Monday February 26, 2018
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Fan interest is essential for an actor: Amitabh Bachchan

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New Delhi: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan or Big B, who at 73, attracts fans in profusion wherever he goes, said that they are an “essential” part of an actor’s career. A thrill of fans still gathers outside the gate of his Mumbai bungalow pratiksha every Sunday morning. He has the maximum followers on Twitter for an Indian and has a burgeoning “extended family” of those who read his blog.

The actor, who has spent over four decades in the film industry, often shares instances of how his fans end up getting either amused or startled if he’s travelling in the same airplane as them; or of the exhilaration that they experience upon clicking selfies with him; and more.

But Amitabh, a globally popular face from Bollywood and one who has admirers across the world, brushes it off as just a result of ‘celebrity’ status.

“I think this would happen to anyone that has claims to being a celebrity. There is nothing wrong in it or objectionable. Fan interest is essential for an actor. They make us who we are. Giving them attention or getting it from them is justifiable,” Amitabh said.

That has been an ongoing phenomenon throughout his career.

It’s interesting how the actor has been experimenting with his driving skills — whether it’s riding a bicycle for “Piku”, a scooter for “Te3n” or even a ‘tuk-tuk’ for leisure. But he says the best drive for him has been his 45-year-long journey in showbiz.

Asked to share his best driving memory, the three-time National Award winner, said: “Driving memories? 45 years in the film industry have been a wonderful drive!”

And why not? Best known for his roles in films like “Anand”, “Agneepath”, “Namak Haraam”, “Don”, “Hum”, “Zanjeer”, “Black” and “Paa” to name a few, Amitabh has regaled Hindi film buffs as much with his ‘angry young man’ avatar as in romantic avatars; as much as in intensely dramatic roles, as those with a comical streak.

From essaying a 12-year-old boy Auro in “Paa”; a friendly ghost in “Bhoothnath Returns”; a failed actor and drunkard in “Shamitabh”; and a grumpy father in “Piku” – these are a few of his recent portrayals on the silver screen that have been a window to Amitabh’s talent, which has not faded, but only enhanced with age.

“At my age, this is the best that can come my way and one should be thankful and grateful that there is work available at this time of my career,” said the son of late poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan.

The experience of facing the camera, he says, has not changed.

“Every day is an experience for me. Filmmaking has only one gospel – the sound of ‘Start sound’, ‘camera’, ‘clap’, ‘action’… And you better get it right after hearing those words,” he said.

Adding more versatility to his filmography comes “Wazir”, which features Amitabh as a paralysed chess grandmaster, confined to a wheelchair.

He said the wheelchair made matters “a lot easier”.

“I did not have to worry where to keep my hands… Hehe.. But seriously, though it was great to be able to portray a character I had never done before,” said Amitabh, who said the preparations for the role weren’t too many.

It’s a project that Amitabh readily said “yes” to, especially since it was an idea that filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra — whom he describes as an “astute producer” — had narrated to him around 15 years ago and he had liked it.

Now that the film is ready to hit theatres on Friday, Amitabh describes it as a “smart and modern film, unique in its structure and presentation.”

“And, yes, this one has been made most sensitively as well. It’s intelligent and swift-paced,” added the actor, who has also sung a track titled “Atrangi yaari” along with co-star Farhan Akhtar for the Bejoy Nambiar directorial.

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India Stunned By The Death Of Veteran Actress Sridevi

The actress breathed her last on Saturday night at around 11 p.m

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Sridevi
Sridevi is remembered for her performance is some of the iconic Bollywood films like "Mr. India", "Nagina", "Sadma", "ChalBaaz", "Chandni", "Khuda Gawah", among many others in different Indian languages. Wikimedia Commons

Veteran actress Sridevi, 54, passed away in Dubai, plunging the entire country into a pall of gloom as her fans and admirers expressed shock and disbelief.

The actress breathed her last on Saturday night at around 11 p.m. She was rushed to the nearby Rashid Hospital but pronounced dead on admission.

Her body is expected to be flown to Mumbai via a specially chartered flight on Sunday evening for the last rites but the timings were not confirmed yet, according to official sources.

Sridevi was in Dubai to attend the marriage function of actress Sonam Kapoor’s cousin Mohit Marwah, along with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi.

Sridevi
Sridevi exuded elegance in her appearances — photos and videos that were now being shared on social media as her “last”. Wikimedia Commons

ALSO READ: Walking the ramp is always special: Sridevi 

Confirming the news of her death, Sridevi’s brother-in-law and actor Sanjay Kapoor, told IANS: “Yes, it is true.”

The Indian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Indian Consulate in Dubai were assisting the family to expedite the process to bring her body to India as soon as possible.

Sridevi
The Padma Shri recipient, who made a comeback to Bollywood in 2012 with “English Vinglish” after a long break of 15 years, was last seen in “Mom” in 2017. Wikimedia Commons

Apparently having a premonition, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi’s co-star in half a dozen films, including “Khuda Gawah” had tweeted at 1.15 am on Sunday:

The untimely death of the veteran actress has left the country shocked. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned her demise.

Modi also took to Twitter, saying:

Southern movie stars and politicians Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan also expressed disbelief.

Sridevi
Sridevi first appeared on the silver screen as a child artist when she was only four years of age. M.A. Thirumugham’s Thunaivan (1969) was her debut film as a performer. Wikimedia Commons

Kamal Haasan, her co-star from “Sadma” — one of her most evocative performances — tweeted:

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who has sung for Sridevi in 20 films including “Chaand Kaa Tukdaa”, “Khuda Gawah”, “Lamhe”, “Chandni”, “Nazrana” and “Himmatwala”, had no words to express her shock.

ALSO READ: Sridevi and Jhanvi Kapoor may share Screen in Mr. India 2

Her “Mom” co-star Nawazuddin Siddiqui wrote: “It’s a heartbreaking news, can’t even imagine in the worst of my dreams – World losses the best performer.”

Superstar Aamir Khan was “saddened by the untimely and tragic passing away of Srideviji”. He said he has “always been an admirer of the grace and dignity with which she conducted herself”.

Sridevi
Sridevi’s real name was Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan. For her screen life, she had adapted the name Sridevi. Wikimedia Commons

While veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was “jolted” by the news of her sudden death, Sunny Deol, who has worked with her in films like “Sultanat”, “ChaalBaaz” and “Ram-Avtar”, said he is “going to miss her”.

Showbiz queen Ekta Kapoor tweeted: “The strongest women have the weakest hearts sometimes.”

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said, “with Sridevi gone an era is over”.

“Like life turning a new chapter. A beautiful story just ended. An amazing spirit just vanished leaving us with amazing love, memories, and incredible grief,” he tweeted. (IANS)