Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The megastar of the Millenium - Amitabh Bacchan

Amitabh Bacchan – The megastar of the millennium

If any personality in Indian silver screen had single-handedly determined the fate of the big productions in the 70s and 80s it is Amitabh Bacchan. He created a larger than man image in the 70s which addressed the grievances of numerous Indians against the corruption existing in the Indian society. He gave a new meaning to action films where the message against the evils existing in the society reached each and every film lover in India and abroad.

Born in 1942, he made his debue in the film Satwa Hindustani in 1969. His initial films included Anand and Namak Haram directed by Rishikesh Mukherjee, and small roles in films like Reshma Aur Shera. But he showed his angry young man image in the film Zanjeer, 1973, where acting as a police officer he addressed the corruption existing at that time.

From Deewar, 1975, Amitabh Bacchan became the uncrowned monarch of Indian silver screen. He portrayed the character of Haji Mastan and showed the country that evils of the underworld can be prevented only by taking revenge by another person who comes from a respectable family and becomes a victim of oppression of the members of the underworld. The film directed by Yash Chopra also exploited very catchy script written by Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. Big B died at the end of the film after Shashi Kapoor, the police officer (his brother) had shot him when he refused to surrender. The action scene in the godown in the film had been watched by film lovers numerous times and even respectable people started admiring action films.

In Sholay, 1975, the greatest hit of the last millennium, Big B along with Dharmender helped the Thakur of the village played by Sanjeev Kumar to face the dacoit operating with the Chambal region. Although it was based in real life incidents taking place at that time when the dacoits grew in strength and the police and administration failed to arrest them in the mid-70s. not only had Big B showed his action skills, but his baritone voice was exploited for serio-comic performance in the film as well. He balanced the villainous performance of Amzad Khan and strong performance of Sanjeev Kumar with his personality. During that age he also acted in the role of poet in the film Kabhi Kabhi, 1975 and comic role in Chupke Chupke, 1975 along with Dharmender.

His acting capabilities encouraged producers and directors in the late 70s to make films based on all the elements of entertainment that can be expected by film lovers including dance sequences, comedy, action, etc. On one side he acted in realistic films like Abhimaan, Milli, Alaap, etc. opposite Jaya Bacchan, Rekha and other actresses. In the action films Parveen Bhabhi accompanied him the most. In Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977, he showed his impulse on comedy roles alongside the serious performance of Vinod Khanna and musical performance of Rishi Kapoor. Producers and directors were encouraged to make multi-starrer films where Big B was accompanied by Vinod Khanna, Shatrughun Sinha, Shashi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, etc.

Shaan, released in 1980, is a an example of multi-starrer film, where Ramesh Sippy had showed exotic locations, good action sequences and provided entertainment to the film lovers. Big B was well supported by fine acting of Shatrughun Sinha. Besides there are films which were dependant on Big B along and became super hits by his own calibre like Don, 1978, Kalia, etc. In the early 80s, he faced the strong personality of Dilip Kumar in the film Shakti, 1982, his father who was a committed police officer and he acted in the role of a smuggler and confronted at every part of the film with this father’s notion of law-bearer. People enjoyed his loud style of dialogue delivery with Dilip Kumar’s soft style of dialogue delivery. Rakhee’s performance in the role of his mother was well appreciated by film lovers across the world.

In the mid-80s, Big B became an institution of acting by himself and films where he played double roles were admired by the viewers as well. In Akhree Rasta, 1986, his performance in the role of father who got out of prison and took revenge against the perpetrators of crime who wrongly convicted him for a crime which he did not commit had shown the audience that he had matured to act in character roles as well. No actor in Indian celluloid could show anger for the rightful cause with the sharpness that Big B had shown. He had also sung with his own voice in few films including Silsila, 1983.

These days with his son acting in numerous films, and he is seen in many character roles the new generation looks at Big B with the impression of a character artist. But the new generation should watch his films of 70s, 80s to understand the growth of action films and departure of the film making from the way it was done at that time. For reference Big B had lend his beautiful voice in Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ki Khiladi, 1977. It is difficult to highlight his performance in more than 150 films in a career spreading over 35 years, but his films should be restored to show the beginning of transformation of Indian cinema with the advent of modern techniques and birth of action films.

1 comment:

A S MURTY said...

Amitabh Bachhan dethroned Rajesh Khanna, the first SUPERSTAR with Zanjeer. He also acted with the former in Anand and Namak Haraam and in both scored over the then reigning monarch of bollywood. His first film was SAAT HINDUSTANI and not SATWA HINDUSTANI, I think. One of his lesser known movies but a very musical one is SAUDAGAR. Good compilation of the article though. I have however not seen enough of his movies to comment on them. But he is a real actor who has a very good voice and acting abilities which not many good heroes of yesteryears had. No comparison with Rajesh Khanna though in mannerisms to woo the ladies. Rajesh Khanna was much sought after by the females when he ruled the roost than the Big B.