Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bachchan Bol,Revolutionary new service to stay connected with Big B


Prateeksha, Mumbai February 9, 2010 Tue 10 : 19 PM

Before I say more .. some sad news .. one of our dear FmXt from Perm, Siberia in Russia, Zhenya, lost her Father yesterday. Zhenya has been a regular even before the blog started and has always addressed me as Pitaji .. a father. She is a spunky little girl and has loved India and Indian culture. From whenever I could remember, she celebrates all the festivals and never forgets to send me greetings on those days. Some early year photographs of my visit to Russia have been courtesy her. I want Zhenya to know that we are with her in her sorrow and grief and our prayers are with her..

You are a brave girl Zhenya .. and God will remain with you ..

I could not resist doing this. It was troubling me and so I came back from a very early bed time to an early enough bed time to express our solidarity with a member of our fraternity.

And below now some visuals of the afternoon function -

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Peace and harmony are more important than confrontation and controversy. The elements that guard the former are stronger and of greater value than the latter. Most of the time those involved in the 2 C’s have nothing whatsoever to do with the issue or the individual. They are guilty of fanning hatred and are therefore in my eyes worse off than those actually involved. If one can broker peace to end either C, that step needs to be taken immediately and will as will be seen bring result.

Many a time, those that prod and push and deliberately indulge themselves in an issue are themselves guilty of the accusation. Unable to act what they preach themselves, they look for scapegoats. Someone to hang the blame on. Not realizing of course that in doing so they prepare their own noose. Hang well dear friends !! And hang long !! Sometimes the rope round the neck takes a bit longer than usual to stifle the air that we breathe. But, do not also ever imagine that the rope shall get loose enough to escape. Once the noose is in, it remains in !!

A bit morbid for this time of the night and certainly not welcome on this blog. But in life there will be times when you need to spell it out !!

Love and love without the hangman …

Amitabh Bachchan

Bigadda

Amitabh sings for Indo Pak Aman Ki Aasha event

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Prateeksha, Mumbai February 9, 2010 Tue 7 : 04 PM

Taken off the formals. Wrapped up in the ‘mundu’, ‘munda’ ‘dhoti’. And in a desire to finish the post so I can follow the advice of many who show concern and care. It is early I know, but the need to get to bed is worth a try.

Formals ? Yes .. the formal launch for the mobile service where you could hear my voice is officially on today. At a short and sweet ceremony with the media at the newly opened Trident Hotel at Bandra Kurla Complex, where all the award events take place, modern almost boutique like and under the efficient management of an ex Sherwoodian. School ties never fade away.

The ‘name of the game’.. ha … no .. the name of the program is called BACHCHAN BOL, a number is being advertised, you call and you get to hear me greet you, talk to you, on daily events, thoughts … just about anything that comes to the mind. At the moment it is in Hindi and restricted to India, but shortly it shall be world wide. It is one way .. that is you get to hear me and will not be able to respond back … but OnMobile the outfit that conducts the technology will be working on getting this facility operational too. InsideIndia, a London based Company shall be the Company managing this and I hope that soon we shall be able to develop a voice blog within our FmXt … so … Happy VOGGING … as this is being touted to be described as .. !!!

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And so to ‘Aman ki Asha ‘ above and the settings and the moods of poetry and the people and their reactions … and the last .. the sore point, the electronic media journalist from Zee asking me what was all about Madhushala !! Hah ! Young man, if you have not done your home work and research, if you have no interest in the event, why have you taken the trouble to come. And worse to ask a question that insults my Father’s great legacy and our literary heritage … !!

Anyway … the evening was most satisfying. I loved the ambience. That informal sit around, much like the days when my Father used to recite. People just gathered around, sat on the floor, palti maar ke, and the evening went on for hours and no one knew how time would pass. The applause and the wah wah’s and the end of each verse, the desire to repeat a line a verse, the insistence on a poem of particular interest. Much like the encore call last night after it was all over, as you can see below and then an impromtu break from the routine and some enterprising youth joining me on stage in dance, hurried off by security to restore some order.

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Lovely days those, with my Father. Sharing space with the other greats of poetry and literature. Spending time just listening to them and imbibing. Will those days ever return ? Time moves on and this generation I am not certain is as interested in such activity as we were.

But I think word spreads as you indulge. Just this morning a group from Pune comes over to invite me to such an evening for the inauguration of an amphitheater in an environment friendly locale. Maharashtra and Pune in particular has always had a keen interest towards culture and the classics. Dance forms, classical singing have been an essential ingredient, almost compulsory, in most homes. And when you therefore visit any Maharashtrian home you will always find the presence of that ethos and ethic. True too for some of our Southern states .. Tamilnadu, Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala. And of course Bengal. Especially among the girls in the home. There is indeed a prevalence of some classic art form in every corner of the country. And I am amazed at the vastness of the creativity and the beauty of its presence. I must know my country better. I must travel and read and imbibe them. I must gain undisclosed knowledge. For it must take a lifetime, perhaps more, to experience and know what India is all about. Such a shame that a large portion of my life is over and I never had the time to know … know about my own people and their culture. But I will. I shall pursue, even if time is not on my side, I shall pursue !!

To those of my extended family then .. a cultured good night .. and with the love of more to come..

Amitabh Bachchan

Bigadda

I am weak to day Weak in thought Big B

Prateeksha, Mumbai February 8, 2010 Mon 11 : 48 PM

I am weak to day. Weak in thought. Weak in what I do. Weak in circumstance. Weak in memory. Weak with myself.

My weakness could be my exhaustion. An exhaustion not of time or deed. An exhaustion from excessive consumption. My Father’s work consumes me. The Times of India ‘Aman ki Asha’ initiative just got over at the Bandra Fort, where Zia Moyeddin and I recited in the spirit of togetherness and hope for peace. The Fort is actually an old relic, left unattended and has been through some innovative design changes. A small informal stage has erupted, an amphitheater like seating in front, has an air of informality. There are no comfort zones or efforts made to make it happen. People just arrive and seat themselves on the floor with folded feet and relaxed mind.

Whatever the outcome, what I believe is right is that there were this many people who were lovers of poetry. And many among them were first timers, young and oblivious to poetry and by whom. The atmosphere was built in a manner where it was certain that all could be seen out in the open at the press of a button. People had come there to have a good time and I do believe that that is a quality which signifies that the doors are open for a happy nostalgic evening.

My Father’s works at once sonorous and sad and then almost directly posing as happy with sarcasm catches the very large canvas that he covered when he wrote. There was a sense of fulfillment within me and I do hope in the minds of the film Industry that had decorated the place with their own presence.

God has been kind. Perhaps we needed to remember him time and again so as to delay departure..

The crowds were beyond the capacity. It being an outdoor amphitheater with free passes it was bound to get a little boisterous. As the recitation by Zia began the seats in the hall had all begun to be in a mood of reconciliation, and by the time I came over, the pulse in the audience was apparent. There are many that were unable to connect with the purest form of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s urdu, now the official language of Pakistan and so were perhaps relieved when I came on with ‘Madhushala’ and Viju Shah’s orchestra, the old favorites, smiling and happy.

Wanting to connect with my Father at last, becoming a virtual necessity I volunteered for, it. It was a healthy mix of contemporary and modern times, and I do feel that every time I think of him in such circumstances, a strength comes upon me from him and one that remains dormant for a while ; until circumstances change with power.

Power will be there in many liberated causes, but it cannot just be a Mr Rai. I believe that flimsy surrogate and wasteful research will have just that in life and no mother.

I must rest now. I shall continue later in the day tomorrow.

It is with love , … a love that knows anyway about the brand ..

Amitabh Bachchan

Bigadda

Valorie a belated birthday wish Big B

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The Meridien, Cochin, Kerala February 7, 2010 Sun 10 : 27 PM

Valorie … a belated birthday wish to you .. may you remain healthy and wise and poetic as ever !

As I watch the ‘mohiniattam’ being performed on stage by a large group of dancers performing in honour of the evening to felicitate Resul Pookutty, Oscar Award winner for his sound design in Slumdog Millionaire, I cannot but be mesmerized by the kathakali dance form from these regions. The eyes and their expressive movement, the hands moving in lyrical grace, enveloping inviting and so utterly spell binding. The use of the most minimal body movement, yet enough to express what needs to be expressed. It is this brevity of movement that is so attractive. It is the brevity of expression that has sunk into the psyche of the inhabitants of this region. Their reserve and restraint is well known in their culture and language. Their literacy quotient being the highest in the country, could be another.

Kerala, God’s own country, has not earned this name without meaning. There is an air about it that justifies its warm and affectionate existence. But as always, just when you begin to enjoy and sink into the land, a departure takes place and we are soon away from it all. Perhaps a little too soon.

Resul, not gloating in the air of importance and recognition, has decided to give back to society, to his people and has started a Foundation for the needy. A medical care center with an established hospital, for those among us that are under privileged and poor. Noble and kind of heart. I contribute to it too, in kind, in a small ceremony that takes place a little earlier in the afternoon on arrival.

Keeping in tune with the phrase ‘do in Rome as the Romans do’, I order some extraordinary crafted dhotiand sari to be worn at the evening formal function. The sari of course for the ladies in the house. Typical Kerala designed motifs on them through gold and silver threads. Such richness of craft in every part of our beautiful country and such a shame that we are so unaware of it and its existence. Well I certainly. How wonderful it would be if I could drop everything around me and just visit every corner of India to imbibe, learn and experience my own land and people. How wonderful to learn and be acquainted with their customs and culture and language. To live with them, be one with them, breathe the same air, discover our countrymen in different hues and in turn hope that we can discover ourselves too !!

So, I wear the dhoti or munda as it is more colloquially known for the evening and I think there is an appreciation of it. The ceremony is short and sweet and over in an hour. Which is in sharp contrast to the pomp and grandeur and expanse of last night’s in Chennai. I meet up with the two greats of Malayalam cinema - Mohanlal and Mamooty. Their work is testimony to their greatness. Effortless, easy and so completely natural that it belies all that you may have conceived about how acting needs to be done. Mohanlal comes up to the room later and narrates a script for which he wishes me to do a days’ guest appearance. I am inclined on principle but will read the script and revert.

There was a post before the one that was there before that .. I think … which had ended with ‘to those that understand and those that do not understand’. Whereas there were many that did understand, there were some that did not. Were I to explain to them, it would rob me the reason for writing it the way I did. Explaining it would in a way diminish the effect of the content. So I would rather not. But if there are some enterprising young men or women that would wish to elaborate to those that desired elaboration, I would not stop them from doing so. In fact it would be a wonderful exercise in assuaging from them whether they were close to the thought or not.

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The ‘dhoti’ in all its pristine glamour, tied up around the waist by shear will power and some dextrous use of the stomach muscle, else it slips down and opens up !! It is just a piece of cloth, no buttons, no belts, no clips nothing. Simple elegant convenient and with its own characteristic charm and above all - air conditioned at all times !! The fall of the main design as a strip down the front to be positioned on the right hip and just around the right knee. Rules of culture.

During my several interviews that went down today with Manorama News, the TV channel that is number 1 in the region, I was asked for a few minutes to talk to their radio station Radio Mango, and the lady that pushed the radio mike across my nose made an observation. She said my sign off ‘love line’ on the blog is always different. Different ways of saying ‘i love you’ every day !!

Strange I had never noticed that, and now that she has told me I am more conscious of it. Wonder if I shall sign off with a difference today. Lets see -

Love you … ‘munda’ and all …

Amitabh Bachchan

Bigadda

Dockyards became dens for Teen Patti

Finding locations that could resemble gambling dens, bombarding them with dirt and grime, painting gruesome graffiti...Teen Patti production designer Ayesha Punvani says creating setups for the film was a crazy experience.

"It was the craziest idea to create gambling dens in Teen Patti since the gambling addas (dens) that exist in real are very hard to approach, gambling being illegal in India. You will never be allowed to just walk in casually. You will have to go through some contact and with all of us being women, it was tougher," Punvani told IANS in an interview.

Punvani, with her team, created gambling dens in places like abandoned train yards, dockyards, abandoned factories, mills that have been shut down and an ice factory, since "all these locations give an amazing backdrop".

Directed by Leena Yadav, Teen Patti, slated to release Feb 26, revolves around a mathematician, played by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, trying to write a thesis on probability by relating it to the Indian card game of Teen Patti.

"There were bigger tasks on hand - finding dilapidated furniture, aging it even further, bombarding the location with dirt and grime, building a fake toilet, painting gruesome graffiti, creating dramatic lighting elements and designing the betting and gambling setups."

Produced by Ambika Hinduja under the banners Hinduja Ventures and Serendipity Films, Teen Patti also stars Hollywood veteran Ben Kingsley along with R. Madhavan, Raima Sen and Shraddha Kapoor.

"The entire film is shot in India except for a few parts that we shot in England. We had to shoot at 12 locations in Dubai, but we ended up creating all those in India," added Punvani, who has earlier worked on films like Khosla Ka Ghosla, Bluffmaster and Monsoon Wedding among others.

"On the whole, we had put up 80 different setups around the country. We never thought we would have to erect so many sets. "Sometimes we ended up losing some locations because when people would come to know we were setting up a gambling den, they would ask us to leave. They didn't want their location to be related to gambling or anything that in actuality is against the law," said Punvani.

"Our location manager hooked us up with people who could help show places that operate illegally. We saw a bunch of places, but not during working hours. He managed to get us photos of some of these places during their working hours and also got nearly beaten up and thrown out in the process because these places are not only underground but under wraps," she said.

News HT

Bachchan fans can now hear him on Bachchan Bol

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan's can now speak to fans directly. Big B today launched a unique service, 'Bachchan Bol', to connect with his fans via mobile and landline phones across the globe.

The service, launched by the actor in partnership with Inside India, allows a person to hear Bachchan sharing his thoughts anytime and anywhere at the press of a button.

"Bachchan Bol empowers me with a personal platform on which I can connect and speak directly with my fans anywhere and anytime. From my films to my family, from my country to my city, you will be able to hear about it all, in my own voice, directly on your mobile phone," he told reporters here.

Inside India acts as a repository for licensable content and entertainment from Indian superstars.

Bachchan will share his personal and professional experiences from time-to-time. One can dial 505678910** from their mobile or landline phone to get connected with him.
"The new trend of voice blogging is an opportunity for celebrities to constantly be in touch with their fan base. The service facilitates a deeper engagement between stars and fans," an official from Inside India said.

"We know the power of Indian entertainment and we are firmly embedded in the innovation of technology and the digital world. Combining these two elements we are paving a new way for social networking," the official added.

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