Amitabh Bachchan’s address at 45th IFFI

thanks to Pradip…


5 Responses to “Amitabh Bachchan’s address at 45th IFFI”

  1. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    Bollywood stars Aamir Khan and Deepika Padukone in conversation with Karan Johar at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

    Here are the highlights:

    Aamir Khan:

    Late 70s and 80s were disappointing — the disco era
    I feel that from the late 80s onwards there is a gradual change that has been happening very organically
    Our understanding or definition of mainstream cinema has been changing, has really widened now
    Audience has also changed and the filmmakers have brought in fresh voices

    Karan Johar:

    Line blurring between parallel, alternate and mainstream

    Deepika Padukone:

    Did not feel the pressure in my debut film
    Every film I have done has been a learning experience.
    Everything that I have learnt is from my spending physical time on the sets, with directors, co-stars and my own mistake


  2. Putting up my response on Bachchan’s blog here today because in the light of all those Nehru discussions (!) in the last box office thread over the last two days this has a certain relevance..(incidentally his post today was on some of his Delhi experiences when he was much younger)

    [This was an absolutely superb read. You know you could very easily collect these reminiscences on different Indian cities and make a book out of them. It would be ‘your India’ in a sense. All these reminiscences are so rich in so many ways. Ultimately they conjure up a world which is what good writing is supposed to do. I find these especially valuable in these ‘bad times’ where so much of ‘Old India’ is constantly castigated in so many ways. But I also think that you led a rather rich life even before you ventured into cinema and this was great preparation for the latter. Of course it’s never just about the experience but also the meaning that the sensitive individual draws from it.

    I shall return to Trishul once more. Relative to its worth and it’s extraordinary status once it is in some ways the least appreciated of your films. There are films of yours that are overvalued, there are great classics that have been reinvented, there are even those that weren’t liked as much once but are not considered canonical. But other than Trishul it’s hard for me to think of an equally important mainstream film of yours that is as undervalued. It becomes more interesting still when one considers that both Deewar and Kaala Pathar are regarded much more highly. The former might need no introduction but the latter though it always had a reputation didn’t do as well as Trishul. Not surprisingly for a few reasons but still the latter was one of your big successes. I should make a slight correction at this point. I mean that the film is less valued in ‘New India’. More curious given that it also has a very urban, very contemporary sort of subject…

    But therein lies the rub! Once it could most easily be read as a great critique of the post-Independence generation. R K Gupta abandons Shanti very roughly in the early 50s (because we know Vijay’s age). Beginning in the late 60s and certainly so in the early 70s a deep unease developed in the country in very many ways and which was manifested politically through so many channels. But the larger theme that united many of these struggles was the sense that the promise of Independence had not quite been fulfilled. In this context Trishul offers a deep critique of R K Gupta and his values. It frowns upon a success that is predicated on such ethical compromises. For ‘Old India’ the morality question was always important. Fast forward a few decades and we are in the ‘Guru’ age. The entrepreneur idealized, lionized more than anyone else but equally significantly those old ethical or moral issues are not at the forefront. Gurubhai says quite clearly towards the end that he was simply interested in doing business. At no point is he particularly bothered by anything else. If Trishul had been made today R K Gupta would have seemed a hero and Vijay might have had a harder case to make!

    But not so fast! Great writing, great works cannot be defeated so easily. There is too much truth in Trishul for even the unsympathetic viewer to simply be dismissive of things. And so the prism through which we see R K Gupta’s success does not render him in a very pleasant light. The problem we have in the Guru age is that we don’t even want ‘gray’. Simply black and white. And so we refuse to see any other side to this ‘New Indian’ dream. But there is another irony here too. R K Gupta is being critiqued for being a sort of ‘New Indian’! This is in fact the central theme of even Awara or Shree 420, the films that R K Gupta probably saw as a young man! The idea of the amoral entrepreneur or industrialist or what have you who has no greater investment in the national good. He sees the nation simply as a good (or bad) business opportunity. The overriding theme in these works is not just corruption but the kind of ethic that blurs the lines between the legal and the criminal. The point is that even the legal might be profoundly questionable. It certainly wasn’t illegal to desert Shanti. And it’s not illegal to create conditions that then spawn someone like Vijay (we see this again in Yuva.. Lallan Singh is once again the detritus of New India). R K Gupta is very recognizable precisely in this New India of ours. It is only here that his decisions could not automatically be considered negative. But then again the film is too strong in too many ways for one to not get uncomfortable watching it if one is of the ‘New Indian’ persuasion. In this sense too the films of that age, certainly the best ones were richer. They never forgot those who were left behind. Deewar raises a similar question much more potently with that scene of the teacher. I’ve talked about this before.

    The films of the present are constantly celebrated. But even the very best are rarely in the same league as these great works you did. In a similar vein one could track the films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and plot a different critique of the nation-state. There is a strong critique of ‘Old India’ to be made and it was made ‘in’ Old India! But it is not one that New India necessarily likes because its own image also appears with very many blemishes in that same mirror..]


  3. Thank goodness satyam to put it here because it’s hard to read on AB’s blog(Tumblr hiccups).
    Don’t u have to say anything on IFFI’s address?


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