Amitabh turns composer for 'Baabul'

Nov 17, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Nov 17 (IANS) Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan is humming a new tune in his ready-to-release "Baabul" and says it is a tune from his past that kept playing in his mind. Unfortunately, however, the album was finally released sans the song.

"I just thought I'd use it here because it fitted in so well. I played around with the notes and came up with this song for 'Baabul'. In fact, I recorded the song just a couple of days ago.

"In Ravi Chopra's 'Baghban' I had sung four numbers. In 'Baabul' I've recorded two. Earlier, I had recorded a happy number. But the pensive sombre number which I've just recorded is actually composed by me," said Amitabh, who doesn't seem bitter about the song being left out of the album.

Amitabh still insists he isn't much of a singer.

"What I like is to met up with Aadesh Shrivastava, sit around in his music room and fool around with the notes. In 'Baabul' for the first time I've contributed to a tune. Obviously the orchestral arrangements are Aadesh's. But the theme song 'Kehta hoon babul o mere bitiya' in 'Baabul' is tuned and sung by me.

"Earlier, in 'Baghban' two of the songs - the Holi song and also parts of 'Meri makhna' were mine. But in 'Baabul' the full theme song (written by Sameer) is mine," the Big B told IANS.

Amitabh, who walked the ramp with his "Baabul" co-star Hema Malini at the launch of its music release function, feels that marketing plays a critical role in the success of a film.

"The promotion and marketing of a film is today is as critical as its making. The competition is gruelling. Look at how films have been marketed in recent times.

"For 'Baabul' we wanted to do something novel. So we devised a fashion show along with the designers of the film... not necessarily the clothes Hema and I wore in 'Baabul' but clothes designed by the film's designers. That evening was extremely emotional and heart warming and the turnout was impressive," he said.

The mega-star is glad that a film stressing Indian values has been made.

"Television is so full of family dramas that this genre is hardly attempted in today's cinema. 'Baabul' is very traditional and close to our hearts. It addresses the sensitive issue of a widow remarriage.

"Why does a young widow become a victim of ridiculous customs, almost an outcast? Like all the films from B.R Films, it addresses itself to a burning social issue."

Speaking of his on-screen rapport with Hema, Amitabh said: "We did some films in our earlier days, but not as many as we're doing now. In 'Baabul' she's very much part of the drama. In 'Sholay' there was the effort to rehabilitate the widow. That sentiment continues in 'Baabul'.

"It was initially tried in Dharamji (Dharmendra) and Meena Kumariji starrer 'Phool Aur Patthar'. Now, widow remarriage is the theme in films like 'Water' and 'Baabul'. Good. Cinema needs to raise the collective conscience-level of the audience."

The Bhojpuri market in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar has gone ballistic over Amitabh's guest appearance in "Ganga".

"I'm glad to know it's a success. If my presence in a film helps someone then I'm very glad to do it. Good for my makeup man Deepak Sawant who has been with me for 30 years. He came up with the idea of a Bhojpuri film. Just when we were to start the schedule, I fell ill. The moment I recovered, his was one of the first projects I completed."

Audiences in the cow belt are clapping Amitabh's Bhojpuri dialogues.

"I had done the Awadhi dialect in 'Ganga Ki Saugandh' and 'Adaalat'. 'Ganga' is the first time that I did in Bhojpuri, which is very similar in tone and sound to Awadhi. But some of the words and expressions are different."

Last year Amitabh made a guest appearance in a Kannada film "Amrithvarsham". "Ganga" and "Amrithvarsham" are Amitabh's only two stints in regional Indian languages.

"Both guest appearances and both done because two dear friends asked me to. Otherwise, I don't recall doing any other regional films. Yes, I was asked to do a guest appearance in Rajnikant's next Tamil project. But I declined. I don't have the time. Also, learning a south Indian language is a huge responsibility (in the Kannada film AB spoke in English).

"I truly admire our artistes from Mumbai who go and do south Indian films and also speak the language. Rajnikant and I are close friends. We've done films together in the past. We share a great rapport. I'd love to be in his film. But unfortunately I can't."

Amitabh is thrilled by the spectrum of films this year.

"Everyone from the young to the old has had an opportunity to have a say. And varied films have received acceptance this year. It's an exceptional year for Hindi cinema. There's 'Guru', 'Dhoom 2' and recently released 'Umrao Jaan' and 'Vivah' (which propagates family values like 'Baabul')."

About the return of STAR Plus' "Kaun Banega Crorepati", he said: "Star and I have to reach some understanding. There're around 25 episodes that couldn't be done due to my illness. I haven't been formally approached for any more episodes."

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