Amitabh Bachchan, the name is so big and so is the man. I don’t know where to start. His life story? No. His achievements and awards? No. Every time I start thinking about him I get lost somewhere between the scenes. These are some random scenes like when Govinda asks him in Hum, “भैया आपने कभी किसी को एक पंच भी मारा है?” he says nothing but recalls the scene where he is holding a chain and kicking the goons at the same time to save his friend Gonzalves. Or when an elderly Shekhar enters the docks in his Tiger avatar and calls for Bakhtawar. He shouts, “Bakhtawar! Bakhtawar!”. Or when a semi-asleep Veeru says sarcastically, “मुझे तो सभी पुलिसवालों के चेहरे एक जैसे लगते हैं”. Or in Agneepath when he says, “हवा तेज चलता है दिनकर राव. टोपी सम्भालो. उड़ जाएगा.” Or the one where he tells Kancha, “ये तुम्हारा कपड़ा पहनने का इस्टाइल अपुन को अच्च्छा लगता है” or in Trishul when he replies to Shashi Kapoor, “क्या बिगाड़ा है तुमलोगों ने मेरा जाकर पूच्छो अपने बाप से.” One of my personal favorites is from Deewar when Vijay says in his cold voice, “जो पच्चीस बरस में नहीं हुआ वो अब होगा.” Mindblowing. These are not just some random film scenes these are the parts of a Phenomenon called Amitabh Bachchan.
So, was he just lucky to become what he is? Really? Or is it something else. Ok, read this now. Undoubtedly, the best action star ever in Indian Film Industry, Amitabh Bachchan, was never a body builder. How did that happen? Luck? Really? Then read this- the greatest action star of Indian Film Industry has an impeccable comic timing and can even be rated among the best comedians that we ever had. How did that happen? I think we do not need more statements about his abilities with respect to romance and emotions. Just listen to the song “Neela Asmaan So Gaya” from Silsila (1981) and that will say everything. This is not luck sir, can never be.
Lucky he was to be born in a family where he could read and I am sure he read a lot. Lucky he was to be born in a family where he got excellent observational skills first hand from a great poet. And lucky he was to be born in a family where he was taught the importance of Language and Literature even before he learnt to walk. But the luck part stopped then and there after performing its duties. Amitabh Bachchan, the actor that we know, is the creation of his own determination, sincerity, hard work and honesty to his profession. His insights into human behavior are simply supernatural and that makes him special when he conveys those emotions on screen. That makes him real even when he is doing some gravity-defying action scenes. People could relate to him because they felt Amitabh is directly talking to them. And how Amitabh was able to create this illusion? The trick is simple- there was no trick. He was actually talking to them directly because he knew them, he understood their world. It’s the best part of the system called Amitabh Bachchan. He lives in a real world. He is the star of the real world. Probably that’s why he chose Twitter over Facebook.
Bachchan Saahab has seen several phases of lows and highs in his career and personal life but never lost touch with the reality. He was never a superficial dumb film star that knows nothing of the world outside his comfort zones. He is a very intelligent man and one important evidence of that is his grip over the language in which he has to convey the story (even the universal language of emotions need words to fill in before and after the emotional parts). I remember him from my childhood, in an interview he was saying, “ek abhineta ko apni bhasha par pakad honi chahiye.” I still remember this line because with every film I watched the line became more and more relevant. I think he is the last superstar who reads Hindi because most of the so-called superstars today get dialogues written in Roman Hindi. These ‘too young to be superstars’ don’t understand why today a film’s life cycle is so short and their stardom is even shorter and Amitabh is still getting the Best Actor National Award at the age of 73. Perhaps the prep schools of acting these days do not teach them what Diction is and how important it is in acting. But Bachchan Sahab did not learn that in any school. It’s a part of his overall personality and after realizing its contribution in making good actors he made it his strength. The young generation of actors would perhaps always be wondering why even after having 24-inch biceps and 8-pack abs they are not good action heroes.
Only Amitabh Bachchan could do a ‘Saudagar’, in which he is Moti , in a Lungi and Kurta, selling Gur, Moti ka Gur, and plays a somewhat grey character. Only he could do an ‘Alaap’, at the peak of his career and Angry Young Man image, where he plays a musician Alok, in ideological conflict with his wealthy advocate father. Isn’t it amazing that the man who said “Rishte mein to hum tumhare Baap lagte hain” has sung “Neela Asmaan So Gaya” with the same voice? His chilling expressions in the song “मोहब्बत बड़े काम की चीज़ है” when he sings the lines “किताबों में छपते हैं मोहब्बत के क़िस्से, हक़ीक़त की दुनिया में चाहत नहीं है……..ये बेकार बेदाम की चीज़ है” freezes the nerves.
I was not even born in the Bachchan Era. So, it’s impossible for me to give a clear picture of the phenomenon. My father once said to me that we, the people of this generation, can never even imagine what it meant to be a Rajesh Khanna fan (he is one of them). By that, I can only understand that I should not try to imagine the Bachchan Era.
Bachchan Saahab, we all congratulate you for getting the National Award and we hope and pray that you get more of these awards in the coming years.