Amitabh Bachchan turns 75: How the veteran superstar established a strong south Indian base (FirstPost)


“Unlike the rest of India, the south always had its home-grown superstars. Though Anand and Aradhana made Rajesh Khanna a household name in Tamil Nadu, it was Amitabh Bachchan who made his firm mark in South Indian cinema, with his brooding countenance and deep baritone in Zanjeer (also because MGR starred in its remake Sirthu Vaazha Vendum).

Tamil Nadu, in the mid-70s, had more room to accept a Hindi star because Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth were just emerging actors then, Sivaji Ganesan had progressed to donning older roles and MGR had become the Chief Minister.

Initially, Tamilians identified an Amitabh Bachchan movie with its Tamil remake as Sivaji Ganesan acted in a few of them (Majboor became Naan Vaazhavaippean, Namak Haram became Unakkaaga Naan and Muqqadar ka Sikkander became Amara Kaviyam). By the ’80s they saw Bachchan as this action-star whose movies had Kishore Kumar belting out some great numbers.

A decade later, Big B had become India’s first superstar, where a film like Mard ran for more than a hundred days even in Chennai. It is important to note, however, even then the Bachchan moniker only came second to that of Rajnikanth, Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi, Mammooty and Mohanlal.

It is interesting to delve deeper on the south connect to Amitabh Bachchan’s career. His first successful solo-hero film Bombay to Goa was a remake of the Tamil original Madras to Pondicherry, both directed by S Ramanathan, thus establishing a strong south-Indian base to his illustrious career.”

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24 Responses to “Amitabh Bachchan turns 75: How the veteran superstar established a strong south Indian base (FirstPost)”

  1. Good to see a post on Big B’s 75th B’day being put up. Was wondering why the blog is so silent on such a milestone.

    It is a miracle to see him so active at this age and still doing so many movies. The other day Aamir was appreciating his resilience and stamina in an interview. Aamir himself has spent 3 decades as top star and has expressed his desire to retire when he loses his creativity. One wonders when that day would come; will he be active and relevant in his seventies? Big B is definitely setting a precedence.

    Ironically, when he is doing one film after another in his mid-seventies, Abhishek is without a single movie inspite of a bunch of rumors!


  2. I’m pleased that a piece was done on this subject though for more than one reason I don’t consider it entirely adequate.



    and YARAANA completes 36 years .. what a time we had making this film .. it was a scream .. the locations the co artists the hilarious and at times intense moments .. but eventually ending up in a film that still resounds among the polity of the nation .. particularly the music ..

    We had to come back again to Kolkata for the unfinished song .. so sensing the issues we had last time .. I told production not to inform any of our next visit, to sneak in late at night by the evening flight, go straight to the stadium, and instead of the audience, have candles placed on each seat to make it look as though the audience was lighting candles for us .. it worked .. as did the lit costume which incidentally was an after thought by me keeping in mind that we were shifting from day to night sequence ..

    So in we went late night past midnight without informing any ; shot the entire night, went back straight to the airport, got the first flight and back to Mumbai ..

    Film lore is so enchanting …!!


  4. DAY 3511(i)

    In recent months I find my name appear again in the leaks of Panama, as produced by the Indian Express .. the paper has asked for reactions, for responses, for justification or not, for replies to their investigative queries ..
    Two instant replies were given out by us .. of denial and misuse of name .. they were printed .. but the questions continued ..

    Immediately after this, the System took over and since its revelation in the Express, has Summoned me .. at least 6 Summons have been served to us and continue to come .. EACH one of them have been diligently, dutifully and duly replied to .. personal appearances have been ordered, and we have made them at the varied different Agency Offices, both in Mumbai and in Delhi, both from Tax and Enforcement Departments and of their respective Intelligence Wings .. they seek more information each time and we provide them .. for some we seek time because the queries asked, refer to matters that are more than almost 25 years old .. it takes a while to dig out old files and to compile all that they want .. the fullest cooperation has been extended at all hours as dutiful citizens .. and even after, if there is any more query that needs to be addressed, we shall comply ..

    It is the norm ..

    Tomorrow there could be more .. and the process of our cooperation shall continue .. it is the norm .. it is the Law of the land .. it shall be abided by ..
    Law does not entertain bias or favour .. it is stark and precise and offers judgement .. a judgement we respect and adhere to and obey .. it is our Constitutional obligation ..
    We are devoted and extend belief to it .. as must we all should ..

    BUT in conclusion :
    at this age and time of my life I seek peace and freedom from prominence .. to be left to lead the last few years of my life with and within myself .. I do not seek epithets, I abhor them .. I do not seek headlines, I do not deserve them .. I do not seek acknowledgement, I am not qualified for it ..
    Many years ago I had come across a Jewish joke :
    A Jew, passes away and goes to Heaven, knocks on the door of the LORD, and having suffered the ostracised life that the community has, asks the LORD :
    “ Lord ! Is it true that we are the ‘chosen’ people ..?”
    The LORD looked benevolently at the Jew and in a most gentle voice replied :
    “Yes my son .. you are the chosen people ..”
    And the Jew replied :
    “ Dear LORD .. would you mind choosing someone else for a change .. coz’ we’ve had enough !!”



    • Superb blog by Bachchan above …


    • LOL @ the joke

      Liked by 1 person

    • Satyam did you write a response ?
      In the earlier days the thrill was to read Bachchan’s new blog post AND Satyam’s response every day.
      Tumbler has totally screwed things up, I don’t think you can search for a comment there ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am not as regular there as I used to be but I did write a response to this one (as I did for 3512):

        [I believe your entire post except the last joke (humorous though it is). Ha! It is always very hard to be on a mountain. One experiences vertigo all the time. It’s not a ‘natural’ place to be by any means and one is always afraid of falling off the edge. But then in many situations there are people forever trying to pull one down. One already has to be careful but additionally one has to fend off these people too. All of this is tiring, even exhausting. For all this no one voluntarily descends from the mountain. Rather all the troubles of the world on the mountain than any kind of relative peace or even lessening of these pressures at the bottom! Even when one is pushed off the mountain a little bit one tries to stay as close to the peak as possible. One always fantasizes about reconquering it. Or one dreams about the times when one was occupying it alone. Or one strives to be part of a larger gathering at the peak. Each stage of this ‘desire’ is very human and understandable. To descend voluntarily would involve a radical reimagining of one’s life. It is not easy giving up the kingdom. It is hard to build, harder still to abandon.]

        Liked by 2 people

        • very well written.
          the truth is we are all hypocrites …
          I was taking an ethics class some time back ( required every three years ) – and the instructor told the class – you know that pencil or the printing paper that you take for your kids from work is technically stealing .


      • here’s 3512:

        [Wonderfully warm images even if these are not the sort I like most when it comes to you. Karan Johar might have said ‘it’s all about loving your family’! I however like the guy who’s all about blowing up the family! Trishul for example! but many others too. I am not of course against ‘happy families’. Nor am I looking for ‘unhappy’ ones. But happy families are a bit like R K Gupta’s. They know where to hide the skeletons. This system is called ‘family values’! We are all participants in it. Nevertheless, and perhaps hypocritically, I am interested in the skeletons. Or where the bodies are buried! Again in the same systemic sense.]

        3510 (and now I’ll stop!):

        [What a lovely picture. And a wonderful post to go along with it. The picture evokes a world on its own as does of course your post. I find myself falling in love with black and white photography more and more with time. Much as I also like black and white cinema more, at least in the context of artistic works. But I’d possibly take the still photography over the cinema. In a paradoxical sense the ‘freeze frame’ of the photo evokes time much more than the ‘moving parts’ of cinema. A moment like the one you’ve put up is a classic example. ‘In the midst of something’ if you will. One then reconstructs the rest in one’s mind. Not as a conscious exercise, it’s more of an emotional response. The photograph deals in the economy of absence in this sense and yet that same absence makes itself felt very potently. In a film on the other hand it’s harder to look outside the frame. The illusion of ‘everything’ being available on screen is a very strong one. In the same sense I love looking at old or ‘ancient’ photographs of cities. Anything that was represented in black and white then. Not as much now when the absence of color becomes a kind of auteurist choice by the director or photographer. In any case and as always it was moving to look at this image and in turn read your post.]


        • LOL on blowing up the family !!!
          I was watching BHTB on Netflix the other day and I felt that the unnecessary humor and the effort to make Bachchan look cool killed the movie.
          I won’t mind another Khaki like Character played by him.
          Either he is shown too cool or too helpless ..
          In Pink whenever he was in control- he shone .


          • agree with you… he’s represented more often than not as a ‘monument’ by directors who act like ‘fans’. Even in the offbeat or smaller stuff they try to make him larger than life in some way. of course it’s also true that without all of this even Piku or Pink wouldn’t succeed. But yes Khakee is a good example of part which finds the right balance.


  5. I like his KBC stint where show runs just because of his dignity and charm. I may not enjoy all his movies but I regularly watch KBC. It also shows he is human and vulnerable like any one of us.


    • Two of friends told me that they watch it as a family and their kids ( age 13 to 17 ) actually like watching it .


      • Even my daughter watches it!
        For some reason yesterday’s season ending episode , he sounded as if it is his last.


        • agree.. I now recall reading a news story that suggested something similar some weeks ago. I thought I’d misunderstood it. But the ratings have been so good this season I don’t know why they would want to end it altogether. In any case I do agree with you on the tone.


          • I read somewhere that it is due to his health reasons and voice problems.

            And there are many staple programs waiting to fill the slot as KBC is a finite series.

            The question and answer is only part of KBC while interactions took the major part. Unlike the regular quiz programs.
            At times, the interactions become tiring to watch unless one has plenty of time to sit and watch a one to one and half our program.


  6. Saw the AR Rehman documentary on Netflix as well.
    He is so down to earth , was a nice watch.


  7. Where the Bhootiya with a “C” tried to attack Bachchan and gets torn apart by Nupur !!
    Mr Guha reveals himself. It would seem like Mr. Guha’s problem is not that Mr. Bacchan has changed his political preference, but that he changed his preference from being “close to Rajiv Gandhi and Congress”. I of course don’t come to this conclusion lightly.


    • Another take down of this sycophant ..
      Five years ago, in a piece for The Telegraph, Guha himself admitted how he was snubbed for stretching the scope of his parallel profession of a cricket historian to suggest something to one of the leading Indian cricketers of those times, Rahul Dravid. In a mail to the legendary batsman, Guha had suggested that he should be standing in the slips. In his reply, Dravid just talked about Guha’s latest book on contemporary Indian history, nothing else. Guha got the message though one couldn’t say so for the impulse itself.



    its 46 years of my film ‘Bombay to Goa’ .. a preserve of Mehmood bhai .. who for some very odd reasoning, deliberated against all odds to put me and offer me the role in a lead of the film .. at a trial of the Tamil film ‘Madras to Pondicherry’ from which this film was remade

    Funnily enough it was this film that gave me ‘Zanjeer’ .. !!

    There was a fight sequence in a restaurant with Shatrughan in the film .. I was in the middle of a sandwich when I get hit on the face, by him .. I take a tumble, get up and start fighting again .. simple and done ..

    But when Javed Saheb came to me to talk about Zanjeer after Dharam ji and Dev Anand saheb had refused it .. he gave me the reason why he thought I suited the role ..

    He referred the film Bombay to Goa to me , brought me to that very fight scene in the film and said ..” after getting hit on the face and standing up again, you were still munching your sandwich “ .. and that he said was sufficient proof to him that I was suited for the role .. !! :))))))

    Thank God for the film and thank God for that sandwich .. !!!

    THE SANDWICH THAT STARTED A CAREER .. is now being considered as the title of my next film as it searches 49 years of my film life ..


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