Bachchan — 512

“There are no ‘peak’ years in an artists life ; just years !
I disagree first with the assumption that Prakash Mehra, ManMohan Desai films were type casted formula films. Zanjeer was no where near in type to a Sharabi and neither was an Amar Akbar Anthony to a Mard. And then with every Zanjeer, there was an Abhimaan, with every Amar Akbar Anthony a Mili or Chupke Chupke. The scope of experiment that you refer to now, is more the result of age and the passage of time, than lack of opportunity or the desire for it. At 35 it would not have been possible for me to do a Black or a Sarkar, neither would I at 65, been comfortable with Lawaris, Muquaddar ka Sikander and Don.”

15 Responses to “Bachchan — 512”

  1. [Really liked your response to the ‘typecasting’ question. Some of these journalists wouldn’t recognize a good film if it bit them on the nose! It is certainly true that your 80s work is more vulnerable to this charge. But not the 70s. One of the common mistakes people make is to assume that because there’s an ‘angry young man’ thread running through some of your central films, these are in fact the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Salim-Javed’s angry young man (in many ways the only one there is) is nothing like Prakash Mehra’s ’soaked in tears’ one (I don’t mean this as a criticism.. I’ve always felt that Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘tears’ have never received any attention.. the films in which you cry.. there are very many and I would argue that most if not all of your great roles are laced with tears). So on and so forth. Manmohan Desai eventually ‘killed’ the angry young man and what we kept getting from most directors was really the alternately angry and comic young man. But even in the 80s there is much that is interesting from Shaan to Shakti to Lawaaris to Bemisaal to Inquilaab to Pukar (one of your most underrated works) to Aakhree Raasta. Could there have been roles and films more commensurate with your gifts? The answer can only be a resounding YES!

    On another note related to an aspect of your post today (and others in the past) I am always a bit amused when people (well-wishers or not) talk about ‘correcting the record’. This is necessarily but one must also as a public figure possess a certain skill in doing it. Let’s say the ‘truth’ does not set anyone ‘free’ if one has a much dissected public life. It is all about competing narratives and one should ensure a degree of control over one’s narrative. But this cannot come about simply by offering the ‘facts’ sincerely. Also those who use and consume news about a public figure toward whatever ends are hardly ‘innocent’ in any sense. There is often a program or agenda by virtue of which one pretends or chooses to be confused and so on. This does not as I’ve just stated obviate the need for ‘clarification’ but it must be done wisely and ‘politically’ (unfortunately even sincerity requires political skills even one wants one’s message to get through as a public figure). But getting back to the main point ‘naivete’ (feigned or otherwise) is always more than a little disingenuous in these matters. One ought to know better. I know of course that you too have a certain devotion to this ideal. I don’t blame you for it but I wonder why the industry you’ve been part of for most of your life couldn’t teach you otherwise. I say this even as I have great admiration and really the deepest respect for the fact that you have precisely retained your integrity in so many aspects of life. But I don’t see acting in ‘politic’ (politically here!) fashion as being opposed to integrity or sincerity. There still remains though another category which concerns issues and causes so important that one cannot afford to maintain integrity with silence or rather one damages the former with the latter.]


    • Re: “Manmohan Desai eventually ‘killed’ the angry young man and what we kept getting from most directors was really the alternately angry and comic young man.”
      Great line, this made me laugh out loud…

      The other way to refract Prakash Mehra’s Bachchan is to think of him as the “poetic” man: certainly this is true for the most famous Mehra films of the 1980s (i.e. it isn’t true for Zanjeer or Hera Pheri): the Bachchan of Lawaaris, Muqaddar ka Sikandar, and Sharaabi seems like a figure from literature, given to the pleasure of poetic dialog and words and declamation, in a way that isn’t true for the protagonist of Desh Premee or Naseeb. Sharaabi makes the point about as explicitly as can be, with Bachchan playing the role of latter-day nawab…


    • remarkable bit of character assassination! The responses are unadulterated garbage. Bachchan will respond to it on the blog! And this author is doing a PhD!


      • I know. Pretty amazing, and pretty scary….what institution is she attending? Khalid Mohammed University perhaps?


      • I guess we are all experts of intimate relationships by observing body language. Plus she must be psychic to know what they discuss privately.

        Man these people have no shame.


  2. Khalid Mohammed University ..LOL !!


  3. Who is she? What a loser? And whats up with TOI??


  4. The Dowager Lady of Boribunder is loosing its bearings. More and more garbage seems to come out from TOI.


  5. Is she the one who may have published a book on Amitabh in 2007??
    I never knew about it though…


  6. DAY 4088
    It was in writing, that there would be greater detail on the 35 years of Sharaabi , the film .. and some talk ensued, but not all ..

    Prakash ji was a keen writer and lover of music .. his screen writing sense and music senses were quite extraordinary .. his films contained scenes where the characters spoke a lot .. dialogues were his forte in his writings or the team that he worked with .. and so each working day was a day spent in spare moments learning large tracts of dialogues ..
    The alcohol friendly Vicky, my character, was in a state of intoxication throughout the film .. an intoxicated performance needed special care .. intoxicated people took time to deliver their speaking .. as you may have noticed many in such condition .. their coordination suffers, they slur, they take time to collect their thoughts .. its an observation that one notices before playing a particular character – though most of the attributes of the character are designed by the writers and the directors ..
    So on the first day of shoot several pages of the first scene to be shot was under way .. all went well, but it took time ..
    I counselled Prakash ji ..
    ‘ look if you are going to give me such long and lengthy dialogues to speak, and if you need me to be in character throughout, it shall take an awful lot of time to accomplish the feat .. it shall not be a 3 hr film it shall a 30 hr film ! ‘
    Prakash ji understood .. and reworked the scenes ..

    Much before the shoot began, a Diwali bomb exploded in my left hand and reduced it to burnt pulp ..
    Apart from the misery of the excruciating pain before during and after its treatment, the schedules that were going to be hit as a result would be enormous ..
    In order to not rock the boat, I thought of an idea .. I would put the burnt bandaged hand in my pocket throughout the film .. make it a style and get over the hindrance ..
    In most of the film when you see me with my hand in my pocket, it was to conceal the burnt bandaged hand from the camera ..
    Everyone thought that was great style .. it wasn’t .. it was a convenient camouflage .. !
    With time as it healed and took shape again, it used to be covered with make up to make it look natural .. but it was still pain bearing .. many of its after effects are still visible ..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.