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HT City: The Indefatigable Bachchan

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Friday, October 14, 2022
Sonal Kalra , Chief Managing Editor
Lifestyle & Entertainment, Hindustan Times.
FB: @sonalkalra Twitter: @sonalkalra
Insta: @kalra.sonal

The Indefatigable Bachchan

The year was 1969 when a lanky-looking theatre actor with just a repertoire of local productions appeared on the big screen and gave his debut cinematic performance in KA Abbas’ Saat Hindustani. It’s hard to say whether Amitabh Bachchan the Bollywood star was established the same year, but soon after in 1971, Bachchan gave an award-winning performance in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand. Despite being the second lead to the reigning megastar of the time, Rajesh Khanna, the phenomenon called Bachchan had firmly and without any doubt established itself in the Hindi film industry. This week, Big B turned 80 and everyone who has known him, seen him, heard him or heard of him has marvelled at his journey in showbiz. 80 revolutions around the sun. 53 in the film industry. And Bachchan is as relevant today as he was at the beginning of his career. Commercial hits aplenty, his body of work also ranged from arthouse films like Rituparno Ghosh’s The Last Lear (2007) and R Balki’s Shamitabh (2015), low-budget films like Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo (2020) and Sujoy Ghosh’s Badla (2019), and overseas productions like Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (2013), alluding to the fact that for Big B, the script is what matters. And 80 is just the beginning; ahead of his birthday, too, he gave his fans a present in the form of Goodbye, a slice-of-life emotional rollercoaster.

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Part of Bachchan’s charm lies in his perseverance. He simply refuses to quit. Remember the debt-ridden failure that his production company ABCL was? Despite that, he marched ahead and entered our homes in a whole new avatar with the quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati in 2007. Bachchan was a staple, consumed en masse with family dinners. He would interact with the audience, crack a conversation with the contestants and sometimes, breaking character of the show, even smile. Many see the shift from celluloid to the small screen as a suicide mission, but to him the medium did not matter. Ads, voiceovers...you name it, he did it, and continues to. He has the same warmth with youngsters as he has with his contemporaries. So much so that the new generation of actors that has worked with him all claim to have taken back lessons in the craft from Bachchan. His zeal to learn, be it moulding himself in shades of grey characters or his social media savviness, is infectious. For his fans and followers on Twitter, his bite-sized, numbered tweets are a peek into his persona. One running popular legend is when he mistakenly numbers the tweets and immediately tweets a fresh tweet acknowledging and rectifying the mistake. Even when many make fun of him, it is like water off a duck’s back for him. Celebrities have been seen quitting Twitter in the face of trolls, and here trolls give up in the face of Bachchan. Times and trials give up in the face of Bachchan. Almost as if his father, the late poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s words were written for him: Tu na thakega kabhi, tu na rukega kabhi, tu na mudhega kabhi... kar shapath kar shapath kar shapath. Agneepath.

Via tenor

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Here’s what gets Sargun Mehta grooving.

  1. I usually prefer listening to Punjabi song. The only Hindi song that I like is Kesariya

  2. Koka from my latest movie Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne is also something I have been listening to on loop

  3. Lemonade as I enjoy every Diljit Dosanjh song

  4. Peaches by Diljit Dosanjh

  5. Nach Punjaban was also good

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Edited and curated by Etti Bali etti.bali@partner.hindustantimes.com . Produced by Samiksha Khanna samiksha.khanna@partner.htdigital.in . Till next week. Keep the raves and rants coming in at htcity@hindustantimes.com

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