Shahenshah at 70: The Big B Reinvention!
Ankita Chakrabarty and Siddharth Tak / Zee Research Group/ Delhi
When you are about to turn 70, you generally get ready to pack your bags. If you are the hyper active sorts, you might still like to tend to a social cause if the search for the divine does not take you to far away ashrams.
Not at all if you are Amitabh Bachchan! For reinvention is his mantra and he does it so well that he quite holds the mirror to brands that pride themselves for their capability to stay relevant. From the plethora of brands he endorses, he makes a Reid & Taylor statement with as much ease as he convinces his fans to consume ‘Dabur Chawanprash’. The range of products he endorses though simply enhances his mantra to stay as relevant as ever.
The Bollywood superstar has reinvented himself at each instance there was a hint of him going out of the frame and he came back even stronger. The way he survived the personal and professional setbacks only adds to the persona he so humbly carries on his now lean shoulders.
Yes, he chooses his audience right, or is it the vice versa? At the stroke of turning 70, he embraced Facebook (which now has about 50 plus million users in India) while being egged by his thumping run with the other arm of social media, the Twitter, which he uses with telling effect to tell his story as never before.
Gifted with a deep voice and a charismatic persona, he has used his skill set most optimally. At 70, when he launches yet another episode of KBC-6, it appears as if he is doing it for the first time- such is his commitment to the art he symbolizes. His persona dawns on his fans like fast relief (he endorses Himani fast relief). From being the Lord of endorsements to then lord of social media, the Shenshah has almost perfected the art of reinvention.
A journey into his illustrious career in the world of entertainment simply shows how. His career can be articulated from being the perfect angry young man to the perfect old man next door who can at his age save a damsel in distress.
Going through Bachchan’s trivia starting from his first acting role in the movie ‘Saat Hindustani’ released in the year 1969, where he played one of the seven protagonist’s who attempt to liberate Goa from the Portuguese colonial rule.
Angry Young Man
Post his famous portrayal of the role of a helpless doctor in the cult movie ‘ Anand’ (1971), he set foot to redefine cinema with the advent of the angry young man, an image he nurtured in many of his other blockbuster films like ‘ Zanjeer(1973)’, ‘Deewar’(1975), ‘Sholay’(1975) , ‘Don’(1978), ‘Kaala Patthar’(1979)and ‘Agneepath’(1990). His angry image again got noticed in the movie ‘Sarkar’ (2005) directed by Ram Gopal Varma and also in its sequel released in the year 2008 ‘Sarkar Raj’. But Amitabh was successful in wooing his viewers every time with a new image and a distinct character; he has always been successful in justifying the character sketch and thus was seen reinventing himself in some way or the other.
Romancing in poetic way
His style of romancing his lady loves was well depicted in movies like ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ (1976), ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ (1977), ‘Kasme Vaade ‘(1978), ‘Laawaris’ (1981) and ‘Silsila ‘(1981).
King of bad days
During the late 1990s, angry young man faced a tough time in his filmy career. Movies like ‘Mrityudata’, ‘Sooryavansham’, ‘Hindustan Ki Kasam’ and ‘Lal Badshah’ (1999) were back to back flop movies. Also, the losses encountered by his ABCL entertainment company gave some strong hiccups in Bachchan’s career.
What a comeback!
His comeback in the year 2000 with Aditya Chopra’s much anticipated movie ‘Mohabbatein’ as the principal of Gurukul school who doesn’t believe in the concept of love was well accepted with the audience who were craving to see more of Amitabh’s aura other than his angry young man image.
Also, in the same year (2000), Amitabh made his small screen debut by hosting the reality TV game show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ which opened to tremendous response and gained high TRPs’. His involvement with the game show continues until today with the launch of KBC season 6 in September 2012 which was able to gain a record breaking rating of 6.1 in its first episode itself.
Concept of fatherhood redefined
In Karan Johar’s ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ (2001), the role of an arrogant and proud father suited his style and left the audience in tears when he set aside his arrogance and accepted his estranged son.
Audiences also saw him in the role of the karta of the family in movies like ‘Baghban’ (2003), ‘Babul’ (2006) and ‘Family – Ties of Blood’ (2006). It is well established as of now that no one could better portray the role of the ‘karta’ other than Big B.
Experimenting and challenging roles
He was able to add the right amount of spice in the movie ‘Cheeni Kum’ (2007) with his portrayal of an ego –centric chef who falls in love at the age of 64 with a 34 year old woman.
Bachchan beautifully depicted the role of a teacher of a deaf, mute and blind girl in the movie Black (2005) which won him another ‘National Award’ after Agneepath.
Year 2007 also saw Bachchan in a bold avatar romancing a much younger ‘Jia Khan’ in the movie ‘Nishabd’.
‘Paa’ released in the year 2009 where Amitabh played the role of a12-year-old boy with an extremely rare genetic disorder called progeria and his real life son ‘ Abhishek’ played the role of his father in the movie made everyone realise that there can be no replacement for ‘ Amitabh’.
Amitabh’s portrayal of a flamboyantly dressed man in Buddha Hoga Terra Baap (2011) clearly made the fact surreal that age doesn’t act as a hindrance as far as acting is concerned. Also, Bachchan’s commitment and hard work made an important realization as to how to remain relevant even when age is not on your side.
Social Media Connect
Recently,Amitabh Bachchan became the first person to have more than 36 lakh followers in the country on social networking site Twitter. On a daily basis more than 4100 new people follow him on twitter. This shows that for him age is not about ageing but living it to the hilt. Only if you can reinvent!