchan was a Sikh-Punjabi from Faisalabad (now in Pakistan) Bachchan was initially named Inquilaab, inspired from the famous phrase Inquilab Zindabad, during the Indian independence struggle. However, at the suggestion of fellow poet Sumitranandan Pant, Harivansh Rai changed the name to Amitabh which means, "the light that would never go off." Though his surname was Shrivastava, his father had adopted the pen-name Bachchan (meaning child-like in colloquial Hindi), under which he published all his works. It is with this last name that Amitabh debuted in films, and, for all public purposes, it has become the surname of all members of his family. Bachchan's father died in 2003, and his mother in 2007.
Amitabh is the eldest of Harivansh Rai Bachchan's two sons, the second being Ajitabh. His mother had a keen interest in theatre and had been offered a role in a film, but preferred her domestic duties. She had some degree of influence in Bachchan's choice of career because she always insisted that he should take the centre stage. He attended Allahabad's Jnana Prabodhini and Boys' High School (BHS), followed by Nainital's Sherwood College, where he majored in the art stream. He later went on to study at Kirori Mal College of the University of Delhi and completed a Bachelor of Science degree. In his twenties, Bachchan gave up a job as freight broker for the shipping firm, Bird and Co., based in Calcutta now known as Kolkata, to pursue a career in acting.