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Amitabh Bachchan: 75 and ‘not out’ of filmdom

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New Delhi, Oct 10 : Age is just a number for Amitabh Bachchan, who turns 75 on Wednesday. His work diary is already spilling into 2019, but he remains firmly “not out”, continuing a glorious journey that has lasted over four decades.

In an industry where roles are seldom written for veteran actors, Bachchan is experimenting with looks, characters and themes with an enthusiasm and passion of a newcomer.

“When he comes on the set, he is always in character. I never feel like I’m directing Mr Amitabh Bachchan. I feel I am directing the character,” Umesh Shukla, who is working with the “living legend” in “102 Not Out”, told IANS.

“When he steps out of his vanity van, he comes out in the type of mood that is required for a scene and makes the atmosphere like that. It’s fun to work with him,” added Shukla, who has cast veteran actor Rishi Kapoor as a 75-year-old and Bachchan as his 102-year-old father in the movie.

Another challenging role that Bachchan has taken up is in “Thugs of Hindostan”, which will see him in an armoured look with a heavy beard. His co-star Aamir Khan, who will be sharing screen space with Bachchan for the first time, has been a long-time admirer.

“His aura, action, every nuance of his acting was such a fulfilling experience in cinema,” Aamir said of watching Big B’s films in theatres in his younger days.

But as he rings in his milestone birthday, Bachchan wants no celebrations.

He is off to the Maldives for a vacation with wife Jaya, son Abhishek, daughter Shweta, daughter-in-law Aishwarya and granddaughter Aaradhya. And he will be back to work soon.

“A small and peaceful family time is more than enough for me,” Big B had once said.

Film historian S.M.M. Ausaja, whose forthcoming book “The Bachchans” retraces the journey of what he calls the “premier family of Bollywood”, said Bachchan’s “extraordinary” success is a “spectacular example of talent and luck”.

“If you’re very talented and low on luck, you’re Naseeruddin Shah. Or if you’re low on talent and high on luck, you’re Jeetendra. In Mr Bachchan’s case, it has been the right mix. He was unconventional in looks and amidst a string of actors for whom it was the romance genre all the way, he was like a whiff of fresh air. His mannerisms and style were his own,” Ausaja told IANS.

Having started with a role as one of the seven protagonists in “Saat Hindustani”, Bachchan next featured in the Rajesh Khanna-starrer “Anand” and did a few more films. But it wasn’t until the 1973 movie “Zanjeer” that he came into his own.

“There was no stopping him then,” Ausaja said, pointing to some of his “sensitive films” like “Ek Nazar”, “Mili” and “Abhimaan”, as well as hits like “Deewaar”, “Sholay”, “Mard”, Naseeb”, “Namak Haraam”, “Kabhie Kabhie”, “Don”, “Hum” and “Shahenshah”.

In 1978, he was at the top of his game with movies like “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”, “Trishul”, “Don”, “Kasme Vaade”, “Ganga Ki Saugandh” and “Besharam” doing well.

A near-fatal injury on the sets of “Coolie” in 1982 led him to take a break from films and he ventured into politics from his native Allahabad. He contested the Lok Sabha election on the Congress ticket in 1984, but didn’t continue his political journey for long.

He found himself named in the infamous Bofors scandal, but was cleared of the allegations 25 years later and remains apolitical even though he associates himself with issue-related social campaigns for the government once in a while.

Until 1988, when “Shahenshah” was released, Bachchan — son of legendary poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan — was in top form.

“Post-‘Shahenshah’, his fall began when directors started presenting him as larger-than-life characters in films like ‘Toofan’ and ‘Jaadugar’. He endured a lot of flops and other problems until the start of the millennium when he came up with the television show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ in 2000. In fact, Mr Bachchan was named ‘Star of the Millennium’ at the worst phase of his career.

“But then, after ‘KBC’, his meteoric rise began and he started playing his age on screen and reinvented himself with every project — be it ‘Sarkar’, ‘Baghban’, ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, ‘Paa’, ‘Black’… His popularity is a binding factor for the country,” Ausaja said.

For someone who was considered too thin and too tall to fit in the Hindi film industry, Bachchan’s run in showbiz — to many — is what dreams are made of.

He failed when he launched Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Ltd in the 1990s, but his acting acumen has taken him places.

Bachchan has earned epithets like “Angry Young Man” and “Shahenshah”, and has won the love of fans who throng the gates of his house in Mumbai every Sunday to meet him.

Shukla said Bachchan must be still working 14 to 15 hours a day. “It’s commendable at his age. He is always on his toes and I have never seen him tired…”

“Sometimes we have to tell him to take it easy. He says, ‘No, I’ll do it’. That’s his spirit,” Shukla said.(IANS)

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Harivansh Rai Bachchan: An Unforgettable Name

"Mitti ka tan, masti ka man, kshan-bhar jivan– mera parichay"

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Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a Padhma Bhushan awardee for his contribution in Hindi Literature. Pexels
Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a Padhma Bhushan awardee for his contribution in Hindi Literature. Pexels

Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a poet. That’s what most of us know other than the fact that he was the father of Amitabh Bachchan. However, he was more than that.

He was born in Allahabad, British India on 27 November 1907 to a Kayastha family. Being the second Indian to get his doctorate in English literature from Cambridge, he had also served in All India Radio. After which he was working in the External Affairs Minister, during these ten years, he was majorly associated with the evolution of Hindi as the official language. In 1966, he was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Bachchan is still known as a person who enriched Hindi through his translations of major works. Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, Shakespeare’s Machbeth and Othello and even the Bhagvad Gita.

Honored with Padma Bhushan for his lasting contribution to Hindi literature, with Saraswati Samman for his four volume autobiography, the Sovietland Nehru Award and the Lotus Aware for his unique work in the world of letters, his most famous poem is one his early works ‘Madhushala’. He was famous as a rebellious poet of Nayi Kavita literary movement.

He was famous as a rebellious poet of Nayi Kavita literary movement. Pixels
He was famous as a rebellious poet of Nayi Kavita literary movement. Pixels

Poems by Harivansh Rai Bachchan

1. Madhushala

“मृदु भावों के अंगूरों की आज बना लाया हाला,
प्रियतम, अपने ही हाथों से आज पिलाऊँगा प्याला,
पहले भोग लगा लूँ तेरा फिर प्रसाद जग पाएगा,
सबसे पहले तेरा स्वागत करती मेरी मधुशाला।।१।”

2. Agnipath

“तू न थकेगा कभी,
तू न रुकेगा कभी,
तू न मुड़ेगा कभी,
कर शपथ, कर शपथ, कर शपथ,
अग्निपथ अग्निपथ अग्निपथ।”

3. Ruke Na Tu

“धनुष उठा, प्रहार कर
तू सबसे पहला वार कर
अग्नि सी धधक–धधक
हिरन सी सजग सजग
सिंह सी दहाड़ कर
शंख सी पुकार कर

रुके न तू, थके न तू
झुके न तू, थमे न तू”

He used to introduce himself by saying- Mitti ka tan, masti ka man, kshan-bhar jivan– mera parichay. Pixabay
He used to introduce himself by saying- Mitti ka tan, masti ka man, kshan-bhar jivan– mera parichay. Pixabay

4. Poorv Chalne Ke Batohi

“पुस्तकों में है नहीं छापी गई इसकी कहानी,
हाल इसका ज्ञात होता है न औरों की ज़बानी,
अनगिनत राही गए इस राह से, उनका पता क्या,
पर गए कुछ लोग इस पर छोड़ पैरों की निशानी,
यह निशानी मूक होकर भी बहुत कुछ बोलती है,
खोल इसका अर्थ, पंथी, पंथ का अनुमान कर ले।
पूर्व चलने के बटोही, बाट की पहचान कर ले।”

5. Kya Karu Samvedna Lekar Tumhari

“मैं दुखी जब-जब हुआ
संवेदना तुमने दिखाई,
मैं कृतज्ञ हुआ हमेशा,
रीति दोनो ने निभाई,
किन्तु इस आभार का अब
हो उठा है बोझ भारी;
क्या करूँ संवेदना लेकर तुम्हारी?
क्या करूँ?”

6. Koshish Karne Waalon Ki Har Nahi Hoti

“लहरों से डर कर नौका पार नहीं होती
हिम्मत करने वालों की हार नहीं होती

नन्ही चींटी जब दाना लेकर चलती है
चढ़ती दीवारों पर सौ बार फिसलती है
मन का विश्वास रगों में साहस भरता है
चढ़ कर गिरना, गिर कर चढ़ना न अखरता है
आखिर उसकी मेहनत बेकार नहीं होती
कोशिश करने वालों की हार नहीं होती”

7. Vishwa Sara So Raha Hai

“हैं विचरते स्वप्न सुंदर,
किंतु इनका संग तजकर,
व्योम–व्यापी शून्यता का कौन साथी हो रहा है?
विश्व सारा सो रहा है!

भूमि पर सर सरित् निर्झर,
किंतु इनसे दूर जाकर,
कौन अपने घाव अंबर की नदी में धो रहा है?
विश्व सारा सो रहा है!”

His pen was a mighty one in the world of Hindi Literature. Pixabay
His pen was a mighty one in the world of Hindi Literature. Pixabay

8. Teer Par Kaise Ruku

तीर पर कैसे रुकूँ मैं, आज लहरों में निमंत्रण!
रात का अंतिम प्रहर है, झिलमिलाते हैं सितारे,
वक्ष पर युग बाहु बाँधे, मैं खड़ा सागर किनारे
वेग से बहता प्रभंजन, केश-पट मेरे उड़ाता,
शून्य में भरता उदधि-उर की रहस्यमयी पुकारें,

इन पुकारों की प्रतिध्वनि, हो रही मेरे हृदय में,

है प्रतिच्छायित जहाँ पर, सिंधु का हिल्लोल – कंपन!
तीर पर कैसे रुकूँ मैं,आज लहरों में निमंत्रण!

9. Dekho Toot Raha Hai Tara

“नभ के सीमाहीन पटल पर
एक चमकती रेखा चलकर
लुप्त शून्य में होती-बुझता एक निशा का दीप दुलारा।
देखो, टूट रहा है तारा।”

10. Mujhe Pukar Lo

“इसीलिए खड़ा रहा कि तुम मुझे पुकार लो!

ज़मीन है न बोलती न आसमान बोलता,
जहान देखकर मुझे नहीं जबान खोलता,
नहीं जगह कहीं जहाँ न अजनबी गिना गया,
कहाँ-कहाँ न फिर चुका दिमाग-दिल टटोलता,
कहाँ मनुष्य है कि जो उमीद छोड़कर जिया,
इसीलिए खड़ा रहा कि तुम मुझे पुकार लो”