70 Years of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 14 , 2012           00.45 A.M.

Amitabh Bachchan turned 70 on October 11 , 2012 . I am following the news since 2 / 3 days and it seems to be a never-ending saga . On that day almost all the luminaries attended his birthday bash at Film City , Mumbai . It became a national , rather international news .

English: Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I have stated in my earlier blog , which I wrote when he completed 40 years in the Hindi Film Industry , I was not his fan initially. But gradually when I grew and when I started understanding cinema , I started appreciating his work more .

I must admit here that I am yet to watch ” Saat Hindustani ” [ 1969 ] , his first film . His first film , which I watched was ” Anand ” [ 1971 ] . A Dilip Kumar fan , who was getting used to Rajesh Khanna , any liking for Amitabh Bachchan was not possible . Though I must admit here that he was very good in that film . Then I watched ” Reshma Aur Shera ” [ 1971 ] . He was definitely very good in that film also . But the era belonged to Rajesh Khanna .

Then I watched ” Ek Nazar ” [ 1972 ] . Sitting in a cinema hall of Allahabad , Uttar Pradesh , I was not impressed or mesmerized by his persona on the screen . I vividly remember some adverse or inimical comments made by public . I was startled because I was watching the film in Allahabad and it being his home town , I was expecting some favourable cheering . But he was being booed . ” Bansi Birju ” [ 1972 ] was another debacle . ” Raste Ka Patthar ” [ 1972 ] , ” Bombay To Goa ” [ 1972 ] and ” Bandhe Haath ” [ 1973 ] couldn’t make matter easier for Mr. Bachchan .

Though things started getting changed in 1973 . ” Zanjeer ” [ 1973 ] got released and things changed for Mr. Bachchan . ” Namak Haraam ” [ 1973 ] fortified his position . From 1973 onwards Rajesh Khanna’s historical debacle started and stupendous ascendency of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan began . ” Deewar ” [1975 ] and ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ] came in quick succession and juggernaut of Amitabh Bachchan became unstoppable . So from ” Zanjeer ” [1973 ] to ” Paa ” [ 2009 ] and ” Department ” [ 2012 ] , it was and it is Amitabh Bachchan tsunami .

After ” Khuda Gawah ” [ 1992 ] he took sabbatical . It was self – imposed semi retirement . He did few film after 5 years but old spark was missing . He again got his lost empire back with ” Mohabbatein ” [ 2000 ] and from 2000 to 2012 he is again numero uno .

2000 is very important year for him because apart from ” Mohabbatein “ , he decided to host ” Kaun Banega Crorepati “ on television . And after that he never looked back till today.

I have tried to chronicle his journey as an actor because he almost forced me to like and appreciate him . I am a self-confessed Dilip Kumar fan . Later on I started liking Ashok Kumar , Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor . My liking and appreciation for Amitabh Bachchan was slow . But now it is complete . Ashok Kumar , Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor are gone . Dilip Kumar doesn’t work anymore . ” Qila ” [ 1998 ] was his last appearance on screen . So naturally Amitabh Bachchan is the only icon , only actor of relevance available .

As Acting Trainer of Mumbai , I need to give example to my students and films of Amitabh Bachchan are my reference point . Almost all the Acting Trainers of India give reference from his films . All the Acting Schools of Mumbai or Bollywood Acting Schools have his photos prominently placed in their premises .

I am lucky that I have chance to bump into him several times . I first saw him at the music release function of  K. C. Bokadia’s film ” Pyar Zindagi Hai ” [ 2001 ] . It starred my students Vikas Kalantri and Ashima Bhalla . This film is also noted because it was K. C. Bokadia’s 50th film . Mr. Bachchan came for the music release function at The Club and I got chance to see him .

I admire him as a man , as an actor and as a public figure . I have got inspired by him and started dabbling in internet . He also inspired me to write blog . So in a way , this blog is my tribute to him .

Wish you a very long life Mr. Bachchan !

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Farewell Hangal Sahab : Itna Sannata Kyon Hai Bhai ?


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 28, 2012           01.00 A.M.

Death of  Shri A. K. Hangal on August 26, 2012 at the age of 97 was almost expected . He was aged , frail and was suffering from multiple diseases . On August 13 , 2012 he fell in the bathroom of his flat and fractured his right femur bone . On August 16 he was admitted in Asha Parekh Hospital , Santacruz and after 10 days finally succumbed to his injury and other age related complications .

I wrote a blog about him when Hangal Sahab was alive . He hit the headlines for his poor health and penury . Industry people rushed to his succour . But his communist comrades , who are now shedding copious tears after his demise , kept distance and maintained stoic silence .

My Other Blog About Hangal Sahab : A. K. Hangal & His Communist Comrades wp.me/ptyXI-Rn via @VidurChaturvedi

Avtaar Veenit Kishan Hangal a.k.a. A. K. Hangal was an iconic father figure of Hindi cinema . He was first noticed in films like ; Shagird ” [ 1966 ] and ” Teesari Kasam ” [ 1966 ] . I first saw him in ” Shagird “ , a Joy Mukherjee and Saira Banu starrer .

Shagird

Cover of Shagird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Born in Sialkot , Pakistan , Hangal Sahab spent his childhood in Peshawar . He moved to Karachi before partition of India and was a tailor by profession . He joined theatre very early in his life . In 1949 he moved to India after spending 3 years in jail in Pakistan . In Mumbai he , along with Balraj Sahni and Kaifi Azmi , joined IPTA [ Indian People’s Theatre Association ] and then in 1966 joined Hindi films at the age of 50 .

As stated earlier he started his film journey with ” Shagird ” [ 1966 ] and ” Teesari Kasam ” [ 1966 ] . Later on he worked in films like ;Saat Hindustani ” [ 1969 ] , ” Guddi ” [ 1971 ] , ” Bawarchi ” [ 1972 ] , ” Abhimaan ” [ 1973 ] , ” Namak Haraam ” [ 1973 ] , ” Kora Kagaz ” [ 1974 ] , ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ] , ” Balika Badhu ” [ 1976 ] , ” Aina ” [ 1977 ] , ” Satyam Shivam Sundaram ” [ 1978 ] , ” Basera ‘ [ 1981 ] , ” Kalyug ” [ 1981 ] , ” Kudrat ” [ 1981 ] , ” Naram Garam ” [ 1981 ] , ” Shaukeen ” [ 1982 ] , ” Avtaar ” [ 1983 ] , ” Sharaabi ” [ 1984 ] , ” Arjun ” [ 1985 ] , ” Bewafai ” [ 1985 ] , ” Meri Jung ” [ 1985 ] , ” Ram Teri Ganga Maili ” [ 1985 ] , ” Khoon Bhari Maang ” [ 1988 ] , ” Khalnayak ” [ 1993 ] and  ” Lagaan ” [ 2001 ] .

Rahim Chacha of Sholay

Rahim Chacha of Sholay

In Shaukeen with Ashok Kumar & Utpal Dutt

In Shaukeen with Ashok Kumar & Utpal Dutt

Lagaan - His Last Film

Lagaan – His Last Film

So from 1966 to his last film in 2001 , it was a 35 year-long and very successful film journey . He acted in almost 200 films .

During his last years , on February 08 , 2011 , he graced the ramp on a wheelchair for fashion designer Riyaz Ganji for his summer line .

Show Stopper for Riyaz Ganji

Show Stopper for Riyaz Ganji

His last appearance was a TV serial ” Madhubala – Ek Ishq Ek Junoon ” [ 2012 ] . He gave his voice for Maharaja Ugrasen in animation film ” Krishna Aur Kans ” [ 2012 ] . So in a way his career span is 46 years .

The government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan in 2006 .

He lived an eventful life and must have left this world with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment .

Al-vidaah Rahim Chacha ! Your voice will always reverberate in my ears , ” Itna sannata kyon hai bhai ? ”

 

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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In Memoriam Rajesh Khanna : Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli , Hai!


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 24 , 2012           01.15 A.M.

Dara Singh died on July 12 , 2012 . Within a week another luminary of the Hindi film industry bid adieu to this world . Rajesh Khanna died on July 18 , 2012 .

In Glass Casket

In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Akshay Kumar with the Dead Body In Glass Casket

Let me state honestly . I am not his fan . In fact I was never ever a fan or admirer of Rajesh Khanna , the actor or the man . Though I have watched many of his films . I do admire some of his cult films . I definitely remember and hummed many of his iconic songs . I am very much aware of his stupendous super stardom , which , once upon a time , engulfed the film industry like a hurricane or tornado or tsunami . I am witness to those years when every star  was dwarfed in front of him . I am well aware of  those momentous days when everyone or everything became insignificant in his presence . His blitzkrieg darkened all the other objects . His tumultuous rise momentarily eclipsed all the other stars and consigned some of the mightiest stars into the trash bin of history . I am witness to those days . I was living in that era . I am privy to those happenings . In 1972 I was here in Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . I have seen the crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad . I have witnessed the fan adulation . But still , I was not his fan or admirer .

But I was saddened beyond words when I heard the news of his demise . My wife , again not his fan , cried profusely when she watched his funeral procession . So the question arises , what happened to us ? Why we felt for Rajesh Khanna so deeply ? Is it not enigmatic ? Is it not ironical ? No , it is not . Just watch these pictures posted below and notice the horrific changes in his personality down the years and you will fully understand the reason of our empathy .

Image - 1

Image – 1

Image - 2

Image – 2

Image - 3

Image – 3

Image - 4

Image – 4

Image - 5

Image – 5

Image - 6

Image – 6

Image - 7

Image – 7

From a dashing , charming young superstar to a pale shadow of his own self , these photos tell us a very tragic and pathetic story . For present day generation of movie – goers , his popularity during his heydays is unknown and unimaginable . I am presenting some of the milestones of his life’s journey one by one .

Aakhri Khat

Aakhri Khat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1966 : Made debut with ” Aakhri Khat ” .

1967 : Made his mark with ” Raaz ” .

1969 : Attained Super stardom with ” Aaradhana ”

1969 : ” Bandhan ”

1969 : ” Do Raste ”

1969 : ” Doli ”

1969 : ” Khamoshi ”

1969 : ” Ittefaq ”

[ 6 super hits in 1969 ]

1970 : ” Aan Milo Sajna

1970 : ” Safar ”

1970 : ” Kati Patang ”

1970 : ” The Train ”

1970 : ” Sachcha Jhootha ”

[ 5 super hits in 1970 ]

1971 : ” Anand ”

1971 : ” Haathi Mere Saathi

1971 : ” Dushman ”

1971 : ” Mehboob Ki Mehndi

[ 4 super hits in 1971 ]

1972 : ” Amar Prem ”

1972 : ” Apna Desh ”

[ 2 super hits in 1972 ]

Within 3 years of making his debut , he attained unimaginable , unheard of and unprecedented super stardom in 1969 with ” Aradhana “ and gave 15 consecutive super hits till 1972 , a record still unbroken . ” Daag ” [ 1973 ] and  ” Namak Haraam ” [ 1973 ] were also big hits . But 1973 was a watershed moment in his career . He was eclipsed by Amitabh Bachchan in ” Namak Haraam “ . Amitabh Bachchan’s career defining film ” Zanjeer “ also came in 1973 . And thus began the well – known downward slide of mighty Super Star Rajesh Khanna .

Alarmed by his waning popularity , he married much younger Dimple Kapadia and made headlines temporarily.

Though in 1974 he gave 2 super hits like ;Aap Ki Kasamand ” Roti “ but the slide was visible and evident . The era now clearly belonged to Amitabh Bachchan , who once played second fiddle to him in super hit , iconic cult films like ; ” Anand ” and ” Namak Haraam ” .

Poster of Anand

Poster of Anand

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of Namak Haraam

Poster of these two films can give you Amitabh Bachchan’s position in the industry in those days vis-a-vis Rajesh Khanna . But alas , the cruel hands of fate had started writing some unknown and inglorious chapters of his life with indelible ink .

In 1975 Amitabh Bachchan gave ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay ” . Rajesh Khanna’s mentor and lucky mascot Shakti Samanta made ” Mehbooba ” [ 1975 ] . ” Deewar ” and ” Sholay “ were super hits and became ageless cult classics . While ” Mehbooba “ was a resounding flop and sealed Rajesh Khanna’s fate finally. After 8 years gap and some insignificant films in between , in 1983 , he again came with 2 mega hits like ; ” Avatar ” and ” Soutan “ but the magic was missing . Even these massive hits could not salvage his lost position in the industry . His turbulent career affected his personal life also . In 1984 came the tragic separation from Dimple Kapadia .

From 1983 [ his last hits ] to 2012 [ his death ] ,  29 years of his eventless , colourless career and lonely personal life proved fatal for him . It is regrettable and cruel irony that a c-grade movie ” Wafaa ” [ 2010 ] is his last film .

In between he dabbled in TV also . In total he worked in 4 TV serials . ” Apne Paraye [ B4U TV – 2001 ] , ” Ittefaq ” [ Zee TV – 2002 ] , ” Bhabhima ” [ 2008 ] andRaghukul Reet Sada Chali Aayi ” [ DD 1 – 2008 ] . But none could touch the popularity of Amitabh Bachchan’s ” Kaun Banega Crorepati ” [ Star Plus – 2000] .

It is a well-known secret that the title superstar was coined for him by his publicists ; Devyani Chaubal and K. Razdan . But the mass hysteria which he generated in those days and that too without the help of internet , twitter and facebook , is unimaginable , unfathomable and still unattainable . It is regrettable that his stardom or superstardom lasted just for 4 years . 15 successive super hits in a row and then 7 consecutive super flops in a row defines Rajesh Khanna’s strange film career . Compare his 4 year tenure with other stars :

DEV ANAND : 65 Years [ 1946 Hum Ek Hain – 2011 Chargesheet ]

ASHOK KUMAR : 61 Years [ 1936 Jeevan Naiya – 1997 Aankhon Me Tum Ho ]

DILIP KUMAR : 54 Years [ 1944 Jwar Bhata – 1998 Qila ]

AMITABH BACHCHAN : 40 Years [ 1973 Zanjeer – 2012 Bol Bachchan ]

Stars of this generation SHAH RUKH KHAN , SALMAN KHAN and AAMIR KHAN are reigning kings even after almost 20 years . HRITIK ROSHAN has 12 years of stardom behind him . Even DARA SINGH survived for 45 years [ 1962 King Kong – 2007 Jab We Met ] . But alas ! Rajesh Khanna vanished from the stardom and was banished from the film industry just after 4 years . Though he did 165 films and played solo lead in 107 films but was forgotten by the masses and ignored by the friends and the same film industry , which once said , ” Upar aaqa ; neeche Kaka .”

It is sad . It is heart – wrenching . People say many things about him . I , myself know many stories about him , which are said to be the cause of his downfall . But I don’t want to write those stories after his death . After all he was human and to err is human . Just re – think about some facts of his life . He debuted when he was 24 . He attained superstardom when he was 27 and lost his empire when he was just 31 . After that , till his death , it was 38 year – long wait for regaining his lost empire . It was 38 year – long wait for The Knock at his door by any producer or director . It was 38 year – long wait for the crowd to assemble again at his doorstep . It was 38 year – long wait for the same mass – hysteria , same mass adulation which was once his right and he thought it was his birth right  .

Mass hysteria , mass adulation did happen again but alas , it happened only after his death . See these pictures of his funeral procession and then watch the  crowd in front of his bungalow Aashirwaad and you will be able to feel the irony of fate . I wish , this attention should have happened a year before ……….. or a week before ……… or even a day before ………… he would have died a happy and contented man . But strange are the ways of destiny.

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Funeral Procession

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

Crowd at Aashirvad on July 22

I agree , he did make some mistakes . He did err like a human and for that mistake , for that error destiny punished him with all its might , with all its ferocity , with all its lethal cruelty . He , for his mistakes , never got same benevolence by destiny , which others easily got for their sins . Fate was condescending to others , not to him .

He was like quintessential Greek tragic hero . You can only feel sorry for him . You can empathise with him . And you could hum his memorable song …. zindagi kaisi hai paheli , hai ; kabhi ye hasaye , kabhi ye rulaye ……. Ek din sapno ka rahi , chala jaye sapno se aage kahan ………..

Phenomenon , known as Rajesh Khanna , regained some of his glory once again but alas , only after his death . He had gone forever and had gone even beyond his dreams .

As I finish my blog , I feel , I must express my admiration and gratitude to his son in  law Akshay Kumar and his long – time friend Anju Mahendru , who took every care to give him comfort during his last days . Though it seems futile , but still , it was because of them that a befitting funeral could be arranged for this forgotten phenomenon , fallen Super Star and a lonely icon , who once ruled supreme . Thank you Mr. Akshay Kumar , thank you Madam Anju Mahendru , I bow my head in gratitude ! May God bless you two !

My heart also goes for Rinke Khanna , my student , who was very close and was very much attached to her father .

If I could feel so much without being his fan or admirer , then you can imagine the pain and pathos of his fans and near and dear ones .

Rest In Peace Sir ! Destiny was cruel to you . Better luck in next life .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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