The incomparable Amitabh – My diary of a passionate engagement over two decades (Utkal) – Updated

The year 1971. I am in the final year of school, right in the center of the Hindi heartland, in Raipur, eating, drinking and dreaming Hindi films. After a spate of super hits, the then heartthrob of Indian film lovers, Rajesh Khanna, has delivered some okey-dokey films. And then came Anand. We were all zapped. What a film! What a performance! And who won’t be touched by ‘ Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye’ or ‘ Zindagi kaise Yeh Paheli Hai’ ? The superstar had redeemed himself. But amidst all this, we also talked of the character called ‘ Babu Moshai’ and an actor called Amitabh Bachchan. His performance too was praiseworthy, we all agreed. Looking back, Little did anyone realize that like the slayer of Kamsa being born in the prison cell of the Mathura king, the man who would dethrone the superstar, had got his definitive break in the triumphant comeback film of the superstar himself. Come to think of it, the Angry Young Man was born in Anand itself. ” Bolte kuyn nahin ho? Pichhle ten mahinese bak bak karte mere sar kha gaye ho. Ab chup kyuon ho? ‘ The way Amitabh delivered those lines, the intensity, the total concentration, it was never done before in Indian films. But we quickly forgot him and looked at actors like Navin Nischal ( Sawan Bhadon, Prawana) and Anil Dhawan ( Chetna, Piya Ka ghar) as the big stars of the next generation. ( Dharmendra was already a big star rivalling Rajesh Khanna with hits like Mera Gaon Mera Desh and Seeta Aur Geeta. ) .

Amitabh made appearances in a number of small films after that. We did take note of his intense villainy in Parwana and his awkward singing and dancing to the cult song ‘ Dekha Na hai Re’ in ‘ Bombay To Goa.’ Then in 1973 came Zanjeer and created havoc. But it is not as if Amitabh became the next big thing. It was not like Rajesh Khanna after Aradhana. People had dollops of doubt as to whether Amitabh could be a traditional Hindi film hero. I happened to see Nmak Haram , released the same year, before Zanjeer. I remember the excitement in the theater when Amitabh delivered the line, daring the rowdy workers bent on attacking Rajesh Khanna , ” Hai Koi Mai Ke Laal ? ” My god, what fury he could pack into that single line. I was in IIT then, in my 2nd year, having a session of mild ragging. I remember talking about films ( what else) with a bunch of juniors and asking one of them, ” Do you think Amiatbh can match the level reached by Rajesh Khanna?” ” Match? I think he will go far ahead of Rajesh Khanna in the years to come.” “Was this kid out of his mind? ” I thought. But now I know the younger generation has always a better intuitive understanding when it comes to the future.

The next Amiatbh film I remember seeing was Majboor. Salim-Javed were in the peak of their craft then and this was one hell of a script. Remember Pran singing ” Phir Na Kehna Michael peekay danga karta hai’. But what stays in the mind is Amitabh stung by the pain in the head dropping the fish bowl, smashing it to pieces…Amitabh trying to create false evidence of his death by littering the place with cigarette stubs. Also remember Amitabh singing ” Nahin Mein Nahin Dekh Sakta Tujhe Rote Hue”. The song convinced many of us that , Yes, he could perhaps still become some kind of a hero. He hadn’t sang any song in Zanjeer. and even here, he hadn’t really sung a romantic song. The next milestone in the memory trail is Deewar. Seeing that film was really like a religious experience. Amitabh was like a shaman leading us to trance. I had missed it on its actual release and saw it in a tent theater in Bangalore during my summer training. People were clapping after each dialogue…and what dialogues! Kal ek coolie phir hafta dene se inkaar karega. Peter main yahan hoon. Mein aaj bhi phek hua paisa nahin leta. Mere paas maa hai. But forget these one liners. I remember long passages from the film that Amitabh delivered. The one that he delivers at the Shiva temple: Haan, khush to bahut hoge. woh aurat jo tere dar pe maatha tekata tekaate uske maatha ghis gaye aaj woh zindagi aur maut ke beech ulajh rahi hai.etc. Or the lines he gives to Praveen Babi after the shoot out in the bar: ” Tum mera naam nahin pochoge?”‘ Kya fyada, tumhare jaise ladki apna nam kapdokin tarah badalti hai”. Or his speech to Iftekhar, or is it Madan Puri , ” Bachpanmeim ek kahani suni thi. Ek admi ke paas ek murgi thi jo sone ka andein deti thi.etc.The performance hit you like a sledge hammer. The blue shirt , open, tied at the end over the white bell bottoms are seared in ones film viewing memory like a tattoo. Ever since I saw Dilip Kumar in Aadmi and Raam aur Shyam back to back, no performance has had me in its grip like Deewar.

The memories of the next set of movies aren’t chronological. Like Abhiman, with Amit singing Meet Na Mila Manka dressed in his chequered coat, and joining Jaya for many duets, including the lilting ‘ Tere Mere Milan Ki Yeh Raina”. Honestly I don’t think much of the film. But the songs stayed in the mind. There was Roti Kapda aur Makan, Benam.Remember Saudagar for his very convincing performance as the toddytapper husband of Nutan besotted by the sensual charms of Padma Khanna. Remember the two wonderful Hrishikesh Mukherjee films Mili and Chupke Chupke, the latter showing the first flashes of his inimitable comic timing which attained its full flowering in the next landmark film of Amitabh’s long and lustrous career: Sholay. ” Basanti Tera Naam Kya Hai? Hindi cinema hadn’t seen a display of deadpan humour like this before. In a way it was very Western but implanted very expertly on Indian soil. It was possible due to Salim-Javed’s rootedness combined with exposure to Western pulp like James Hadley Chase. Amiatbh’s Jai was a unique type, never seen before in Indian cinema, combining the laconic , brooding action hero with a deadpan verbal humour. Someone who shoots from the hip as well as the lip. Who can forget his scene where he is talking with Veeru’s mausi proposing marriage with Bassanti. ‘ Daru peeta hai jab jua mein haar jaata hai. ab roz roz to aadmi jeet nahin sakta.” These comic interludes soon became mandatory set pieces in his subsequent films. Sholay was already taking Amitabh on his way to becoming a complete hero who can sing, emote, romance, fight and do comedy. ( The dancing ability was yet to be added to the resume.) He continued with his angry mode in Do Anjaney, an okey-dokey film remarkable only for the beginning of his pairing with Rekha.

The next change of track for Amitabh came with Kabhi Kabhi, where he was romancing Raakhee In Yash Chopra’s trademark locations like Kashmir, dressed in Yash Chpra’s trademark costumes like jackets and sweaters, singing ‘ Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon’. I think the film was messy, unwieldy and didn’t amount to much. But it did wonders for Amitabh’s career , as it established his credentials as a romantic hero. It also established his bond with the director Yash Chopra and also established a pattern of his being paired with Shashi Kapoor, providing a light counterpart to his dark brooding presence. This pattern and bonding was to be repeated in films like Trishul and Kaala Patthar , where Amitabh continued to excel in his established style of acting.

The departure came with Hera Pheri and to some extent Khoon Pasina, both Prakash Mehra films where Amiatbh started showing his comic turns meant for the masses singing songs like ” Apna to Kaam Hai Paraya Maal Hadapna aur Raam Naam Japna’ . I remember enjoying the films then ( specially his romantic turns with Rekha with whom I was totally besotted by now. ), but never cared to revisit them really. But the one that I do revisit time and again is Prakash Mehra’s Muqadar Ka Siqandar. I think this is the best Devdas impersonation after Bimal Roy-Dilip Kumar’s version. The film had all the hallmarks of Prakash Mehra’s campy and crass style. But it also had a lots of heart. Amitabh and Rekha showed what chemistry is about with the song’ Salaame Ishq’ . Amiatbh brought lumps to our throat with his ” Mem saab’ act and his singing of ‘ O Saathi Re”. I saw the film a number of times in the theater, both for Amitabh and Rekha. The Rekha Amiatbh pairing sizzled in the next film of another Amitabh loyalist, Rakesh Kumar ( who vanished when there was no Amitabh to bolster him just like Prakash Mehra, Manmohna Desai, Narendra Bedi, and Chandra Barot,) The film was the unremarkable Mr Natwarlal, made remarkable for me by that one son song: ‘Mere paas aao, mee doston’. It showed the limitless talent of this gifted actor. He sang the song himself and acted it out with such sincerity that it reached to the child in you, held you in its grip and wont let go. I remember him clamoring up the branch of a tree, doing all kinds of monkey tricks, then the fantastic expression and timing he puts into the line ‘ Hanuman Chalisa padhta hua, Bolo Pawan putra Hanuman ki jai” and above all the punch line: ” Arre Lallu, yeh jeena bhi koi jeena hai.” Even today, when I see the song on TV I feel like breaking into an applause when it ends.

The next landmark film is yet another film that shows what makes Amitabh such an immortal star, whose super stardom has lasted longer than anyone else in the history of Indian cinema — his ability to reinvent his star persona many times over. The film I am talking about is Amar Akabr Anthony. It was time for us to be hit by a sledge hammer once again. If the impact of Amiatbh’s performance in Deewar owed a lot to the writing of Salim-Javed here it was the sheer genius of Manmohan Desai that resulted in this remarkable makeover. We were zapped as we saw Amitabh dance , no perform, My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves, mouth dialogues like ‘ Aadmi zindagi mein doh-ich baar aisa bhaagta hai, Olympic ka race ho, yah police ka case ho ( Kadar Khan, take a bow!) and do his Buster Keaton act of putting the band aid on his reflection on the mirror. ( Just digressing a little, those who compare Farah Khan with Manmohan Desai have no clue to what they are talking. Farah does not have even the fraction of detailing and wit present in each of the songs of AAA: Honi Ko Anhonee Kar De, My Name Is, Parda Hi Parda, Tayab Ali Pyaar Ka Dushman). Any way back to Amitabh. Though he did Parvarish and Suhaag with Desai, the only other film that belongs in the same league is Naseeb and to some extent Coolie. Naseeb with its song John Jaani Janardan, Chal Mere Bhai continued to showcase the comic energy and invention of Deasi-Bachchan combo ( Rishi Kappor replacing Shashi by now as the lighter alter ego of Bachchan). This is the phase when he created his unique persona that I have branded as Sophisticated Tapori. No one before or since has been able to create a persona that appeals to masses and the classes alike that completely.

It is impossible for anyone today to imagine how completely Amiatbh dominated this decade. Because here I am going gaga over Bachchan-Desai combo forgetting the Mehra-Bachchan combo that after Muqadar Ka Siknadar came with Namak Halal , Sharabi and Lawaaris. Each of them had a blockbuster item number that would put the Munnis and Shielas of today in the shade: Pag Ghungroo Bandh Mera Nachi Thi, which brings the house down today even in TV reruns or in any stage show by any cover singer, De De Pyar De, Mere angana Mein. Sharabi had some fine emotional moments too, though some were over-the-top melodramatic ones. And both Namak Halal and Sharabi had some fine comic set pieces ( I can talk English, I can walk English. When Vijay Hazare was playing with VIjay Merchant….considering the consideration etc. Moochhe ho to Nathuram jaisa ho) .

And while I am talking about Desai and Mehra I have forgotten about Don, the crackling script that Salim-Javed wrote creating the ultimate benchmark for impersonation dram in Indian cinema. ( It was a hit in every south Indian remake, remarkably in Billa , the Rajnikant version, reprised again by Ajit recently.) Amitabh was pitch perfect as the paan-chewing, Bhojpuri speaking Vijay, singing in his lungi, Yeh hai Bomabi Nagariya Tu Dekh Babua. But what gave us the collective orgasm, was watching him perform ‘ Khaike Paan Benaraswala’. Those who dare compare Shahrukh’s version with the original should have seen the mass hysteria in theatres during the song.

And again while I am talking of these potboilers I am forgetting the little gems he was making with Hrishikesh Mukherjee: Jurmana and Bemisal ( Aalap was indulgent and boring. failing by trying too hard, just like Salim-Javed”s Imaan Dhram earlier). I especially enjoyed his performance in Bemisal. There were okey-dokey films like Do Aur Do Paanch, Khuddar, Kaalia, Satta Pe Satta, Khuddar etc of which some I have not seen , some I have seen but don’t have strong impressions. But I do remember the powerful Dostana penned by Salim-Javed again and the very funny sequence that Amitabh enacted with Zeenat in the restaurant / club, talking about the imaginary girlfriend, Meenakshi.

But three or four films after this Amitabh- can-do-no-wrong-and-is- No1- to- No10 phase that have stayed in my mind are Shakti, Silsila, Aakhri Raasta and Main Azad Hoon. Dilp Kumar had the better role and better lines in Shakti but Amitabh’s performance was as intense and impactful as ever. Can’t stop from watching it whenever it’s on TV. This is one film where the two female protagonists Raakhee and Smita Patil complement the male leads perfectly, even with limited screen time. Silsila is the film that really created a successful romantic avatar of Amitabh, much more than Kabhi Kabhi did. The film once again extended Amitabh’s persona into another dimension, aided by his inimitable rendering of Rang Barse ( spare a thought for the superlative support of Sanjeev Kumar during the sequence), his scorching chemistry with Rekha during the tulips tinte song ‘ Yeh Kahan aa Gaye Hum” and his unforgettable rendition of ” Mein aur meri tanhayi aksar baatein karte hain” which must have come to the aid of so many would-be Romeos to woo their Juliets in shayrana andaz across college campuses. Aakhri Raasta was remarkable for his performance as both father and son. I confess one of the few scenes that really brought tears to my eyes in my adult days was the scene where the father Amitabh meets the son at the graveyard and hears him talk flawless English and sii choked with emotion. Main Azad Hon was a little confused about what kind of a film it wanted to be and does not work fully. But the last soliloquy by Amitabh is unmatchable and unforgettable. ( He managed the feat once again in the closing soliloquy in Baghban).

Moving on, there were films like Shahenshah and Hum which were kind of successful but I didn’t care much about. Khuda Gawah had its moments. Agneepath didn’t work for me as a film ( Mithun the nariwalwala was intolerable) , though the performance was fine ( bit of a Deewar dej vu diluted the impact for me) . Remake of South films like Inqilab and Mahaan I didn’t even care to see. And the fact that you cannot squeeze a lemon beyond a point without making the juice bitter was proven by Desai-Mehra duds like Desh Premee, Mard, Ganga Yamuna Saraswati, Toofan and Jaadugar.

My period of passionate engagement and wide-eyed admiration for Amitabh films more or less ended here, until his second coming with films like Baghban, Khakee, Cheeni Kum and Paa. ( But I cant talk of them in the same breath as this phase of true youthful romance and first love. So I will save that for another summation.)

Just one closing thought. When I look back on my Hindi film viewing days of the 70s and 80s all I can see is Amitabh Bachchan, maybe counterpoised with small films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee, shyam Benegal and Goving Nihalani. But no other stars even comes close to intruding upon this passionate engagement. Not Dharmedra, not Vinod Khanna ( who are these people? ), not Anil, Sunny , Sanjay ( Bachchas , aren’t they? In fact until the advent of the three Khans in their peak, star excitement for me did not come from any male star, but female stats like Sridevi and Madhuri.

As to Amitabh, the magic of his full-blown star charisma was resurrected for me, not in any big screen portrayal, but as the anchor of the first season of Kaun Banega Crorepati. Once again no Indian star, to paraphrase, MC Hammer, can touch that.

25 Responses to “The incomparable Amitabh – My diary of a passionate engagement over two decades (Utkal) – Updated”

  1. Nice write up,Utkal da.


  2. This made my day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MangoMan Says:



  4. That’s an awesome read .. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sanjana Says:

    Very good writeup Utkal. The way you remembered all those dialogues.It is like reliving those scenes.
    He is gifted in many ways. He is a very handsome man with great height and such a great voice. Thank god there was no 6 pack fever during his period.
    He is a hero who never needed a heroine.
    The only 2 heroes from that era who had that charisma for me were Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan who were poles apart. One was romantic while the other was champion of the aam admi.
    I will cherish Khanna’s films for songs while I cherish Bachchan’s films for those dialogues and the way he only could have said those dialogues.
    He was a brooding hero in many of his blockbusters like sharabi and MKS.
    He elevated Sholay with his classic act.
    His comic timing was superb in Chupke Chupke. That deadpan expression.
    Only his romance did not convince me that much.


  6. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    SAnjan: “Only his romance did not convince me that much.” Absolutely. He was too self-absorbed to give in fully to another, toa woman. So in his scenes of intimacy there was always a bit of holding back. And talking of Rajesh Khanna I wrote a piece on him too, before doing this. I will try and fish that out too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bob Cristo Says:

    “And talking of Rajesh Khanna I wrote a piece on him too, before doing this. I will try and fish that out too”
    Utkal sir i have read your piece on Rajesh Khanna and it was better then this article as far as passoinate writing is cocerned. Lets see if that article get hounar as a sepreat thread.


  8. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    No, Bob Cristo, I would rate the Amitabh piece higher, simply because I am much more passionate about Amitabh than I could ever be of Rajesh. If I sit down to write about Dilip Kumar, that would be something. But no, between Rajesh and amitabh, it is Amitabh all the way. Any way, here is my piece on Rajesh. I could recover it from Naachgaana.

    [post created]

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great! what a frenzy! You have captured Khanna’s frenzy in the pure Khanna style! His greatness lies that he made even average films work. And some of his films are evergreen. One can watch them any number of times without getting tired. He was lucky that he got the best songs during that period.

      Pushpa, I hate tears.

      But he made so many Pushpas cry when he cried. When he died.

      He is truly the phenomenon. Even now.

      I loved even his Joroo ka ghulam. A sweet film.


  9. Bob Cristo Says:

    @ Utkal sir..Like films here also taste differs. I found your RK piece better then AB.Indivisual Taste. And if i have to choose between AB and RK i will pick RK. (Though i find Amitabh Best and Biggest Actor-Superstar ever). No contrdiction. It is like though Sachin has most no of Runs and century in Test i will take Rahul Dravid anyday over Sachin b/c Datas are one thing and liking for someone is another.


  10. Never before, never again: The Shashi Kapoor-Amitabh Bachchan chemistry

    By Rajiv Vijayakar

    Trivia hunters would love to know three more interesting tidbits: one, Shashi got Amitabh’s cameo (as a struggling extra then!) edited out of his 1972 English film, Bombay Talkie, because he sensed a talent that deserved far better; two, had Shashi’s secretary not bungled, he would have played the role of Anand (for which Hrishikesh Mukherjee wanted him as the film was inspired by his friendship with Raj Kapoor), and so this 1971 film would have become the first Shashi-Amitabh film; and three, Shashi Kapoor had originally planned his bi-lingual production Utsav /The Festival with Amitabh Bachchan in the negative lead role, that he finally played himself when the economics did not match.

    Piquantly, Utsav became the role for which Shashi gained a lot of weight, but lost the will to lose the kilos after his wife Jennifer died soon after!

    The Secret of The Team
    Though both worked a lot in the ’70s and ’80s (the multi-star eras) with other heroes), the clear secret of their collaboration was their obvious off-screen comfort zone coming up trumps on-screen as well. Their relaxed demeanor at work was there for all to see.

    As one source puts it, “When two big stars come together, there are always undercurrents, on- and off-screen. The most notable aspect was that with Shashi and Amitabh, this was completely and conspicuously missing. There seemed to be total mutual trust and affection!”


  11. Some terrific images….and LOL at the journalist’s comments…


  12. Thanks Satyam!!


  13. This Pic will remain Big B forever pic for me.
    Happy Birthday the greatest icon.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. S – supremo

    Spiderman is really Peter Parker, Batman is really Bruce Wayne. Star Comics, an India Book House subsidiary, just went one step further as they created a masked crime-fighting hero called Supremo — and his harmless alter ego just happened to be Amitabh Bachchan, actor.

    The artwork was pretty good, and while Mr Bachchan didn’t go as far as wearing his underwear on the outside, he had a falcon called Shaheen and Robin-style sidekicks Anthony and Vijay.

    With Gulzar as scripting consultant, the comics were a fantastic, albeit tragically shortlived ride.

    The kind of ride only Bachchan, with his persona and his ouevre, could take us on.

    Z – zanjeer

    It should be made mandatory for police stations across the nation to have on their walls, right next to the ubiquitous portraits of the Mahatma, a framed photograph of Amitabh Bachchan’s Inspector Vijay Khanna.

    Pran’s hand rests on a chair and Bachchan swiftly plants an epochal kick on it, that single moment birthing the Angry Young Man persona set to dominate Indian cinema for decades.

    Prakash Mehra’s 1973 classic Zanjeer sees Bachchan at his glowering, seething, action hero best, and he’s so bloody inflammable the screen is fit to burst.

    Those legs are long and meant for fighting, that baritone takes on cold ruthlessness, and his eyes are tinderboxes.



  15. This was an extraordinary piece by Utkal.
    Great observations on MKS, Shakti , Silsila and Akhiri Rasta.
    I am not a great fan of Main Azad Hoon though .
    I am glad he picked Bemisal over Jurmana ( Unlike Satyam) LOL !

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Something I wrote on DEEWAR on its 40 years completion…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Or another gem when Samant, whom Vijay has, frankly speaking, double-crossed, calls up Vijay to warn him that this act would cost him, Vijay simply replies nonchalantly, ‘में दुश्मनी मोल लेता हूँ तो सस्ते महेंगे की परवाह नहीं करता’. [5] To re-iterate that the film is littered with such clap-worthy lines would but just be an under-statement.

      Kya baat hai AnJo, I had not noticed this line before , it is so clever and brilliant .
      great read overall .


  17. The moment the Tamil version with Kamal Haasan was over, we started the Hindi version Aakhri Raasta. On the first day, although Amitabh Bachchan had the full script with him, he asked me, ‘If you can tell me how the whole scene will be taken, it will be good for me to prepare everything mentally.’

    I understood why he asked that question. He wanted to check whether I was prepared or not. Even before I finished narrating the whole scene, he said, ‘I understand. I think I can manage now.’

    Once we started shooting, he was like an obedient student. I wrote the Tamil screenplay which was translated into Hindi. I didn’t know Hindi. So, every morning, Amitabh Bachchan would go through the script and ask me to deliver the dialogues in Tamil so that he would understand whether the emotion had been conveyed properly in Hindi.

    I used to emote all the scenes for the benefit of the others, and it was easier for me to do so as I am also an artiste. If the scene involved an actress, he would jokingly say, ‘See how eager the director is. He is waiting for a chance to touch the heroine!’

    One scene he appreciated a lot was the one in the graveyard. We had an argument about it. I wanted the father and son to have a heated argument in English in the graveyard. He disagreed with me totally. He said viewers would not be able to understand so much in English. I refused to budge.

    He said, ‘No, no. How can you have the whole scene in English? Nobody will understand a word.’ I told him what he was saying was not important, the language was important.

    There is a background to that scene. The father, who is illiterate, marries an educated woman. She teaches him everything, including English. She tells him one day, ‘If you had studied, you would have been a master of English. Now, you will not be able to retaliate if my son fights with you.’ He challenges that he can.

    Now, both the father and son were in the graveyard where the mother was cremated. He wanted his dead wife to hear him fighting with his son in English. I felt what he said was immaterial, only the language mattered.

    Amitabh Bachchan refused. I did not relent. When we started a heated argument, the producer asked the unit to go out so that we could fight it out!

    Finally, I told him, 塑ou just see. Once you start in English, people will start clapping. Anyway, I will shoot in both languages. I want you to show my version to somebody and watch their reaction. If you are not satisfied, we will have the Hindi version.’

    He thought for a while and said, ‘Sir, you are the captain. If you feel so strongly about it, let us have it the way you want it. We need not waste any film and time.’

    We shot the scene in English.

    He called me at midnight one day and said, ‘Sir, I watched how the audience reacted to that particular scene. When I started talking in English, it was from the front bench that the first clap started. It was only after that the educated class clapped. You are right. You judged the pulse of the audience so well.’

    He added that according to his wife Jaya, the film was not an Amitabh Bachchan film, but a Bhagyaraj film. ‘I am jealous of you,’ he said and laughed.

    K Bhagyaraj spoke to Shobha Warrier


  18. Bachchan’s Blog Today. coincidently I just revisited Main Azad Hoon last weekend on SonyLiv (kind of fast forwarded it) , and still maintain that it was not a right movie for Bachchan ( too much star power , him looking pristine through out the movie with no sign of starvation , however the supporting cast was very impressive.

    So it was some years on the passing of a film Main Azaad Hoon and many were asking details of its making and the intricacies of some of the shootings that took place ..

    .. it is a long story fringed with exceptional and some not so exceptional periods during its making .. some day .. some day hopefully it shall be revealed .. in a greater detail than what has been depicted on screen .. much greater ..

    .. yes at times it is requested for a sync sound take .. and that works wonderfully .. like the drunk scenes or those that involve emotion .. tears come at the time of the shooting in consideration of the fact that there has been a sequence of continued acting .. and the emotion that appears on the face , comes from the immediate understanding of the scene or sequence ..

    .. but putting it all over again in enclosed impersonal environ is never the same .. and most performances suffer because of it ..

    .. the drunk scene of SPS satta , is one of the many .. the AAA mirror scene ..the death scene in Deewar .. the scene in Sharabi on the death of Om Prakash ji and several such ..

    .. the sound department infuriates at the absence of effort to redo the scene for the perfect sound .. but that achieved often results in an imperfect perform .. and that is most painful ..

    .. the sound engineer on set often retakes a shot because he had issues with the sound track .. and that becomes a huge issue when there is an emotion to be expressed .. I mean how many times can we keep working up the tear ducts to get it right for the sound !!! ..

    .. but such is the job that the engineer has his parameters too and it does become a reason ..

    .. in the early years of film making the shoots took place after midnight , because then the outside noise of traffic and general was at its lowest ..

    .. background score or lip sync a song was another hurdle in those early years .. the song would be sung and the orchestra played live on the set and moved about with the movement of the artist .. the technology of the speaker systems and recordings was not invented by then .. but we found a way any way ..

    .. so yes dubbing is indeed an arduous task and takes a lot out of you .. what was perhaps done and shot over several months and at times years , has to suddenly be done within minutes .. that is a tough call ..

    .. in the early times dubbing even at my time was and had a uniques and acceptable process ..

    .. the scene to be done or the lines to be dubbed would be put on film of course , but that particular moment would be given a little back up .. and within that length the film would be cut again , stuck into a loop and in the theatre of the dub the loop would be placed on the projector and it kept playing again and again as you waited for the portion to dub to come and you spoke ..

    .. hours and hours and day and months of concentrated work to complete the dub for a film ..

    .. now digital takes over and the speed of the run and the cue is on the press of a button .. and the facility of being able to dub singular words if they went wrong to be put together again in sequence of the film, has been made possible ..

    .. much the same has happened to the music industry ..

    .. previously the entire 100-150 piece orchestra would sit in an enclosed sound proof theatre and record .. one single violin going out of place and the entire song would have to be done again ..

    .. now .. each instrument can be played and recorded separately .. the singer sing the song to a basic beat .. and the arrangement later can all be put together with the richness of other voices and instruments ..

    .. many a time todays play back singers are often unaware of the film they have sung for .. technology shall decide .. and we succumb to it ..

    .. BUT what a joy and a privilege to have been a witness to the growth of the changes in this fantastic world of film making .. more than 50 years of seeing its changes each passing hour almost ..


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