Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hit or flop Amitabh Bachchan is still Bollywood goldmine

Hit or flop, Amitabh is still Bollywood's goldmine
By Robin Bansal

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) A ghost, an eccentric theatre actor or a flamboyant genie, Amitabh Bachchan has done quite a few over-the-top roles and not delivered big hits in four years. But for filmmakers, the megastar is still a phenomenon they can't wait to sign on.

"I would love to cast him for all my films. I just hope that I keep getting ideas where I can fit him," said R. Balakrishnan, director of his forthcoming film "Paa". 

Relasing Dec 4, "Paa" features Amitabh as a progeria patient.

"Amitabh Bachchan has crossed that mark of a hit or a flop affecting him. He is a phenomenon. He is the first veteran where stories are written keeping him in mind. Whether or not a film works is besides the point. He is not competing with anyone here," trade analyst Taran Adarsh told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

"Every director wants to work with him at least once in his career. They've grown up watching him on the big screen. He is an encyclopaedia on acting. He has a different range altogether. He is a superb actor...and we can't deny that fact, no matter what the fate of a film," he said.

Some of the 67-year-old thespian's films have turned out to be over-hyped in terms of both content and characters, with the recent one being "Aladin" that was declared a dud on the first day itself. Amitabh plays a flamboyant genie in the movie.

Even his special appearance in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's "Delhi-6" early this year, as Abhishek Bachchan's grandfather, could not save the film from sinking. But he still rules the desire list of filmmakers.

"He is in demand because he is Amitabh Bachchan. He is a cult (figure). He has worked very hard and given success after success earlier. After his comeback from a break a few years ago, he is now having fun with cinema," said film critic Omar Qureshi.

"And he can afford to do that even if it means doing a crazy character in 'Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag'. He is doing roles that he finds interesting. If the film doesn't work, that is not his fault."

And cinema too has undergone a sea change with time.

"Take his characters in 'Nishabd' and 'Aladin'. No one could dare do that earlier. He is just going with the flow. His performance cannot be doubted. He is too good as an actor," explained Qureshi.

While Amitabh featured in duds like "Family", "Darna Zaroori Hai", "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" and "Baabul" in 2006, a string of flops followed in 2007 too with "Eklavya: The Royal Guard", "Nishabd", "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom" and "Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag". Two of his outings the same year - "Cheeni Kum" and "Shootout at Lokhandwala" - were critically acclaimed but were not money grossers.

Last year was again disappointing with commercial failures like "Bhoothnath", "Sarkar Raj", "God Tussi Great Ho" and "The Last Lear".

But writer-turned-director Rumy Jafry has no regrets for the failure of his film "God Tussi Great Ho" because it starred the Big B.

"It's a dream for every director to work with him. Despite his age, he still works as a student and is completely a director's actor. Neither does he interfere in anything. Look at 'Paa' for instance. He sat for close to five hours just for the make up and that shows his patience," said Jafry, who cast the Big B as God Almighty in the movie.

Jafry can't stop praising the veteran's professionalism.

"The whole world knows that there is no bigger actor and star than Amitabh Bachchan. There is no star in the industry more disciplined than him. Even if he was 10 minutes late, he would make sure to inform, while there are actors who are over two hours late without any notice," Jafry told IANS.

But Bachchan prefers to be modest and says he is just a character artist nowadays.

"May be in the early years, they (audiences) came to watch my films because I was in it. But now I am just one of the credit titles. I am not that important," Amitabh had told IANS in a recent interview.

"I am a part of the crew and the cast. Even in my early years, I used to think that. I think the product itself is more important. It's the film that is going to make you or your name or give you visibility. If that goes wrong then everything goes wrong. So one must work as a team so that the product works," he added.

The star is still on a signing spree and has four projects lined up - "Paa", "Teen Patti", "Rann" and "Johnny Mastana". 

Big B Promo of PAA Movie

Prateeksha, Mumbai November 7, 2009 Sat 11 :58 PM

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25 Days to PAA

It has been gratifying to read the trade papers talk rapturously of the promo of PAA and to observe the kind of interest and comment that the 60 seconder has generated. I have not seen this happen often enough to me, but I do believe that there still exists in our fraternity of dedicated creative people, a sense of joy when they see something of value. There is and there shall always be a situation where rivalry will exist. But I believe healthy rivalry adds to any situation. It enhances rather than depletes and for that we must acknowledge when we witness another’s success and achievement.

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The people then that interview and take comment as above. These are just random impressions. The day evolves as a project. An exercise in patience and strength. Of giving answers to them that ask the same questions, but who have the confidence that when it is projected by them it will be different. This is the spirit I admire and like and for that I remember a few on blog today.

I had an interesting meet today with a member of INDIA TV, a prominent and top rated channel. They document the tragic occurrence of 26/11 and wish that I do a voice and commentary for it. We shall be discussing that in the time to come, but what was of deep interest to me was their invitation to join a select collection of individuals that shall be responsible now in forming what they believe is a body of editors and men and women from society, that would play ombudsman to content on the electronic medium. They informed me that for a couple of years there had been talks amongst themselves on how the standard of news and views could be brought to a level of dignity and respect and that the formation of such a body of people would monitor and control the quality of the product that was going out into the world.

I found this self confessional, brave and full of rectitude. And if they really meant what they were expounding then there is faith and hope amongst those that control the conscience of the nation. I would certainly honor this effort and would happily contribute towards this most necessary and just cause.

There is travel now for another cause and hopefully when it is concretized I should be able to apprise you of it. Till then …

It is love and more and much more …

Amitabh Bachchan

Bigb bagadda

PAA releasing December 4th 2009

London, UK November 10, 2009 Tue 7 : 32 AM/ London time

23 Days to PAA releasing December 4th 2009

Aaahhhh !! the relief !! Just finished all the responses to the previous day and would you believe it the pain has ‘dis appea red’ !! Golly !! Now Fm Xt have better reason to accuse me for not responding to them. Sometimes we axe our own feet do we not …

Will rush now for morning formalities and quick breakfast - the first media starts at 8.30 AM and then there is travel to Sky or BBC studios maybe, I don’t know what they have lined up, but its up and down to Hotel and out again …

Thank you all for your generosity in wishing me well for my shoulder and for the film PAA…

I never have sufficient words to encompass all that it means to me to be looked after so well by my dearest and kindest FmXt.

Love you ssooooooooo much and then a little more …

Amitabh Bachchan

London, UK November 9, 2009 Tue 4 : 04 AM

24 Days to PAA

There must be some mental technology that works effectively for sleep inducement. Do let me know if it exists, for I was desperately looking for one early this morning in order to extend my stay on the pillow and under the duvet.

As is the norm when you travel out west, the eyes open up to the morning at that unearthly hour of 3 AM and then, despite all efforts to continue in slumberland, you find yourself running out of subjects that would take you back to sleep infested lethargy. I tried a few, but failed. It would not obviously be prudent to share those with you, but suffice to say that they were … well … never mind !!

Getting up the changed face page and reporting back on how the promotions were going, took up most of what was left of a morning desperately in need of some more rest, but …

The shoulder pain was so excruciating that even after the drugs it made me wince on certain actions. So the next best was to rush off to a medical store to see if there could be another alternative cure. Roy Bell and Croydon, I think it is, that stores many facilities other than medication which help in general upkeep. And it was here at the behest of a lovely sales lady Nana from the land of Georgia, ex Soviet Union, that relief came. They now have a wonderful gadget that when stuck on to the skin and connected to electricity, sends waves of stimulating current to affected area and the rush of blood to the region helps cure the pain.

After a sample test the equipment was bought and it shall be used with some diligence in the future. Pain must be the one commodity that generates the maximum attention for mankind, or well any living being. Pain requires immediate healing - physical or mental. And those that master the art of its cure are not just those who are blessed but those who can at times exploit the medium for personal or general gain.

The medical profession prospers at will on the basics of pain. Doctors and hospitals are built around its eradication. Mental pain has given birth to various outlets that profess their absolute ability in removing it through discourse and temperament. Pundits of psychology and all other kinds of ‘chology’ explode their versions of cure from books and long arduous discourses through private and public mediums. The millions of followers that congregate is testimony of the belief that these exponents of ‘tandav’ execute. And the beauty is that some of them actually work.

And it is pain today that brings me to London to participate in the charity Foundation for head injuries, initiated by HH the Maharaja of Jodhpur, more commonly known as Bapp ji by those near and dear to him. A reception and dinner is kept at the Banqueting Hall, opposite 10, Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s residence, in an elegant regal ambiance.

Bapp ji’s only son ShivRaj had an unfortunate fall from his horse while he played polo, suffered severe head injury and through careful and gracious care has now recovered almost 80%. But there are millions that do not have the means or the facility to afford treatment from those that serve the people that go through this unfortunate tragedy. In the USA the figure is 1 in 200 that perish. In India it is 1 in 6. Some thousands lose their lives every hour in India and with the projection of India having more automobiles than the US within a couple of years, the fear of greater accidents does not abate. For a Foundation to now work towards this most needed and necessary cause was most laudable and Jaya and I decided to participate in it.

The evening was full of social and genuine royalty. The decor was Rajasthani as were the dresses and turbans of those that served. The food was Indian and relished by all. I left just as soon as the auction was to begin and the dancers from the Indian Film Industry were going to take over the dance floor. Bappji, HH Jodhpur and owner of the unique architectural marvel, the Umaid Bhawan Palace, was gracious and warm in his hospitality. He surprised me by mentioning to my seated neighbors the extremely exciting features of my upcoming movie PAA , prompting me to spend the rest of the evening, alternatively describing the film to Bianca Jagger and Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York.

Tomorrow is another marathon run with the media and then home for more promotions.

But only if excessive sleep is induced before that …

Love you

Amitabh Bachchan

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