Recently, I came to know (through a daily) that Reliance Anil Ambani Group is going to organise some kind of a ceremony to mark 40 years of Amitabh Bachhan in hindi film industry. It seems too obligatory for Mr. Anil Ambani to do so for Mr. Bachchan and none in this world can deny the presence of Mr. Amar Singh on this 'auspicious' occasion to felicitate his 'बरे भइया'. Anyways, whatsoever be the relationship between Ambanis, Bachchans or Amar Singh, its not a matter to be discussed in this post. I wouldn't say anything about the aptness of Ambani's idea but one thing I must like to admit that idea about this post came to my mind only after reading about his idea.
This blog of mine, although not strictly filmy, preferentially includes topics of hindi films and bollywood and for such a blog, its hard to restrain for too long from a topic with Amitabh Bachchan, undoubtedly the greatest actor of bollywood ever, as the central theme (though, a post Adorable Awesome Amitabh exists but the central theme there is the film 'The Last lear'). Not much to say about his greatness as an actor or any such thing coz every such thing will be a cliche and a disrespect to the man himself. This post is only my overview of his extensive filmography as seen from my perspective.
In the year 1969, when the hindi film industry was searching for its new superstar after Dilip Kumar, came the film Aradhna starring Rajesh Khanna which made him a susperstar overnight. With this film also came another film 'Saat Hindustani' with AB as a debutant actor in the role of one of the seven protagonists of the film. Fresh with the success of Upkar in '67 and Aankhen in '68, film industry was looking at the patriotic films as ' सोने की चिरिया ' and Khwaja Ahmad Abbas was no exception either. Though the film didn’t fare well at the box office, the film industry saw a young guy with a cute face and a manly voice standing upright in front of the acting giants like Utpal Dutt and got him a National Award for the best newcomer. One more thing that connected Amitabh to us biharis was his character who incidentally was a Bihari. Anyways, Rajesh Khanna became a superstar with Aradhna and gave many beautiful romantic melodramas in the successive years. In 1971, they both came together in Anand, a heart drenching emotional melodrama about a man suffering from a deadly disease. Khanna was the lead actor and AB played his doctor friend Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee. Though, Khanna stole the show with his powerful performance, AB was not behind either. He gave the glimpse of his talent in the climax scene when a calm, composed, self-possessed man suddenly turns into an anxious, agitated and emotional friend on seeing his friend die in front of him. Alongwith Anand some other movies like Parwana, Reshma aur Shera etc were released that year but none were successful. 1972 was also not different and despite 4 or 5 films released none of them were hits at box office.
Then came the year 1973 which can easily be called a year that turned the fortune of AB and with him the film industry and the lakhs of audiences. Zanzeer gave birth to the Angry Young Man of India and heralded a new era in bollywood and what was to follow is everything history now. The rivalry between Prakash Mehra and Manmohan Desai was at its peak and besides AB, we the audience were the most privileged with this rivalry. The angry young man was growing angrier and younger with each film and gave us movies like Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Namak Halaal, Lawaaris, Parvarish, Sharabi, Suhaag, Naseeb, Desh Premee, Coolie, Mard. In between all this rivalry between Mehra and Desai, AB did some of his best films with other makers that included films of different genres in which AB played a complete set of different characters. The list includes Kabhi Kabhie, Kala Patthar, Silsila, Deewar, Trishul, Mashaal etc with B.R. Chopra and Yash Chopra; Sholay, Shakti, Shaan with Ramesh Sippy; Chupke Chupke, Namak Haraam with Hrishikesh Mukahrjee. His other notable hits included Majboor, Abhimaan, Mili, Kashme Waade, Satte pe Satta, Mr. Natwarlal, Khuddaar, Yaarana, Kaalia etc.
After continuing Baadshahat at the box office for almost a decade, the star started fading after he started his career in politics in ’84. He tried to make a comeback in the industry but was not the same AB as before. With only occasional hits like Shahenshah, Aaj ka Arjun, Agneepath and Hum, he was soon out of reckoning and eventually led to his financial collapse.
In 2000, Kaun Banega Crorepati, a TV game show gave his popularity back; he was out of his debts and again restarted his career this time with character roles. He started appearing in big banner Chopras’ and Johars’ films opposite the contemporary superstar Shahrukh and often folding his hands and bowing in front of him was the preferred climax of such films like Mohabbatein, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham which for me was not at all good for such great an artist. Anyways, lately, he did many more movies and is still doing playing different roles, different genres some digestible and many not.
Whatever, the AB which everybody loved in Deewar, Don, Sholay or Amar Akbar Anthony will never be back to us and we as his fans will always be loving him for that. THANX AB!!!