Amitabh Bachchan to deliver Penguin lecture

thanks to An Jo..


New Delhi: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan will deliver this year’s Penguin Lecture, which has featured some of the world’s most respected leaders, thinkers and writers over the years. One of the first annual lecture to be organized by a publishing house in India, the annual lecture has become one of the most prestigious cultural events on the calendar. The six previous Penguin Annual Lectures have been delivered by journalist and writer Thomas Friedman in 2007, diplomat and writer Chris Patten in 2008, Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen in 2009, eminent historian Ramachandra Guha in 2010, renowned spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2011, and former president of India and Bharat Ratna awardee scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2012. In keeping with the tradition of bringing luminaries in their fields to speak to audiences on a topic of their choice, this year’s Penguin Annual Lecture will feature Amitabh Bachchan speaking about cinema.


19 Responses to “Amitabh Bachchan to deliver Penguin lecture”

  1. This is interesting.

    Two Titans Of Cinema, Under One Roof

    You know you’re in the presence of a legend when the audience, which has been eating out of your hands so far, begins heckling you when your questions run longer than they should. It is a sign that the audience will not be satisfied until they see and hear as much as humanly possible from the man they came to see. That the audience firmly believed that every moment Amitabh Bachchan spent silent on stage was a moment of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they would never get back. If TEHELKA Editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who hosted the session, had ended it at the scheduled time, there might have been a mini-riot. Wisely, when the bell rang, he immediately assured the crowd that the talk would go on.

    It was, as Tejpal said, the most starstruck session in THiNK’s history, as Bachchan and Robert De Niro, two titans of cinema whose names are known to millions, were both present under one roof. De Niro, who will formally take the stage on Sunday afternoon, was watching in the audience; and when the session finally ended, he came onto the stage for a photo-op for the ages.

    Bachchan, who said that the presence of a live audience “always brings fear” of not being acceptable, of making mistakes, was reserved, but engaging. He spoke of his childhood in one of India’s most elite families, growing up in an atmosphere of literature and poetry (his mother let him follow his acting dreams since “one poet in the family [was] enough”), to parents who came from two entirely different backgrounds. Of his early struggles in the industry after being rejected as a newsreader by All India Radio. Of the heights he reached once he broke through as a leading man in Zanjeer and Abhimaan. Of the fall from his perch and bankruptcy, of his reinvention on the small screen through Kaun Banega Crorepati.

    It is a cliché, but what shone through the session was Bachchan’s utter humility and the legendary work ethic (he made sure, he said, that he would never miss a call time). Asked repeatedly to describe what goes into his decision to choose which films to do, he replied, “I’m bad at picking scripts; I just took work whenever I could. I just wanted what I was doing to be acceptable.” The younger crowd, he acknowledged, was more organised, more choosy when it came to their films. He talked about the blind faith he placed in his directors, how the only disagreements he’d have with them would be registered when the script was being narrated; once shooting would start, they would be boss.

    At one point, Tejpal asked him whether the rumours of Indira Gandhi getting him his first break by writing a letter of recommendation were true. “I never saw the letter or anyone who got this letter. But,” he said, asking De Niro whether he agreed, “even a letter from God can’t get you a role in a film.”

    Satyam, video of this can be found here ( and if there is a way to put it here


  2. Satyam:

    You did not credit me. I posted this link. You are indeed turning into a mutant == an AB (+ or – SRK) fan..

    Disclaimer: I am joking (but I did post the link!!)


  3. Worthy people together, finally, on a podium. There would not have been a worthier person to share the stage with for De Niro and vice-versa. While it is certainly foolish to debate the iconicity of De Niro, in sheer talent which one tackled and played absurd roles thrown at him by Hi-fi, AB stands tall. For an actor that could comfortably walk from the sets of Mukherjee to Desai to Basu Bhattacharjee to Mehra to Mukul Anand and not even make the audience realize that he did so, this is a fine moment in history..


  4. comrade tarun the man who used to boast tehelka is synonymous with truth and not boast need bachchan and de niro to sell stuff lol

    bachchan ,de nero and pacino are the benchmark of actors who are atleast active and doing constructive work (age not witstanding) so indeed its nice to see two together especially now when both of same age


  5. pacino and de niro face to face …in indian context the closest being amitabh and dilip in shakti


  6. Rajenmaniar Says:

    I strongly feel AB can do a fantastic job at the Penguin lecture but am not sure he will . He would need to shed his compulsion to be politically correct at all times. Would love to see him freely express himself.


  7. Agree–lately amitabh has become too predictable and even obsequious(sic!) in his public utterings-when he doesn’t need to be so…
    Inspite of that, it’s always good to see amitabh on stage …
    Ps: he’s a true legend and these ‘talks’ dont define him…


  8. After opting out of the annual Indian advertising festival Goafest and its ‘Abby’ awards this year,Ogilvy India launched its first internal awards, The Envies last week. And yes, Amitabh Bachchan was indeed the guest-of-honour at the Envies, and he regaled the audience both with his poetry and his poise, talking creativity, inspiration, and storytelling in an interview with Anuradha SenGupta.


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