Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Amitabh Bachan Phenomenon

The 'Angry young man' of the Hindi Cinema, The Shahenshah of Bollywood, The Uncrowned King of the Indian Film Industry, or quite simply, The Big 'B'. Amitabh Bachan is a phenomenon by himself. The actor, who won a 'star' status from his first hit, "Zanjeer", reigned over the film industry for over two and a half decades, and is still shining. In fact, shining brighter than the newest stars in the Galaxy called 'Bollywood'. But getting to this undisputed status was certainly not a cake-walk, for this simpleton from U.P. Born on 11th October 1942, in Allahabad, Amitabh Bachan is the first of the two sons, a perfect blend of the intellect and strength. Of the east and the west. His father, Harivansh Rai Bachan, was an acclaimed peot and a writer, who came from a very eastern background and his mother, Teji, was from Karachi, a Sikh. After his schooling at Sherwood College, in Nainital, he moved to Delhi University to pursue his degree in Arts. Amitabh Bachan had to face rejections right after his graduation, from getting himself a worthwhile job, because of his introvert and shy nature. And finally, he left for Kolkata, where he secured the job of an executive, in a shipping firm . But, after a few years in Calcutta, he realised that, all along, he had an immense interest in movies. Still very shy to make any effort, and after much contemplation and fighting within his mind whether or not to take the plunge, he finally chucked his job and landed himself in the 'Tinsel Town', and what followed that, is not the history of any individual, but that which changed the history of Bollywood itself. However, Amitabh Bachan had to taste his own share of failures in the form of flops and barely noticed films at the outset of his career, such as 'Saat Hindustani', 'Saudagar'etc., before exploding as the 'Angry young Man' in 'Zanjeer', which not only brought success to the Star, but changed the face of Bollywood for the next two decades. It was the beginning of the 'Amitabh Bachan Era'. He became the 'known by all' formula for hit movies, and movies with Amitabh Bachan, were none but hits. His charm, his charisma, not only tantalised the Indian audience, but Bollywood got notice and recognition even in the international arena, just because of the Big B. He became the 'un-appointed' Ambassador of Bollywood. He is inarguably, the most recognized faces in India and one of the most, across the globe. This became evident when he was estabilished as the star of the millennium, by a BBC poll, where the public placed him ahead of every other charismatic icon of the globe, past or present. Amitabh Bachan has appeared in over 130 films, many of them, particularly those from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, were huge hits. Every hit, bringing him closer to the masses. Because he portrayed the Man from every walk of life. The honest and the bold Police officer, the shy Lover, the angry and disappointed Youth, the Mine worker, the Singer, the Porter, the Waiter, the freedom fighter, the Politician fighting against corruption, and the list is endless. He was the people's own representative. Their Messiah. This became evident after his legendary accident during the filming of the movie, "Coolie". He had almost bid farewell to the mortal world, if not for the wishes and prayers of the millions of those masses. Many, who actually went through physical penance, for the recovery of their Hero. It was as if their life had come to a standstill, till he emerged, out of his Coma. He had gone into hibernation from films for a few years when he ventured into politics, to lend support to his friend, Rajiv Gandhi. Amitabh Bachan fought and won the election for the Parliament from his hometown, Allahabad in 1984, but within a short span of time he had to 'call it quits', due to some bitter experiences. After this, the legend sported a beard, flaunted his grey hair and floated his company ABCL. Not finding much success in that and on the contrary, incurring huge losses, he finally returned to the silver-screen. During this period, he did his best in some not so successful films, but his mighty comeback was with the Indian version of the hit BBC show, "Millionaire", "Kaun Banega Crorepati" in Star Plus. This show not just proved the veteran's skills of being a unique and fabulous host, but also brought him back to the hearts of his people. This time, even coser. To their living room. The Big B was back with a Big Bang. Many such shows followed in the rival channels, but none could even get close to the show of the King. KBC had become a part of people's lifestyle.Their routine for four days a week. Where else would they get more time with to spend time with the star and if persistent, some even got to be at the show sitting face to face, with 'their' Amitabh, in flesh and blood. Amitabh Bachan's professionalism is still treated as the benchmark for many in the industry. Overwhelmed by the star's professionalism, an Indian battery manufacturer, the brand that the actor had endorsed, is making plans to gift the Mega star with a Mega Birthday Card, on his 62nd Birthday. The card will be 2 km long and will have 2000 scrolls to it. And, it will be signed by 6 lakh retailers of that brand across India. The impact, this thespian has created, on people's minds, is beyond description. I still remember my childhood, when my mom used to comb my hair and when i used to make a fuss of that hairstyle, she would convince me by saying, "Beta, this is Amitabh Bachan's hairstyle." My mom never had a problem combing my hair after that. Such is the impression he leaves on us. It is not only immense, but eternal.

Amitabh Bachchan went through a very bad phase both financially and popularity wise after his movies started flopping in a row. 1999 was a very bad year for him, Lal Badshah, Hindustan Ki Kasam and Kohram all flopped. His company had undergone heavy losses, especially after the Miss world pageant - held in Bangalore. His bungalow was threatened - it was to be auctioned by the bank to recover dues. His friends stepped in and with the signing of Kaun Banega Crorepati for Star his fortune turned. His empathy with the audience and grace and style with which he conducted the show, declared him as a winner in the race against time. At this time he was signed by Yash Chopra for Mohabattein - this movie did very well and Amitabh won an award for best actor in a supporting role. His Ek Rishta too fared well. There was no stopping Amitabh now, he climbed new heights as the mature actor, sporting gray hair and comfortable in all the roles he played He had a spate of releases in all the roles he won acclaim - Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam was released in2001, followed by Baghban in 2003, Khakhee in 2004, Dev in 2004, Black in 2005, Bunty aur Babli in 2005, Sarkar in 2005 and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna in 2006. He won awards in most of his movies.

No comments:

Post a Comment