Saturday, December 17, 2011

CNNiBN Indian of the Year Awards 2011 Big B


Sopaan , New Delhi      Dec 16/17,  2011          Fri/Sat  1 : 51 AM
Anna Hazare greets me with his humble self, listened in by Dr Kurrien … what company I enjoy !!


The lovely Shweta and I enjoy a moment together .. Fathers and daughters have a special link do they not .. they at times even look so much alike !!



Ronjan Sodhi, world champion in trap shooting .. sharing a laugh because he confided his wife never accompanies him to the various award functions he goes to but came to this one when she heard I was going to be there. We laugh because when I walked up to meet his wife, which he had gently suggested on stage that I must, she had disappeared to the wash room .. I did though meet up with her as I departed, pushing my way through the crowds that converged soon after …



the fiery women from Manipur, the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN) who resist the presence of the gun by the Army battalions there on duty and the guns of the insurgents in the state …



… and the ‘eloquent’ Lalu Prasad Yadav, seated next to me, responds to Anna on stage on his take on who the Indian of the Year should be ..


Its been a glorious night at the CNNiBN Indian of the Year Awards. Yes we won, the team KBC and yours truly, but what a galaxy of great stalwarts of the country coming together on one platform and giving an inspiration and strength of a lifetime to viewers and the country.
One cannot describe what it feels like to be standing side by side with Mamta Banerji, Chief Minister of West Bengal, a colleague of mine in the Parliament when I was there and who single handedly, despite being a woman defeated the mighty Communist power in the State after over 30 years of their rule ; Dr Kurrien, that indefatigable entrepreneur who started the milk revolution in the country, making it the largest in the world ; Anna Hazare and his social movement to rid the country of corruption ; the fiery gun survivor campaigner from Manipur ; sportsmen of the greatest merit – Dhoni, Yuvraj, Ronjan Singh Sodhi the world champion in shooting ; army navy and air force Generals who fought and won great wars for the country against Pakistan and in the liberation of BanglaDesh ; stalwarts in business Mr Shanghvi ; Yesudas that singer with the divine voice and with all of them the equally prominent presenters and guests …
An evening filled with a very strong emotion, a concern and a wish to be able to do something for the country after seeing and hearing the impassioned voices from all these very committed personalities.
When you look back at what you have contributed and compare it with what the co winners tonight did, you cannot but feel a sense of guilt, when efforts are compared. It makes one conscious of the fact that these great people sacrificed their self in the honor and integrity of the country. They did not care for themselves, they cared for the nation and their sacrifices for it cannot but remain inspirational.
Its been a warm night within … in thought and temperament, but a cold Delhi winter outside. Actually not cold cold, but a tolerable cold ..
Be safe, be warm and be with me in love …

Amitabh Bachchan

Launch the polio campaign for UNICEF Big B



Jalsa , Mumbai          Dec 15/16 ,  2011       Thu/Fri  2 : 41 AM     
 Ok … so its late .. 2 : 41 in the morning … so what ?? Any time is good time for the Blog and the Ef. Pushed to the wall with work. Had to submit an article for the Outlook magazine and since tomorrow morning was the deadline – they always have deadlines – I needed to write it tonight. The things one has to do for media !!
 So I dressed up in my smartest suit I could pick up in the early hours of the morning after the gyming and went across to the Novotel Hotel, by the sea, a stones throw away from Jalsa, to launch the polio campaign for UNICEF. A most fulfilling morning it was, because each speaker from the Government to the officials at WHO and Unicef were all praise for my efforts at bringing polio to a most respectable level in the country through our campaigns. This year we have not had any reported cases of polio and there has been only one case in West Bengal. The generally vulnerable states have been UP and Bihar and there were none from there, which is some achievement. There is an expectation that by the February of next year India shall be completely free from Polio. Yeaaaaaahhhh !!
At last something that I did worked out fine !!
CNN-IBN has nominated me for the Indian of the Year in the Entertainment segment and I shall be travelling there tomorrow for it. Who knows, I may win !! Sorry about that … am in a sleep deprived, over worked syndrome mood and it generally ends up by being funny or attempting to be funny. My attempts so far have not even been considered to be such ..
Hey its actually getting a bit chilly in here .. I mean Mumbai … feel it in the air !! Hmmm .. wonder what Delhi would be like then … freezing !! Love Delhi in winter .. the air the atmosphere the flowers the smell of potent coffee in the lobby of Hotels and restaurants … warm clothes, scarves and woolies … and then one wonders in dismay .. what of those that live off the streets and shiver in front of homemade fires on the street from the trash !! Sad state ! … No more then of this .. one must slumber well or else ..
But not before you get to see some of me in the morning of today .

Good night and may god bless all of you ..
Amitabh Bachchan

On Amitabh and my admiration



On Amitabh and my admiration

My Dear Amitabh:

With tears of pride in her eyes Saira handed over the print out of your eloquent tribute to my work in your blog. I read it once, then again and again.

As you yourself would be keenly aware, we actors are completely oblivious of ourselves and our surroundings while we perform and, even when we watch our work in the rushes shown to us, our senses and vision are trained to detect shortcomings more than accomplishments. That’s the only way we know to improve and render performances that come close to our own satisfaction. And it is always the audience who have the absolute right to acclaim or reject our work, however hard we may have worked to achieve perfection and excellence.

I am certainly privileged to know from your affectionate compliments that someone as knowledgeable and competent as you has liked my work. Yes, now that you have reminded me, I can recall the scenes that brought us together before the cameras for Shakti. I should say the respect and admiration are mutual. Not just Shakti, your work in several films I have watched has been world class and inimitable. In recent times I can remember Black and, if I remember right, Saira and I were at a loss for words at the premiere night, after the curtain came down, to express our myriad feelings of admiration for your outstanding performance. It is a pity the film missed the Oscar nomination. If any Indian actor, in my personal opinion, deserves the world’s most coveted award, it is you. I have heard so much about Paa which we didn’t catch up with.  You know how Saira is—she never could see me die in my films and she could not muster the courage to see your death scene in Paa.

Thank you, Amitabh, for your warm love and good wishes. May God keep you, Jaya and your family happy always.

DK Blog

There are actors and there are actors and there is Dilip Kumar, Dilip Saheb



Jalsa , Mumbai             Dec 14/15,  2011                  Wed/Thu  12 : 32 AM
 There are actors and there are actors and there is Dilip Kumar, Dilip Saheb, Yusuf Khan ! From the moment I saw him in film I knew he was the ultimate inspiration for me. Today he posts a generous comment on me on his Twitter account, and I have nothing more to say but this – I do not care for any comment from any critic, colleague. I do not care for any opinion from anyone. This below is the the most endearing and lasting endorsement that any actor could receive. I feel today after 42 years in the Industry, that there is a fulfillment of thought and value. Nothing greater could have been asked for, nor received. I believed in a man who to me represented the ultimate. He was he is and he shall always be, The Dilip Kumar ..

On Amitabh and my admiration

My Dear Amitabh:
With tears of pride in her eyes Saira handed over the print out of your eloquent tribute to my work in your blog. I read it once, then again and again.
As you yourself would be keenly aware, we actors are completely oblivious of ourselves and our surroundings while we perform and, even when we watch our work in the rushes shown to us, our senses and vision are trained to detect shortcomings more than accomplishments. That’s the only way we know to improve and render performances that come close to our own satisfaction. And it is always the audience who have the absolute right to acclaim or reject our work, however hard we may have worked to achieve perfection and excellence.
I am certainly privileged to know from your affectionate compliments that someone as knowledgeable and competent as you has liked my work. Yes, now that you have reminded me, I can recall the scenes that brought us together before the cameras for Shakti. I should say the respect and admiration are mutual. Not just Shakti, your work in several films I have watched has been world class and inimitable. In recent times I can remember Black and, if I remember right, Saira and I were at a loss for words at the premiere night, after the curtain came down, to express our myriad feelings of admiration for your outstanding performance. It is a pity the film missed the Oscar nomination. If any Indian actor, in my personal opinion, deserves the world’s most coveted award, it is you. I have heard so much about Paa which we didn’t catch up with.  You know how Saira is—she never could see me die in my films and she could not muster the courage to see your death scene in Paa.
Thank you, Amitabh, for your warm love and good wishes. May God keep you, Jaya and your family happy always.
DK
Amitabh Bachchan

Jitesh Pillai, editor FilmFare and an incessant twitterati


Jalsa , Mumbai             Dec 13/14,  2011                Tue/Wed  12 : 41 AM
 Jitesh Pillai, editor FilmFare and an incessant twitterati, made a plea that I write on my Blog about Smita Patil on her death anniversary today. It is a strange phenomena when someone asks you to do something that one has already decided upon to do. Somehow the feel of initiation rushes away. It almost puts one in office mode – a professional compulsion, rather than an independent thought. For a journalist of some eminence, I would have thought he would have realized this – journalists hate second hand information or jobs. They wish to be the ones that discovered it first, or be in a situation where they could proudly proclaim ‘you saw it here first’, much like the electronic media covering the 26/11 attack on the city. There were bullets flying all over the place and this particular gentleman from a prominent channel, ducking his way out from the line of fire, was more keen on conveying that we should not forget that this channel was where we first saw it !!
But that is neither here nor there. When you are told to do something it does rob one of its originality. Not withstanding however, the few moments spent with this most gentle yet strong woman of substance, Smita Patil does warrant not just mention, but indeed a description of moderate length of my memories of her, on a day when we lost her.
We used to first see her as a news reader on the Marathi Channel. Or was it the Doordarshan broadcast in Marathi for the people of Maharashtra, I am not quite sure. Probably the latter. Marathi specific channels came much later after the advent of satellite deliveries.
She had a unique presence about her. There was a soft vulnerable quality that came across her gentle face, yet when she spoke out the news of the day, a confident believable expression took over the often mundane matter that she was delivering. I am quite certain, many of those that listened in would ever remember the matter. They were, I am sure, more interested in the image that was being unleashed before them.
In time of course we heard that this electric face of Doordarshan was entering the movies and many among us did feel that it was not long before this would happen. The visuals of her earlier films, committed to cause and reality were generating great talk among the industry, when Ramesh Sippy putting together his cast for ‘Shakti’ announced her name. I cannot remember what exactly I felt at the moment, but somehow it seemed to me to be a choice that would match the temperament of the film. Matching temperament is more than half the battle won in the execution of a film and when she reported for the first days’ shoot we all knew that the decision was indeed right. For me personally there was apprehension. It was the scene when a disillusioned and inebriated Vijay talks to his wife, Smita, on there being two Fathers in his life. It was a long and complicated scene and I had wished to do it all in one shot. Your own capability to perform such moments is heavily challenged by the capability of your co artist. If the co artist falters, you could be Brando at his best but would tragically fall short without the cooperation and support of the one facing you.
As we began the rehearsals and then the take, it became apparent to me that all my fears of a first day first time colleague were misplaced. She was just what was needed for the scene and conveyed a comfort that critics, audiences and trade refer to as ‘chemistry’. In the days that followed she did have many misgivings about what she was doing and how it needed to be done. She was not adamant about it, but sensibly questioning. She was soft spoken and never contributed to the loud demeanor that commercial cinema at times demanded. She felt awkward with the dance routine and would often express her inability to accomodate such actions. But she was a professional and gave all that came her way a very deserving try.
‘Shakti’ happily for her, did not demand any of what she was to encounter in the next one with me – ‘NamakHalal’. But even though her discomfort may have crossed her mind on many an occasion, she freely let herself be guided by the tenor of the film.
We shot a portion of ‘Shakti’ in Madras now Chennai, after the release of ‘NamakHalal’ and I remember her coming on the sets with wonder and amusement written on her face, exclaiming – ‘ Amit, people actually recognized me on the flight ! I have done so many meaningful films till now and all they refer to when they see me is ‘aaj rapat jaaen ..’ , the rain song in the film !! ‘
Many may not know, but she was a keen photographer. Actually neither did I, until on an outdoor shoot for ‘Shakti’ when work was interrupted by rain and we sat under make shift shelters among the tall eucalyptus tree forests of Ooty, she pulled out her camera, opened each part of it, cleaned it, screwed it back together again and took some rather picturesque shots of low clouds over a distant lake. Nature does provide better aesthetics than humans, I would imagine.
Despite having worked together we never did meet or connect socially after work hours. So, one late night in Bangalore as I slept after a grueling action sequence for my film ‘Coolie’ in my Hotel, a call came through and the operator announced that it was Smita Patil on the line. I turned it away thinking it to be a crank connection, but when it repeated itself I took it. Yes it was her. It was the first time ever that she was calling me and I was a bit surprised. She asked how I was and whether I was well, for she said she had had a bad dream and seen me in some trouble physically. I laughed over as did she and that was it. Next day I was critically injured, and most of what happened after is and has been documented well enough !
A premonition !
When I recovered she along with many others would drop by at the house regularly, here in Prateeksha to spend time with me, cheer me up, give me company as I recuperated. She knew I was fond of the ‘mogra’ and each day a small delicate little basket of the gorgeous smelling flower would be either sent to me or she would bring it along with her on her visits to the house.
She was averse to anything that was loud or ostentatious. Her choice of jewelry personally and also in the designing of her costume in films was meagre and much like her own countenance, gentle and delicate. It suited her. In her desired appearance there would follow a desired performance. A performance that looked as if it did not say much, but did indeed say a lot. That was the grace and the dignity with which she was identified always, till her very last.
She loved motherhood and was adamant, insistent almost, that it come to her. It shall remain one of the greatest misadventures in her life that the life she wanted, she was unable to spend much time with – her child, her son.
A very special individual, a soft breeze, cool and calming in nature was what I would like to remember her by. The promise that she built among all of us and the film fraternity in particular, shall remain with us forever. That vacuum created by her absence remains, perhaps with just a hint of the mellow flavor of her favorite flower, the ‘mogra’ ..

Amitabh Bachchan

Engulfed in the creative eagerness of the younger lot


Jalsa , Mumbai              Dec 12,  2011               Mon  11 : 46 PM

Divya’s Birthday tomorrow … Happy birthday and lots of happiness for you from the entire EF .. hope that is ok EF’s .. took on the responsibility of adding you all on ..

Engulfed in the creative eagerness of the younger lot, I am so happy and astonished at what this generation thinks and designs for film. They design and think on many other creative aspects, but my contacts with them have been particularly intense, these last few days and I am so happy to hear all of them in their excitement, narrating stories and scripts, that possess great novel ideas and thought.
There is a sense of extreme confidence in what ever they do and say. It is precocious at times for people like me of an earlier generation, when I look at them and their enthusiasm. But this is the way they are. This is the way they shall be and this is the way for them forward. Now .. many purists and keepers of the faith often question me about declining standards, and the whole question of morals falling to depths of despair. They could be right and worried, but I feel each generation should be given the space to express themselves and allow the realization to sink in of own accord, before shooting them down. A civilization that has had a history and culture and ethos lasting for more than 5000 years cannot simply turn away and get polluted overnight. A country enslaved by foreign rulers for most part of its existence needs the freedom now to settle in and devise methods on its own integrity with equal dignity and respect – one that I believe shall never be overcome by any modern or Western culture.
If our films have contained unrealistic situations, escapist routines, color and dance and music not proportionate to reality, there is no harm in it I feel. Indeed I strongly feel it is reflective of what, despite all its shortcomings, it pines to achieve. Art of any kind shall reflect the state of the nation and its people. We may be a developing nation and one that is referred to as the ‘third world’, but in depicting fantasies does not take anything away from hope and expectation of our people. In fact I find that despite all the cynicism, it has been one country and one culture that is seen to be unaffected by all the horrors that the West goes through at this very moment. Entirely unaffected would be wrong to state, but comparatively the difference is seen, being seen and being applauded. We may be very far away from utopia, but then even the developed is far away too. I think our resilience through hundreds of years of subjugation has come useful now. We tolerate better, we know how to take the knocks and come out smiling !!
Not all of us are that capable. When knocked down we remain down at times. But knowing the general temperament of our countrymen, they shall want to crawl their way back up, to be ahead, the first. In a very silly way I notice it in the way we conduct ourselves in traffic. There is an impatient desire to jump the lights, to move ahead, to not be in line of the waiting traffic and to slide slip by breaking a cue to get to the front. Indisciplined yes, but inspiring in a way too. It is the general tendency to be first, to go past the other that waits and follows rules. Ha ha !!
I have promised to get back to routine from this very moment and I must follow it through …. before others overtake me !! So off I go and wish you good night and the sweetest of dreams .. love and more … !!

Amitabh Bachchan

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