Friday, October 29, 2010

Back from the music release function of Khelein Hum je Jaan se Big B

Back from the music release function of Khelein Hum je Jaan se

Prateeksha , Mumbai Oct 27/28 , 2010 Wed/Thu 1 : 21 AM

Back from the music release function of ‘Khelein Hum je Jaan se ..’ and filled with emotion and a lump in my throat.

I had never expected that the evening would instil in us a feel for such patriotic emotion, but when the cast got on to the stage and screamed ‘Vande Mataram’ in unison and then all the guests stood up and sang the National Anthem, it just filled all of us with tears in our eyes !!

I was unaware that the dress code of the evening was national traditional and in colors of red and white. On arriving at the Hotel where the event was to be held and seeing everyone right from ushers and security to the organisers in tune with what had been instructed I felt completely out of place in Black modern western.

The entire setting of the stage, the props and the location was picturesquely dressed in the red and white - revolution and purity - and it was just a wonderful feeling of uniformity and strength.

The film, as most do not know, is about the life of Surya Sen as discussed in yesterdays post, a teacher in Chittagong now in Bangladesh, who mobilized school children where he taught, to revolt against the British Raj and seek Independence. It is a story of their fight for the Motherland, to free it of the intruders and the revolution, in many ways the very first of its kind, which shook the British Empire in the early years, into submission finally.

The evening was done up in a most aesthetic manner and well organized, a rarity in most such functions, and attended well by those that had had a connection to the film.

I never got an opportunity to speak after they asked me to release the album, but had they I would have loved to narrate my feelings. For I felt that there were several reasons for me to be at this occasion.

Firstly of course I was most embarrassed and self conscious on my dress because everyone else was done up in national and traditional and mostly in the Bengali style, it being the story of Bengal. I had wished to say that since there had been a unanimous representation of the freedom fighters, there was none for the British and if my dress for the day coud be taken as a representation of them for the evening, then some of the guns that were fired live during the performance at the function, could well have been fired at me.

Secondly, there were more than a few reasons and connections to the film, apart from the fact that it starred Abhishek. The title of the film is taken from the most prominent and powerful song of my film ‘Main Azaad Hoon’ - ‘itne bazoo itne sar gin le dushman dhyaan se, haare ga woh har baazi jab khelein hum je jaan se ..’

The song written by the great poet Kaifi Azmi, father of Shabana Azmi, was from a tune that had been given by me after listening to an African number at a random moment during one of my trips to Europe in the late 80’s. A strain in the song caught my fancy and I sat with the music director and developed the song. That moment of the song in Main Azaad Hoon has its own story which has been narrated many times over - its shooting in a stadium in Goa and how we went about it.

The third reason was the fervor and temper of the subject of KHJJS. It brought in me and I am sure many others of my time, of having lost the opportunity of being a part of the freedom movement. To me those must have been the most exciting times for the country and its nationals. The fight for freedom often is. But those were heady times and watching the cast and crew of this film and what they were portraying, filled me with the enthusiasm of those years. Indeed as another well known story of the time is known, my Mother pregnant with me in the last stages, had run out to join a satyagrah procession that had taken to the streets of Allahabad. The procession was attacked by the British police and there was grave danger of my Mother getting lathi charged during the event. It was a group of my Father’s friends who knowing of this had rushed out into the crowd to save my Mother from certain harm and brought her safely home much against her wishes. Later that evening when peace had returned to the city, everyone around my parents had joked that when I would be born, it would be appropriate to name me Inquilab Rai… Inquilab meaning revolt !!

And of course the third reason would be the fact that since I myself had longed to be a part of the freedom struggle and never got the opportunity, it was wonderful to see my own son Abhishek portraying a role in film on similar lines by playing that role of ‘Master ji’, the main protagonist Surya Sen !

I must admit and I said this to Ashutosh Gowarikar, the director of the film, that during the entire making of the film and its subsequent publicity, which has just begun, I quite frankly had not seen much hope in this attempt. But I have to say how wrong I was and that Ashutosh has now with this function succeeded in building up a substantial awakening to the film so to say, and I do believe that my sentiments are similar to what the media and guests felt too.

The film releases on December 3, and I wish it all success !!

It has never been wise for me to speak on matters that have concerned my family or me in particular. The media has never been too respectful of that and has on several occasions shown resentment, so I have tried to be as minimal as possible on the issue. But the swell of emotion at the event could just not make me control my sentiments and so I have written and I hope that the media shall take it in the most candid and honest manner that I have put it across.

I travel tomorrow. Travel to shed some time on myself in contemplation without the pressures of work and people and all the sundries that take up time and attention.

I wish to thank all those that took the trouble to wish the family the best wishes for ‘Karva Chauth’ and to apologize for my personal outburst on my ‘disgust’ at certain events. That moment has now passed and I do not wish to dwell on it. So it would be prudent on the part of many, to not want its details. Its over and done with and bears no consequence anymore.

However, the incident may be over, but I do not wish to forget the circumstances that brought it on in the first place. That annoyance will remain and that desire for non interference shall also become an important ingredient in matters that involve the future. The intolerance quotient to any such event has grown manifold. And were there to be repeats of such behavior, there would be serious consequences. Of this I have now taken firm stand !!

You who listen or read this and feel that if they fall into similar character or nature, then they must be prepared to face consequences that could be unpleasant !!

My own tolerance is something that I myself have felt to be of some great length. But if tested beyond a point, could break a few desired norms from me.

May the Almighty bless you and keep you kind and happy and healthy ~

Amitabh Bachchan

Big B Receives standing ovation at National Film Awards funtion

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