• Amitabh Bachchan

    • Oct 19, 2016
    • 2:20 PM
    IT WAS CERTAINLY NOT A QUIET BIRTHDAY FOR THE BIG B, AND IT WAS CERTAINLY LIKE A BIG FESTIVAL FOR MILLIONS


    As I tried my best to battle with the tough security guards outside Janak, Amitabh Bachchans office and tried to tell them that I had known the Big B when he was still to be what he was destined to be and they still kept me waiting, telling me that they were doing their duty. I thought of those other birthdays celebrated by Amitabh Bachchan It used to be a day when the large doors of Prateeksha were thrown open to guests and anyone who came from anywhere to wish him. He received every guest personally even as his parents, Dr. Harivanshrai Bachchan and Mrs. Teji Bachchan also made the occasion special by making everyone comfortable. The table was spread with any number of delicacies, the kind rarely seen in any other place. The phones (there were no mobile phones those days) kept ringing continuously and Amitabh attended as many calls as he could. It was a birthday without any hassles and without anyone, even someone like me did not have to think twice before deciding to go and wish him. That was what was called a quiet celebration even though it was celebrated like a festival all over the country

    It was only because of my friend Atul Shahs persistence that I stayed on at the gate till he made a call to the PRO of the Big B who had invited a huge gathering of the media which was also in a celebratory mood and behaved like little children who had seen God for the first time and told him that Ali Peter John is standing at the gate that a young man opened the gate and let me in and frankly I was scared with the atmosphere around. I was pushed around by men in mufti who looked like bouncers and the large crowd of channel and other media photographers. I could hear Amitabh speak but there was no chance of my going anywhere close to him, it was something I had experienced for the first time at any of the birthday celebrations of Amitabh I have attended during the last thirty-five years

    Amitabh looking as fresh as ever and dressed in a kurta which I felt was only worn by the last of the emperors and by bridegrooms at their wedding receptions. He looked very happy and he explained why he was happy. He had three major releases like Piku, TE3N and the most important release for him, Pink and all of them had been successful. He was perhaps the first hero in his seventies to experience such success. He was also happy about the various projects he was involved with as brand ambassadors and the constant work he was busy with.

    He had in an interview a day before his birthday said that any biopic attempted to be made on him would be a disaster and he reiterated his view on his birthday too.

    He came up with a very interesting anecdote when he said that he was born on Dussehra Day and was now celebrating his seventy-fourth birthday again on a Dussehra Day. He was born to conquer darkness and bring light into the lives of people for several generations.

    He was perhaps the first seventy-four year old man who had several new plans for the future. He said he was all set to start a new film with Ram Gopal Varma with whom he has done Sarkar 1, Sarkar 2 and will now do Sarkar 3. The only disaster he had while working with RGV was when he was inspired to play a new version of Gabbar Singh in RGV Ke Sholay, but he has immense faith in RGV which he has proved by agreeing to do his film when there are several old and young filmmakers who were waiting for a chance to work with him. There have been talks about another season of KBC to start, but the star of the show neither confirmed or denied it.

    He was like a tiger raring to go when he said that he was willing and ready to face any kind of challenges, but he made it clear that his priority was to work with young filmmakers who he believed were passionate about their work. It was when he said this that I thought of several filmmakers who had worked with him in the past and still had scripts which they wanted to make with him, but were not even finding the time to get a meeting with him, the one man who came to my mind even in the midst of all the hungama was Rakesh Kumar who was once an assistant of Prakash Mehra and who had made big films with him like Mr. Natwarlal, Khoon Paseena and Do Aur Do Paanch who keeps coming to my office asking my editor and sometimes even me if we could arrange a meeting with My hero who did some of his best films with me, but has no time for me now.

    I had to wait for my chance to personally wish him, and my turn finally came but I wonder whether he noticed me or not because of the madness he was surrounded by with young women and men trying to present him with the gifts they had specially brought for him and some of the girls from the responsible media wanting him to hold them or let them touch his feet or ask him to pose for selfies and personal photographs. The seventy-four year old grandfather must have certainly thought of how his birthday was being celebrated like it was the birthday of a little boy, but he had to celebrate because it was the overwhelming love of people of all generations who wanted him to celebrate.

    He may have had a quiet birthday with his family later in the day, but the crowd outside Jalsa kept growing and reached unprecedented numbers by evening and celebrated his birthday on the street outside Jalsa till late in the night.

    That night when everything was really quiet, the people who must have really felt relieved must have been all the security guards who had to face the flak of people in the line of the duty they were performing to protect the most precious treasure of India, but the atmosphere of celebration was still alive the next morning when the man behind all the celebrations had put yesterday into the past and had left for a new session of work which he said he would keep doing till

    BY ALI PETER JOHN