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Give Amitabh a break
Subhash K. Jha,Oct 18  [ Tue, Oct 18, 2005 ]
Give Amitabh a break
Amitabh Bachchan

  • To this day, Amitabh Bachchan's fans go berserk, crowding around his two bungalows - Prateeksha and Jalsa - hoping to catch a glimpse of the man of the house.

    Even after years in the limelight, Bachchan is incredibly diffident about mob adulation. Sure, he has learnt to deal with it. But he isn't comfortable with it.

    He respects his fans' sentiments. But I often wonder if they respect his need to be given the space that he so desperately needs.

    Just before his birthday gone by last week, I asked him what gift he'd like. He thought about it for a while and then said: "Basically I just want to be alive. I'd want health and happiness for my family and myself...and the opportunity to do good work.

    "I've had a very fortunate year. (There was) the silver jubilee of 'Waqt' - not too many films reach that stage of success. This year there's been 'Sarkar', 'Black', 'Waqt' and 'Bunty Aur Babli'. They've all been different, and have given me an opportunity to play something different."

    This amazingly motivated man seems to function so effectively in a smothering schedule! What I'd like to have gifted him is the right to remain silent on his birthday. Away from the frightening rituals of adulation, defences down and energies put on hold for that one day away from the obligations of being a celebrity.

    I'd have liked to gift Bachchan an Oscar nomination for "Black". I'd like to gift him with every recognition in the world for his performance in "Black". I truly think what he achieved within that performance surpasses all definitions of filmed flamboyance.

    This is a performance that out-races all concepts of high-pitched histrionics. I rate it as the single-most accomplished male performance in Hindi cinema, comparable and arguably better than Balraj Sahni in "Garam Hawa" and Dilip Kumar in "Devdas".

    To hear that "Black" couldn't make it to the Oscars came as a blow to all of us who think of the film as a benchmark in Hindi cinema. It isn't as though other films were not deserving. There was urban reality ("Page 3") and turban reality("Paheli").

    Our reality was more deserving. That's how all us "Black"-o-philes felt.