Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan is a living legend in the Indian film industry and his popularity (both in India and abroad) is unparalleled. I am not sure if there is any other actor in the Indian film industry who has been through so many ups and downs in his career than Amitabh Bachchan.

He took over the mantle of super-star from Rajesh Khanna and virtually owned it till Shahrukh Khan came along to stake his claim. He dominated the silver screen in the 70’s and 80’s and he personified the ‘angry young man’ image.

Amitabh’s movie can be broadly divided into two distinct categories viz., movies done pre-Kaun Banega Crorepati and post-Kaun Banega Crorepati. He has mostly worked with newer and younger directors post-Kaun Banega Crorepati and has met with reasonable amount of success.

Pre-Kaun Banega Crorepati, Amitabh’s best work and performance has been mainly with four prominent directors viz., Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra and Yash Chopra. All these directors have literally had a dream run with Amitabh. Of course, they have also had some absolutely forgettable duds.

Pre-Kaun Banega Crorepati period, besides these directors, Amitabh Bachchan has given hits with other directors as well which have been extremely popular and great box office successes. For e.g., (i) Don (directed by Chandra Barot) gave Amitabh his second Best Actor Filmfare Award in 1978, the first being for Amar Akbar Anthony in 1977, (ii) Hum (which gave him his third Best Actor Filmfare Award in 1991) and Agneepath both directed by Mukul Anand (although I am still not sure if Agneepath was a hit or not), (iii) Kaalia directed by Tinnu Anand, (iv) Ram Balram directed by Vijay Anand, (v) Roti Kapda Aur Makaan directed by Manoj Kumar and (vi) Sholay directed by Ramesh Sippy.

Personally, I have liked Amitabh in the movies done by him pre-Kaun Banega Crorepati. Post Kaun Banega Crorepati, there were few performances like Dev and Khakee that were good, but other than that, his performance was fairly standard and repetitive in most of his movies (including Mohabbatein and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham). Although the media is praising him sky-high for his performance in Black, I wasn’t too impressed because he genuinely looked tired and old in the movie and I felt that it took a lot out of him (as an actor) to potray such an over-the-top character i.e., he did not look the natural actor that he is. Method acting is not something that one would associate with Amitabh. Of course, he won his fourth Best Actor Filmfare Award for his performance in Black but I would not want to watch the movie again.

However, none of his post-Kaun Banega Crorepati movies have generated the same amount of hysteria that he managed during his hey-days in the 70’s and the 80’s. In my next few posts, I would discuss the films done by Amitabh Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra and Yash Chopra which I think would be very interesting and which arguably is Amitabh's best phase in his entire film career.

Does anybody have any thoughts?

No comments: