In the month of September 2009, I posted a blog : 40 Years of Internet. And today in the month of November, I am posting a new blog , 40 Years of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. In 40 years, both internet and Amitabh Bachchan have become an inseparable and intrinsic part of our life. They have become so omnipresent that you cannot think of a life without them, even for a fraction of second.
Mr. Bachchan’s first film “ Saat Hindustani ” produced and directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas was released on November 07, 1969. Utpal Datt, A. K. Hangal, Jalal Agha and Mehmood’s brother Anwar were his other co-stars. It was a colourless and unimpressive debut, though Mr. Bachchan got National Award for Best New Comer that year. From “ Saat Hindustani ” to “ Zanjeer ” Mr. Bachchan gave 12 duds and few gem like “ Anand ”, “ Namak Haram ” and “ Parwana ”. He was booed by the audience, rejected by the critics and got replaced in many films by the likes of Sanjay Khan and Romesh Sharma. Even In his film “ Parwana”, he was not the lead actor. Navin Nishchol played the male lead and Yogita Bali played the female lead and Mr. Bachchan played the quintessential villain. In “ Anand ” and “ Namak Haram ”, Rajesh Khanna played the main lead.
Faced with such situations Mr. Bachchan decided to call it quit and started packing his bags. But fate willed otherwise. Late Prakash Mehra was ready with the script of “ Zanjeer ” and was in frantic search of a leading man for it. Dev Anand, the first choice, rejected the offer because he was interested in acquiring the script for his own banner, Navketan International. When few other reigning kings of that era like Raaj Kumar and Dharmendra also rejected the role, Mr. Prakash Mehra signed Mr. Bachchan, as per the advice of writers Salim-Javed and Late comedian Om Prakash. Film was released and made history.
After that Amitabh scaled dizzying heights and got unimaginable success. From “ Saat Hindustani ” to “ Paa ” , it is a journey worth living, worth imitating. It is so well chronicled that there is nothing more or new to say.
His foray into T. V. is also very successful. “ Kaun Banega Crorepati ” season 1 & 2 and now “ Bigg Boss ” season 3 tells the story.
I must and should admit here that I am a fan of Mr. Dilip Kumar. I saw Mr. Bachchan’s “ Zanjeer ” in Ajanta Talkies of Allahabad. Zero Road of Allahabad had many theaters and I had gone to see some other film at Rupbani Talkies. Unable to get ticket, I ventured into nearby cinema hall Ajanta. I watched “ Zanjeer ” with lots of negativity. One reason was that I had seen his two earlier films, “ Ek Nazar ” and “ Bansi Aur Birju ” and did not like them. The second and most important reason was that being an ardent fan of Mr. Dilip Kumar, I was not ready to accept any other leading man and that too as unconventional as Amitabh Bachchan. I watched the film “ Zanjeer ” and frankly speaking, came out unimpressed. Even the Silver Jubilee of the film failed to impress me. Year after year, I kept on watching his films in denial mode. But slowly and steadily he grew on me. By sheer force of his performances, he crept into my psyche and I do not know when he became an intrinsic and inseparable part of me just like Mr. Dilip Kumar.
Despite spending 20 years in the film industry, I am yet to meet Mr. Bachchan one to one. I was fortunate enough to see him once. I was invited for the music release function of “ Pyar Zindagi Hai ”, a film produced & directed by K. C. Bokadia. It was the debut film of my students Vikas Kalantri and Ashima Bhalla. Mr. Bachchan was the chief guest and came for the music release. I could see him from the close quarters.
On the completion of 40 years in the industry, I wish him long life and many more years in the industry. And I pray to God that I should be given a chance to meet him and interact with him at least once.
Filed under: Down Memory Lane