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October 2020

Amitabh Bachchan: Beyond Nav Rasas – Day 1895

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In a career spanning five decades and approximately 235 films across genres, the actor is primarily identified as an angry young man and his critics are to be blamed for this. He was never given credit for his varied, versatile performances and he once said that since critics feel that he only plays the angry young man he will continue to play angry middle-aged man and later, angry old man roles.  His cynicism came out of deep hurt.

Today, fifty years later, all his detractors have mysteriously disappeared, today Amitabh Bachchan is the undisputed phenomenon.

My mind rewinds to 2009, the release of my second book on the actor, Bachchanlia. I had just received my advance copy of the book and leafing through the 300-plus page coffee table book, featuring all his film posters from Saat Hindustani/ 1969 to The Last Lear/ 2009, I marveled at his extra-ordinary career and more, his courage of conviction to pursue  these films without getting  affected by the constant criticism he was subjected to by the media.

It would have been so easy for him to get demoralized by his detractors. He didn’t, instead he followed his path relentlessly. A complete artiste is one who can portray all the nav rasas and Amitabh Bachchan’s filmography is a proof all the hues and the fragrance of the nav rasas and more…
To be continued

Happy Birthday Rekha – Day 1892

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Happy Birthday Rekha
On October 10 is the screen Goddess Rekha’s birthday. The world knows her as a Diva and her fans look forward to spotting her at award events, draped in her trademark gold sari with traditional jewelry. Graceful, shy and always reserved.
There was a time however when she was not as guarded. When she was spontaneous and child-like and those who interacted with her in the seventies and the eighties will understand what I am saying.
“The day Rekha starts behaving like Rekha, it will be the end of Rekha” she said to me one day, while discussing star attitudes. She emphasized that she would never change, “Well at least I pray that I don’t”. Then, Rekha was a dreamer, high strung and sensitive. She saw beauty in the sun and the stars
and collected butterflies.
Years rolled into decades and mega stardom ushered many highs and many lows. Time changes circumstances and circumstances change people. The core of Rekha remained as pure as she had promised. She was as wholesome and compassionate as olden times but less impulsive now and more mellow.

Shakuni Mama – Day 1891

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A few days ago, the entire team of Mahabharat appeared on Kapil show celebrating the birth anniversary of serial director Ravi Chopra. During the candid chatter with the anchor it was revealed that Gufi Paintal was not the original choice to play Shakuni mama, in fact filmmaker BR Chopra had hired the theatre actor to audition all the characters for the serial. Paintal had more or less finalized the cast but Shakuni was yet to be cast. Somehow, they did not get an actor who could project the menace that the character demanded.

One day, BR Chopra watched Paintal brief the actor who had come for audition and after he had gone suggested to Paintal that he stop auditioning more actors and start preparing for the role himself and rest of course is history. This incident is in memory ofGufi Paintal who celebrated his birthday yesterday.

I’m sure there are many more similar stories and what comes to my mind is Bhumi Pednekar hired by YRF to audition new girls for Dum Lagake Haisha. Pednekar auditioned innumerable girls but did not find a right candidate, then one day, producer Aditya Chopra saw her enacting a scene and suggested that they stop auditioning because he had found his heroine, Bhumi Pednekar.