Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The final serial of Tudors over a splash of water on the face into bed and onto the blog

Jalsa , Mumbai      Dec  6/7 ,  2010       Mon/Tue  1 : 50 AM

The final serial of 'Tudors' over, a splash of water on the face, into bed and onto the blog … It is coming to 2 : 00 AM in the morning … never too late to get back to the FmXt !

What a glorious Tv production. Rich, authentic and with such great amounts of expenditure that it looked better than most film productions. And … a discovery ! Annabelle Wallis who plays one of the 6 wives of Henry the VIII, was in a film with me here in India. The one directed and produced by my dear friend Romesh Sharma which had introduced his son Karan - " Dil Jo Bhi Kahe ".

Goodness ! Annabelle has grown into a fine young lady, with great poise and beauty. And she was just a little girl in the film with me. Ah ! Well … they all grow up so soon, it is difficult to imagine. Closer home look at little Navya, all grown up and lady like much beyond her years !! God bless them !!

The serials become so engrossing and one gets so involved, that it becomes difficult tearing yourself away from it. Even if there is an important dental appointment, you wish that they would finish drilling and scraping and injecting whatever they were doing, so you could quickly get back to it. The advantage really of seeing them on DvD is that there are no commercial breaks and there is greater pleasure in watching all the episodes one after the other like one long big film.

'Tudors' was excellent narrative, great choice of actors and such committed performances, you get transported into the world of the 1500's England with all its intricate tales and intrigues that go along with most monarchies. And then having spent three days with it from morning to night, you begin to feel as though you are one of them by the time it ends. I must admit when I got up from it I did suddenly feel regal and commanding as dear ol' Henry ! Ha ha ha  !!

The media introspection and its assault on its own members with regard to BarkhaGate still continues and the editorials and columnists continue to use some of the harshest expressions in their summations. Loss of credibility in the profession and one that has always been the single most important factor that has identified their existence, has been so badly damaged that there does not seem to be any respite coming their way.

So Navya turned 13 today and it was wonderful connecting with all of them in Delhi. Her first dance party and I believe they just danced non stop for the entire duration. Which had been strictly put to 2 hrs, from 6 - 8 PM !

And it takes you back to your own school days of the time and the anxiety and stress of organizing mixed parties. The guests, the music, the eats, where to hold it, how many will come, the self consciousness of inviting guests and then making them welcome and comfortable. It all seemed improbable then, and now almost laughable. But there it is.

In between the Tudors a rather complicated visit to the dentist again. More digging and cleaning and filling and sealing and capping and laser ing and x raying and consoling and then that last parting shot … see you in another 3 days for the final finish. And then a gentle reminder that the adjoining area may be giving trouble too … but we'll see that when it happens a little later !! Its all very professional and neatly worked out, with some of the most modern gadgetry, so the discomfort gets reduced … at least while you are on the 'couch'. Its when you get back and the anesthetic has worn away that you start hearing the music !! Any way its all in good humor and efficient handling .. the doc and his staff most caring and gentle …

Lord ! 'Tudors' has ended ! What does one do tomorrow ?? Will have to find another engaging Tv nugget ! Lets see !

Love to all …

Amitabh Bachchan


Happy Birthday to little Navya Naveli she just turned 13 at midnight

Jalsa , Mumbai             Dec 5/6 ,  2010         Sun/Mon   1 : 26 AM

Happy Birthday to little Navya-Naveli .. she just turned 13 at midnight .. enters her teens .. not little any more … was just born in front of us the other day, and now … time flies ..

Have been glued to the Tv and 'The Tudors', a fascinating tele serial on the history of Great Britain during the 1500's. The intrigues and calamities and adventures of the throne during the time of Henry the Eighth. The associations and the social and diplomatic deliberations in the Courts of the Kingdom, laced with infinite lustful encounters among royalty and commoners. So engrossing that I found it difficult to leave. But the blog beckoned and even though slumber poses heavily within, I have with a splash of cold water over my face and neck woken up fresh as a fiddle to connect.

A Sunday of relaxed living, apart from the 'audience' at the gate, which incidentally had to be done twice, due to the swelling crowds. I had missed quite a few of them recently due to my shoot timings and it was wonderful to find that their intensity had not reduced. They all seemed joyous and excited and with voice. The oft heard of which was centered around Kaun Banega Crorepati !!

Talking of which, Headlines Today did a wonderful tribute to the show at 2:30 in the afternoon, conducted by Denzil .. he having sms'd me of its timing before so I could tune in on time. Thank you Headlines Today and Denzil. Its nice to see something positive, after continuous bashings !!

I wonder if you remember films like 'Khoon Pasina' and 'Mr Natwarlal' … well .. they were directed by Rakesh Kumar, who worked as an assistant to Prakash Mehra on 'Zanjeer'. For long I had not heard from him or of him after our very close relationships during the making of these films and for some after. A few days ago I suddenly got an sms from him just out of the blue, and we exchanged thoughts, and spoke on a gift I had given him in 1979. He reminded me of it and it was wonderful to have connected with him after such a long time. 'Time' really was the essence of the sms and 'time' it was that reiterated our connect. I am happy that I was able to bring a smile back on his face.

Those were the good old days ! The shoots for both these films conducted in such relaxed and jovial atmospheres that one can only think back on those times with a smile on our faces. Scripts and dialogues in those days were written virtually on set. And improvisations to scenes and their enactments were the order of the day. Innovations were discovered on the spur of the moment and somehow there was a feel of great satisfaction even in those dis orderly moments.

And … every time we got stuck on a scene, or could not find a solution of how it needed to be enacted or written or performed, Rakesh in his generosity would order - " Scene shifted to Mumbai ! ", when indeed it was scheduled for Kashmir, the most important and prominent outdoor location before Switzerland was discovered by the Indian Film Industry. And sure enough it was the Chandivili Studios, the outdoor location of which I spoke about earlier in detail, where we would eventually land up.

Great moments and even greater memories !!

It is late again - 2:07 AM and I must rest !

More tomorrow and with love ….

Amitabh Bachchan


Overwhelmed by the kind of response that Shweta

Jalsa , Mumbai      Dec 4 , 2010      Sat  10 : 17 PM

Overwhelmed by the kind of response that Shweta's piece on KHJJS received, I cannot but feel proud of her and her abilities in giving the film a perspective, that really has stirred many. Two of the journalist critics, Rajeev Masand and Anupama Chopra, who trashed the film were sent Shweta's comments by me and though both accepted the view point that Shweta had made, they still wanted to 'agree to disagree' on the issue. Fair enough and passable ! Each individual opinion shall in todays times remain just that - an individual opinion. But what shocked me was a comment by Deepa Gehlot in her review of the film in the Afternoon, where she stated that the story or the film was 'not relevant in todays times' !! Deepa is a senior journalist and one that has been decorated if I am not mistaken, by institutions of repute, for her journalistic skill and accumen. For her to have made such a comment in print for public consumption is indeed most distressing. Deepa Gehlot, the fact that you have had the freedom to write what you did, is indeed the most 'relevant' factor of KHJJS. Young children in their 13's and 14's gave up their lives so you Deepa Gehlot, could become a journalist in free India. And you say the story is not 'relevant' ??

I am just numbed beyond anything to say more ! I leave it to the EF to comment on it. You may not like the film, but how can you dislike the cause. Young men and women gave up their lives so we could be free from being a slave to a foreigner. What was Deepa trying to suggest ? That had the film been made while we were still under foreign rule, it would have been 'relevant' ???

11 : 00 PM !!

Took a while to get over that most insensitive remark by the 'keepers of the nation' ! Media not having a very good time I am afraid ever since BarkhaGate and Co., took centre stage !!

Spent a wonderful quiet evening yesterday with Vidhu Vinod Chopra and a delicious Kashmiri dinner on the open to the elements terrace, of his aesthetically decorated new abode. Life, cinema, poetry, literature and creative futures being the topics of discussion and a small recital by me of my Father's poems. It was peaceful and invigorating and we plan to get together again in a few days to do some more recitals in the company of his close friends Raju Hirani and Abhijat Joshi who have been greatly instrumental in the direction and writing of his recent successful films. We have been wanting to do this for a very long time and finally we are getting down to it. At last some volunteered interest in matters literary !

In between meetings today, I got a time break to sit and twiddle my fingers on my piano at the office. And it was delightful. For one that has no knowledge of music, or how it is played, it has been another desire of mine to educate and learn this most ethereal vocation. I think I had written about it earlier too on my visit to a wedding in Lucknow, and now the desire has reached a stage where I must invest time towards it somewhat seriously. What ecstasy and joy to be able to spend idle time pursuing an art form purely for your own individual delight and benefit. A bit late I must admit, but never too late !

Abhishek and Aishwarya left for Kolkata this morning where he has just been awarded his first Best Actor Award for 'Raavan', at an award ceremony conducted by one of the largest media conglomerates of the country and certainly the largest in Bengal, the ABP group. Its owner and Chairman, Aveek Sarkar a most affable and gracious gentleman, a connoisseur of the arts and who had once invited me to the famous and well recognized Telegraph debate, a prestigious yearly event that he and his Group conduct with some of the most important literary and political luminaries of the country. I remember being pitted against some of the most honored debaters of the country, including the effervescent Mani Shankar Iyer ! It is conducted in the large and voluminous Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium having a capacity of about 20, 000 people. For such a large number to be interested in debate, speaks volumes about the literary interest and quotient of the Bengali, a fraternity that has always patronized culture and arts and the finer elements of life.

Abhishek and Aishwarya have just smsed me to say that they have fallen in love with the marvelous city of Kolkata. A city with passion and appreciation, that has the capacity to lift your spirits to a most enviable limit.

Tomorrow evening they attend a special premier for the film KHJJS there, and considering that the story revolves around heroes that are household names in West Bengal, it would be interesting to see what Kolkata thought of the film.

The traffic sound down below on the street diminishes, the digital clock flashes 11 : 37 : 32, its red lights in digital excellence, keeping the darkness of the night illuminated and my soft bunch of head rests restless to be rested upon.

Good night dearest ones … till the following then …

Amitabh Bachchan


I went to watch Khelen Hum Je Jaan Se this evening, as an anxious sister BigB

Jalsa , Mumbai      Dec  3/4 , 2010    Fri/Sat   1 : 41 AM

Three issues have occupied my mind today, all of them important, and worthy - the digital universe, the media vs media war on BarkhaGate and the review my daughter Shweta wrote to me personally on the film 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se'.

The digital world was fascinating and complicated and expansive. It demonstrated great potential and in a sense gave me a frightening feel of where we were headed as far as communication was concerned. Equally frightening was the debate and discussions that have filled our Tv screens and the print media on BarkhaGate. And finally the comment of the film of Abhishek, 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se' , by his sister Shweta.

As a parent and as most other parents, we shall always be protective and concerned about our progeny. Yes we are protective towards them and partial ; what else would one expect parents to be. My status as Abhishek's father shall and will always remain as that of a father and a friend as I have on many an occasion stated. If I shall have the liberty to express my opinion and thought on him in a personal capacity, through a medium which is in the public domain, many have and will continue to look upon it, as a deliberate support in promoting my own kin. As a parent I am proud and honest enough to admit that what you suspect is indeed correct. Yes I have done it and shall continue to do it ! It is my personal individual right to do so ! This is a personal platform, one that was initiated by me and one that has been nurtured for the past 958 DAYS with the kindest and most loving support of my EF, my extended family. My opinion and remark is single. As a patronizer of the medium you have the right to agree or disagree with what I express. Many have done so in the past. In a democratic free world it is welcomed and should be so. To disuade me from this act, is not welcome. If there is heavy disagreement, disinterest and fault on this, a debate or discussion or a revertal is something that such formats should be encouraged to do. But … to pass judgement on the act, to be accusatory on it, to lay blame on it, is not welcome either.

I saw the film KHJJS a few days before the premier last night and saw it again. I did not comment on it nor did I give any thought or opinion on it because of the determined effort by sections of the media, that have spent endless amounts of energy, to find ways and means to crucify and bury whatever I may have to say in support of the subject. This act too could be looked upon as supportive and being partial to my kin, for, I have in a sense, protected him from being ostracized as a result of my involvement in the process. Fair enough ! But … I have not been able to restrain myself from putting across to you what my daughter Shweta had to say on the film and I most humbly present it here for you. May I also unabashedly confess here to you, that I am in agreement with her impressions ….

I went to watch Khelen Hum Je Jaan Se this evening, as an anxious sister.
It was a small screen, and the hall wasn't full. My anxiety doubles.
Then the movie begins.
I would say I spent a good half hour of the movie a vested party. Wishing and
hoping people were liking what they saw hence unable to form my own opinion
of what I was watching in earnest.
Somewhere, I cannot say when, I was transported. To an easier, simpler life. To Chittagong.

KHJJS is a small obscure story, lost in the annals of history to the far more flamboyant
martyrdom's this country has witnessed. But it has a big heart.
It does not manipulate and lull you with fancy cinematography. The character's are matter of fact
almost to the point of being one dimensional. No cutesy asides of childhood. You are never exposed
to their personal lives, barring brief episodes of the boys taking money for the cause from their parents.
Even our hero Surjya Sen does not have obscene amounts of reel wasted on close up's or flatteringly lit shots. There
is nothing poetic about him. In fact at one point he almost is unlikeable. How does a man sacrifice children and women to
a cause and continue hiding and plotting and saving himself. I wanted to see him do the brave thing, walk out and surrender so
the lives of the young conspirators would be saved. Nothing of the sort happens. Surjya lives the cause 'Kranti". He lives to
fight another day and that is why he in essence lives. He is hard this Masterda, even the adoring gazes from the beauteous
Kalpana do not deter him. Relegated to the background for a large portion of the movie, it is not a quintessential hero's role. I am
proud of Abhishek for taking it on.
The director is a man who has an important story to tell and he does not waste time in getting down to it.
The dialogues literal, no romantic speeches on 'desh bhakti'. In short for an audience that is pampered with plush locations,
nuanced dialogues and breathtaking cinematography this film comes across as rather stark.
I am a weeper, it takes very little to make me cry. I sat through the entire movie
dry eyed, barring the climax. But I watched, I understood and most importantly I thought.

I do hope people go to watch this movie. Not because my brother acts in it. I hope they go and watch this movie
because it deserves to be seen, this story deserves to be heard and those brave young boys deserve to be saluted.

When the movie ended, I was in no state to speak. Overwhelmed and drained from crying I got into my car and drove away.
Many movies have made me proud to be an Indian. This one, made me embarrassed of calling myself a citizen of this country.
The lives we enjoy today were fought hard for. KHJJS taught me that. My children enjoy this freedom because someone
else sacrificed their childhood to ensure it. Tomorrow I will take my son for his football match and he will stake his right over the field
he plays on knowing he cannot be thrown of it on the whim of a foreigner, unless he gets a red card that is. He can do this because other boys
his age died to ensure it. My daughter turns 13 in two days and she would not have known a day of struggle, and I pride myself
as a parent that she doesn't need to, that her needs are met. This luxury is hers because many mothers lost their sons to the struggle for independence, with equal amount of pride. How many of us have forgotten and forgotten so easily. How callously we have moved on and let our nation fall into such disrepair and disrepute it angers me, it embarrasses me, it shames me.
If a movie makes you think, makes you question then to me it is movie well worth watching.

I walked into KHJJS an anxious sister, I walked out an Indian.
Allow this movie to convert you the way it did me.

I read reviews of the film by two other movie critics, Rajeev Masand and Anupama Chopra and have sent them what Shweta had to say. I also sent her comment to Subhash K Jha, whose review seemed to catch the essence of what Shweta felt. I did this not because I want to oppose what a designated critic has to say. I did this because of my belief that a film critics point of view is a singular independent one, and one which because of the importance and weight of the medium it patronizes, tends most effectively, to leave a strong and almost conclusive impression on the minds of the reader. For a 500 million audience base - taking a liberal approximate figure - to form opinion from one single source, is to me a somewhat incongruous situation. And I would therefore like to also have the liberty of putting across other opinions too, because today, my access to social networking is as valuable and impressionable as the medium of a print or electronic medium. And no where has this been more strongly demonstrated than in the recent BarkhaGate controversy and debate. And no where has this been more strongly commented upon than in this article by a prominent journalist from the DNA paper in their editorial column  -


This to me is fair and free journalism ! This to me is confirmation that the much decorated and illusive fraternity of the media is also accountable. That it cannot pretend any more to be 'holier than thou'. That the opinion of the mass audience, the common man and woman, has now got the freedom and access to not just express themselves, but to be able to change the monopoly opinion of a few 'opinion makers' of the community they inhabit. That the response that you give to my social networking platform can and will become the response that an entire nation can and will accept. That something that yours truly was expressing through years and years of belief, has finally come true. That this acceptance came through to me from a senior journalist of the Film Industry. That the impression of me being a media hater has been finally laid to rest. That this was not my comment, but one that came  from the journalist herself. That all of you my EF my FmXt have proved beyond all doubt that the power of impression and opinion lies not just with 4879 journalists of the country, but in your very capable hands.  And that finally  this comes as an endorsement of that famous tag line '… because the truth involves us all', ironically, the creative property in all its promotional publicity, of the prominent newspaper of the nation - The Indian Express !!

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury - I rest my case !!

Amitabh Bachchan


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