Thursday, April 2, 2009

In a lighter vein: Amitabh Bachchan

Now for something completely different...or is it?!!
Remembered these sketches (made long ago when we were working on Ekalvya) when writing the last post.
Dusted & cleaned them up.. was fun.

Btw that's Amitabh Bachchan, India's greatest Star of the last four decades. Both the sketches are based on my own experience being around him during the shoot of Ekalvya. I must admit, that I entertained the notion he wouldn't be larger than life at all..
But I am glad to say he was quite as you would imagine him to be.. overall at least, the details can be slightly different, the idiosyncrasies etc.. but he was very much The Big B.

AB as the title character, Ekalvya had a problem of failing eyesight.. but being an expert marksman that he is , he could get his target by sound alone.. His dialogue to Saif in the climax.." bas ek awaaz do... blah blah" was a source of much mirth. On a another occasion, I remember the director briefing him, " Imagine you are a dog!! Like a dog is aware at the slightest sound and flicks his  ears..." AB listened intently, probably wondering how he would flick his ears about.. he may have tried.

AB always had a posse of armed guards about him.. we had heard they were provided by one or the other of his influential friends.. (most likely Amar Singh? or Subroto Roy?) anyway.. they were of uniform character & personality ( at least as far as we could see).. however on more than one occasion they failed their job as some die hard crazy fan from the crowd gathered in the middle of the desert in Bikaner to see the shoot, would dive out and make for the Man! This would usually be a middle aged lady in a sari who was probably crazy over him since her childhood days.. and it was usually very funny and strange to see all these strapping guards completely taken by surprise by this woman who left her modesty by the crowd just to touch the star..
Then they would all jump her and overpower her, pin her down.. whatever, as they regained control of the situation with true machismo and pretended as if nothing happened at all. The dedicated fan would win her star's attention for that fleeting moment, maybe an autograph if lucky and all would be normal again. we were lucky she wasn't a terrorist.. With guards like these..