Monday, August 24, 2009

On the auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi, my wishes and prayers for all Amitabh Bachchan

Singapore                                  August 23, 2009                           Sun 7:15 PM


Vakra tunda Mahakaya surya koti samaprabha

Vakra tunda Mahakaya surya koti samaprabha

Nirvighnam kuru me deva Sarva karyeshu sarvada

On the auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi, my wishes and prayers for all. May the grace and kindness of Ganapati, fill your hearts with happiness and joy, with love and prosperity. May He rid you from all evil and guard and protect you from the perils of negativity.

The blessings of Ganapati shall remain in all the homes during these days in special prayer and obeisance. It will invite friends and visitors into our precincts and then when after a period of time the day for 'visarjan' comes it shall be taken in procession amongst song and dance and music to the waters of the sea and immersed, with the plea, to come again into us the next year.

Among the Muslims, soon it will be EID after the fasting and prayer during Ramzan. The Jains wish us 'MICHCHHAMI DUKKADAM' today on the auspicious Day of 'SANVATSARY' and beg for forgiveness for hurting your hearts and you, knowing or unknowingly, by any action or speech or even thought.

Such a beautiful confluence of all the faiths, their beliefs and their prayers. All expressing love and well being, all at almost the same time of the year. This is no coincidence of fate. It is a coincidence that has been ordained through thousands of years of belief. Millions all over this world shall come together to express their happiness and joy at this divine occurrence and the elements and the winds and the atmosphere shall be filled with positivity and the purity that comes with it.

There is no room within these precincts for hate and malice. We are all one in prayer. We are all one in peace. May this ever prevail. May this ever prevail. May this ever prevail… !!

I read your impressions on the topic of the previous post with pride. Pride of an elder that acknowledges the wisdom of its progeny. I am astonished at the output that comes from every member and full of admiration for the brilliance with which they put forward their thoughts. It is a graph of learning for me and I am certain for those as well who may have opportunity to read through. God bless you and your presence !

It has been nothing short of being enlightening !!

Of late I have been reading in the media, many discourses that direct our attention to, the realm of television and the content that prevails in them with some consistency. Most importantly they chip away, with some severity, at the abundance in the presence of the 'Reality Show'. They are every where they say, in almost every channel and each one of them claiming the success in viewership as per their ratings on professional meters. They say that the show succeeds in making celebrities of hitherto unknown individuals and that the world of TV at least, may not need the endorsement or participation of the real Mc Coy's. It has become somewhat of a pleasurable pastime, or should one say dedicated viewership, for the TV buff, to be involved in the public unveiling of a private existence. Extreme prudence does not permit me to direct your attention to the obvious names. You are all aware of them. The media analysis wonders whether certain constraints of ethics are being demolished, whether it is morally correct, or even legally, to permit such blatant exhibition. Legally one has not heard of many interventions in the electronic world, but I assume sooner or later some strictures shall start gaining a foothold. Till that happens, what really do the masses think of this assessment is what they want to know. I thought we could do an in house test within our own community and so a few pointers ~

* do 'reality shows' attract your attention

* what is it that makes it compulsive to view, if at all it attracts your attention

* is it the frivolous and titillating nature of the content that interests you

* if not 'reality' what other kind would you prefer to watch

* is the idea of something moral as content interest you or

* moral and entertaining

* should celebrities be an essential part of such entertainment, or not

* has the concept of the reality show been beaten to death

* and if so why is it that they still attract the maximum eye balls

My quest towards completion of my whim, continues ; the obvious problems not withstanding, namely, every response that I may give attracts another few in the same DAY. The line never seems to end. But we must endeavor and never turn back or stop. Just keep moving…

Goodness this is turning out to be some moral bashing is it not ? No .. this is not an effort to preach the goodies of life, it is just another promise. A promise of an … ice cream cone .. as simple and as delicious as that…

Where was this about an ice cream - "life is like an ice cream - eat it before it melts.."

Ah..!! Yes of course … "BLACK"

Enjoy.. life ..


Amitabh Bachchan



मेरे प्यारे और बहुत ही स्नेहपूर्ण परिवार के सदस्य अमिताभ बच्चन

Singapore August 21, 2009 Fri  11:35 PM

मेरे प्यारे और बहुत ही स्नेहपूर्ण परिवार के सदस्य ,

मै अमिताभ बच्चन आप सभी का अभिनन्दन करता हूँ , स्वागत करता हूँ .

मेरे बहुत से ऐसे पढ़नेवाले यहाँ इस ब्लॉग पर , ऐसे भी हैं जो शायद अंग्रेजी मे मुझे लिख नहीं सकते , या उनकी अंग्रेजी शायद इतनी अच्छी नहीं है . इसमे बुरा मानाने की बात ही नहीं है . जो हिंदी मे लिखेगा उसे मै हिंदी मे जवाब दूंगा और जो अंग्रेजी मे उसे अंग्रजी मे . यदा कदा पंजाबी और बंगाली मे भी उत्तर दे दिया करूँगा .

मेरा स्वस्थ अब ठीक है और मै यहाँ अपने मित्र और मेरे परिवार के सदस्य श्री अमर सिंह जी के साथ सिंगापुर मे हूँ . उनकी यहाँ एक ट्रांसप्लांट सर्जरी होनी थी , सो भगवन की कृपा से अच्छी तरह संपन्न हो गयी है . कुछ दिन यहाँ आराम करने के बाद ही उन्हें डॉक्टर जाने की इजाज़त देंगे . तब तक मै यहीं उनके साथ रहूँगा .

इस समय मै अपने चाहने वालों को एक एक कर के जवाब देने का प्रयत्न कर रहा हूँ . ये एक निश्चित रूप से बड़ा ही कठिन काम है , लेकिन मेरा ऐसा मानना है की इसे मै पूरा कर पाउँगा .

शेष समाचार साधारण है ,

आपका ही

अमिताभ बच्चन

The effort continues. The numbers keep increasing, but I labor, regardless. I am using the faster methodology of replying from the Dashboard and Comments section instead of opening up a post and scrolling down to the comments. That is the 35 sec, 27.2222222 process. I have not checked if the yellow is appearing or not. Where I reply now, there is a gentle green line which in time becomes white, so I really have no idea. Do let me know, people, how I am doing and a bit of encouragement in the pursuit of this task, would not do any of you any harm. A huge collective roar would reach the flash lightning and thunder skies that fell upon us this morning.

O, dear O, O dear O, dear… this is a mammoth tragedy. I have just discovered that an entire day spent on replying to comments has not been registered as a yellow line on the DAY. I am so distraught and crestfallen.. How could this have happened !! O, dear !!!

BUT … never you mind. My efforts shall continue. I shall go back to the original form of replies and start all over again. Ah…

The entire morning was spent in ducking inside the room as a severe weather condition prevailed outside. Massive thunder and lightening followed by torrents of rain. And now some hours later it has vanished and gone. All is quiet and peaceful again and life resumes normally.

I wonder when mankind was still finding his feet in this wonderful planet of ours,  how would he have reacted to the first bolts from the sky. The sound and the fury and the rain. What would have been his first thoughts. We hear  many old tales where the reference to such occurrences were described as 'the God's are angry with us', 'the fury of the heavens' and so on. But till science brought out explanations, this must have been a terrifying experience. As I would imagine would be the existence of so many other terrifying experiences - the plague, TB, the flu and so on. They still occur. But somewhere there is a relative comfort in the belief that a cure exists. Cancer and Aids have taken precedence over the malaria and pox's and gradually we have found that the percentages of a cure for these too is prevailing.

In cinema, Dilip Kumar in his historic performance in 'DevDas' died of TB, Rajesh Khanna several years later in 'Anand' died of cancer and Tom hanks in 'Philadelphia' died of AIDs. It would be somewhat of a Black Comedy moment to say that Indian Cinema or cinema by and large has made progress, because we have kept up with the times ! These were treacherous situations, created for film to enhance drama. We do not rely on them too much these days. Its a more violent death now. A gang war, an attack of terror perhaps. The stories and their drama moulded itself around the prevailing popular circumstances. TB and Cancer and AIDs were considered the 'in' element in the story. They were horrid thoughts, but for the sake of drama and screenplay they became an integral part of the play.

I am certain many sensitive readers of the blog will want to debate this issue with their most intellectual and intelligent outputs. It would make for an interesting debate I am sure. What is more sensitive ? The action and crime violence of guns and gangsters and shoot outs, or the misery of a sufferer of an incurable disease ?  Is the portrayal of a death scene harmful ? Death through disease, death through accident, death through the gun, what ?? A bit morbid I know, but a topic that we as actors are often faced with and more than often accused of. So lets put it up for the vote and see where it goes. And when the results come in, let us have a healthy debate on this medium and come up with some results. It may help us to understand what people think, and it may help you to understand what we think.

The issue of content in cinema - whether in India or in any other part of the world - has always been an integral base for argument and some very harsh proclamations, both for and against. It has intrigued me through several years of my participation in the field. What kind of entertainment is to be termed entertainment ? How real do we want it to be ? Is it important to portray facts or build fantasy ? Does cinema merely entertain or does it educate ? Should it educate ? How does it affect the morals of society ? Does it effect the morals ? And so many intriguing questions arise. It will be the opening of the proverbial Pandora's Box, but I think one that may bring some semblance of proportionate argument within our little world of the familia.

I leave early today in the festive spirits that abound among many faiths in and around this time of the year - Ramzan, soon to be followed by Eid and then the Ganpati Visarjan and the relevant pooja's, the Navratri and then on to Dushehra and then Diwali and Christmas…

What a wonderful world we live in. Where we learn to respect and honor the different celebrations of different faiths. We are the same humans, following different faiths. But 'faith' is complete trust, a confidence in someone or something a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. It is optimism, conviction and hope. All faiths propagate the same meaning. Then why do humans become different !!

In peace and love and faith ..

Amitabh Bachchan

May the peace and blessings of God be upon you Bigb

Singapore Singapore Singapore
Fri  4:15  PM August 21, 2009



Ramadan 1430

Assalamu alay kum (May the peace and blessings of God be upon you)

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the subscribers and all Muslims well over the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the month of Qur'an since it was the month in which the Qur'an was revealed. It therefore behoves us  to reconnect with the Qur'an. The Arabic word Tilawah or recitation of the Qur'an is an act in which our heart, soul, mind, tongue and body participates – in short our whole existence. We must endeavour to be moved by the words of the Qur'an as God says in Qur'an:

'And when they listen to the revelation received by the Apostles, thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears for they recognize the truth: They pray: Our Lord! We believe; write us down among the witnesses.'

I observe that the number of comments that have come up so far has reached 906

Singapore           August 18, 2009                   Tue/Wed  12:45 AM

As I glance up from this page that I write on, I observe that the number of comments that have come up so far has reached 906.

The only other time it reached such a large proportion was when I suddenly decided to take an ambulance ride to the Leelavati Hospital, a birthday earlier. And I wonder whether one could compare the two circumstances with some impartiality or not. One was a sudden emergency, the other a sudden threat of one. One a circumstantial disconnect, the other a circumstantial ultimatum, a probability. Both however had one commonality. A plea to come back. Do we then infer that each time we need the numbers, we need to go away. Absence makes the heart grow … comments !!

What was interesting to observe, during this unfortunate procedure when there were definitive words expressed, was the appearance of several individuals that had never been seen or heard of before. These I would presume are the hidden talents among the FmXt. They are there, but are not there. This is interesting, and I wonder if since our average for a common day is about 350 to 400, it would imply that a larger number of EF visit us, but do not necessarily express themselves ?? I am enamored by this analysis.

I noticed another factor. 'Either you stop or I stop' was considered important enough to find the headlines of news papers. What in heavens name, would the media find so earth shatteringly important in an innocuous statement like that, on an innocuous blog by an innocuous certain Amitabh Bachchan ! But .. there it was. Reason anyone ??

"Thank God he's stopping - his media bashing was getting our goat !"

"Thank God he's stopping - we do not have to keep rushing to his self centered blog to find out what he's up to !"

"Thank God he's stopping - we now get to meet him personally to record that interview and not be in that humiliating situation of us sending him a questionaire on the email to respond !"

Ah !! Who cares ! What I get in return from my EF cannot be matched by assumptions from any other medium. They can only speculate. We shall dictate. Right ?? Right.

The name Amitabh Bachchan has always had its share of peculiar reactions. It has always been odd for people to either pronounce or spell it. In India, a country still steeped in caste distinctions, regional distinctions, the name Amitabh was unusual for most parts of the country, except Bengal. There Amitav or Amitava or Amitabho have been prevalent and popular common names. But Amitabh for central hindi speaking India was still unusual. And Bachchan more so.

Bachchan was my Father's node plume. A pseudonym, a pen name, a fictitious name used when working for a particular social cause. It emanated from his Mother, my Grand Mother, who lovingly called him 'bachcha', or child. Much like what many of us endearingly address our off springs as 'baby'. I keep doing it all the time when addressing Abhishek or Shweta and now Aishwarya. It comes involuntarily before starting a conversation on the phone or writing out an sms, or a Black Berry PING !!

So the Mother's 'bachcha', matured to 'bachchan' when my Father started writing his poems and Bachchan became the name he used as the author of his verse. This is not a peculiar occurrence in India or in these parts of the World, where a pseudonym has always accompanied most important and popular writers and poets. In Urdu poetry the nom de plume has also often found its way into the composition of a couplet or a quadruplet. It has been appreciated as an art to be able to do so, without deviating from the essence of the verse. And so, Bachchan became the name by which my Father came to be identified with. In his formal representations he was what his name was - Harivansh Rai, but his poetry was under Bachchan. For long he was always addressed as Mr Rai, many not being aware that he was Bachchan the poet. He was in true caste sense a Kayasth fom Uttar Pradesh, a Srivastava. Most prominent Kayasth names went under, Srivastava, Mathur, Verma and such, but my Father was a strong propagator against the caste system and deliberately refused to use Srivastava, because it identified a system he did not believe in. This was all very well till he was on his own. But with marriage, certain registration formalities and paper work had to be faced which sought clarifications. When he married my Mother and brought her to Allahabad where he lived, the people in the city started referring to her as Shrimati Bachchan, Mrs Bachchan. He was Bachchan and she, Shrimati Bachchan. It was when I was born, the first child of this union, and a first off spring for my parents, that certain firm decisions became compelling. At the age of four when I was to be admitted for my schooling, the dilemma of what surname I was to be registered with, became an issue. It was then that my Father and my Mother decided to give my family name as Bachchan and to start in their own words, 'the beginning of a new family'. I was registered in my first school, the St Mary's Convent, as Amitabh Bachchan. I am the first bearer of the surname introduced by my Father. The name Bachchan was also for the first time written against my Father's name, when he registered at Cambridge in 1952. Thus began the advent or the beginning of the Bachchan family. In ancient times the 'gotra' , an exogamous sub-division of a caste group, family, lineage, stock, marked the beginnings of special individuals. My Father did not start his family with any special status in mind, it was more a compelling decision than any else. But having started it, he had wished and desired as his sole  intent, that the individuals of this family in every generation should break the shackles of traditional conventionalism and move forward, to understand the strength in being alone, and to ground and express themselves without fear. At the same time he had wished that each generation should rear, foster and breed those qualities that are bound and tied together, connected, related and affiliated to, those of a child. Christ, he said, had pronounced in His divine wisdom that until you become a child, you will not be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven .

I often wonder how the practice of surnames began and with what purpose. Many stories abound of it being initiated in India by the British for better identification of the various castes that existed in our social milieu. It also becoming a handy tool for the practice of their 'divide and rule' policy, in the administration and governing of this vast and diverse land. And even though modern India and some liberated souls pay little interest to the purpose and reason behind such nomenclature, it has the habit of creeping in to our thinking at times - not in any derogatory manner, but simply just…

Barve, Khare, Thakeray, Tendulkar, Gavaskar - ah.. Maharashtrian

Kapoor, Khanna, Chopra, Singh - Punjabi

Singh, Singh and Singh -  Sikhs and the Rajputs from Rajasthan

Bannerjee, Chatterjee, Ghosh, Ganguly - Bengali

Balkrishnan, Swaminathan, Ramachandran - South Indian

Mansukhani, Advani, Chugani - Sindhi

Shah, Patel - Gujarati

Nehru, Kachru, Kaul - Kashmiri

Jha, Sinha - Bihari

But Amitabh Bachchan, was a complexity ! And the varied manner in which it was getting pronounced was not helpful at all. It has had its fare share of distortions -

Mitab Singhya - for those that identify with my Sikh genes from my Mother

Ahmedtab - getting that Muslim tinge into it

Ameeta vachan - for those that have felt feminine qualities, and vachan, a promise

Mr Bachmann - on checking in at a New York or European Hotel

And when it gets too complicated and confusing - AB Baby

The Indian, my countrymen, will give it a good try when they first hear it. I talk of times before I joined the movies. Some from the UP and Hindi belt will immediately express reverence because of the Bachchan poet they identify with. Elsewhere they make sincere efforts to get it right. Overseas… thats a different ball game altogether.

Mention the name and there shall be an awkward silence from the other end. Its now become habitual for me to take the initiative and confess to them that it is a difficult name even by our own standards, to pronounce. That comforts them. And by the time we are back slapping each other, its either Abe, or Mr B !!

The Americans have made life so much easier for themselves. They just stick to John and Bill. So what if they were Presidents of the United States of America !

I tire now. It is past 4:15 AM on the 19th of August and I have still to hit the bed. The count meanwhile is 1,012.. whoaaa !! Thats the comments, not the pedometer !!

Love you, baby !!

Amitabh Bachchan or any of the above distortions

It is a tough task to express oneself when emotion has got the better of you Amitabh Bachchan

Singapore   August 17, 2009   Mon 7:35 PM

It is a tough task to express oneself when emotion has got the better of you.

Today I am compelled to take on that task, because emotion has indeed got the better of me.

I never choked when I wrote about my Father's passing or that of my Mother's, nor of any incident that may have been close to it.

But I am choked today. The eyes swell up with that strange liquid that appears involuntarily at moments such as this. The keys and the text that appear in front of me, blur and the fingers move at a pace that have no pre determined design.

Truth has that exceptional quality that, by its admission, has the capability of moving mountains. Mountains in its finite form yes, but also in the other. I choke today because I have been confronted by a mountain of emotion, an emotion that has without any dilution,  presented itself  before me by my extended family. I do not think that there can be any doubt, that when we have confessed, faced truth, been a part of it, or admitted its presence,  that we have not been overcome with overwhelming emotion.

The truth I face today is the limitless love that I have for this family of mine and the limitless love that it reciprocates me with, every day of the year.

I cannot decipher what it is I have done to receive such affection, but now that I have it I am not going to let it disappear.

NO…! I shall not stop writing. NO..! I shall not stop my connect with you. NO…! I am not going anywhere. I am here and shall remain here !

Your reassurance, your faith and your commitment to our humble medium has been beyond measure. I shall never have sufficient strength to ever challenge it. The impregnable walls that we have constructed around our little world, the unbreakable links that have formed within each one of us in our chain of friendship and family, the abstract air of deep understanding and togetherness, is not going to be swayed or dented by any encumbrance. We may totter unsteadily, we may run against obstacles, we may be suppressed through force, BUT .. We shall rise above it all, unscathed, to walk the path we have chosen to walk.

I do not drink. But let me hold a glass to that and say a cheer for the well being of our fraternity.

"Hurting someone is as easy as cutting the tree. But making someone happy is like growing a tree – it takes a lot of time !!"

Another day of relaxed intensity. An apprehension for perceived events. But when it evolved, a feeling of accomplishment and direction. What was it that Einstein said on those that fall into habits of thinking -

"Any man that reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into the lazy habit of 'thinking'…"

I do not possess a brain so its use is very limited and I do not read much either. What would Albert have had to say to that, I wonder. The desire for knowledge and its pursuit has undergone such intense change that all the old adages and sayings of the learned seem redundant. Seem, please note. It is not definitive. If there have been modern interpretations or modes that have been developed to acquire material of importance the end results of all have a base in the classics of the past. Written, spoken or manufactured. In budhi haddiyon mein abhi bhi dam hai. The strength still lies in these old and weary bones !

That little mention of Aishwarya's indisposition has created a media hurricane. Headlines screaming she has swine flu have appeared along with other national news. The paucity of sensationalist material has created a herd mentality towards interpreting that gentle whiff of air into a storm of immense proportions. Getting the news out first has precedence over research and authentication. No, she does not have swine flu. She has improved and is much better and ready to resume work by tomorrow or the day after. I would have kept her home for another week. But …

In spirit word and deed, with you always ~

Amitabh Bachchan

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