Monday, December 12, 2011

BigB's blog 1000 day celebration

There is remorse within because I am unable to respond to all that come

Jalsa , Mumbai             Dec 11/12,  2011            Sun/ Mon  2 : 10 AM
There is remorse within because I am unable to respond to all that come on with their warm and affectionate comments. I did try a few today but then the time factor moves in. The innocent reprimands from the Ef of keeping late hours not being healthy, kicks in and I do wish to honor them else I shall have hell to pay. But since the days are filled with no activity these days it is a challenge that I must fulfill soon.

The little one is by God’s grace doing well and we still have not been able to zero in on a name for her. So many suggestions have been forwarded that it is an exercise in management to run through them all and come to a conclusive figure !! But all is not lost. Soon I hope we shall have some unanimity on this and it shall be shared with pride with the Ef, so help me … God !

The late nights are not late. They are now becoming almost a deliberate effort to remain awake, and keep doing something. The rest of the house is asleep, the doors and windows are shut, the lights have been put out, but mine remain. I just feel at times that going to sleep is such a waste of time. Funny ? No really .. I get involved even after I am below the duvet. It is either catching up with the news or a game that I was unable to witness live, or an old film of mine which is being played making me cringe at the performance and say .. ‘Gosh ! How awful, wish I could get back there again and rectify it !’. It is after deep contemplation that eventually the head shall rest its anxious carrier on pillow and even then, its either the clock, or the mobile, or simply the roof above that starts to build stories in my mind. Images that form from nowhere, that relate to a vision of desired moment, stories that have no meaning but still float above my brain to occupy this time that has been available to it .. It is strange but true .. !! And yes .. the mid night snack, or to be more precise in my case, the post midnight snack is always a welcome delight. Its raw peanuts today and I have just gorged on a handful of them – salted fresh and crunchy !! There are some cookies too, with the delightful presence of chocolate within, but since chocolate has been struck off my list of voluntary eats, I can but stare at their delicious beauty and nothing more. Actually no ! I do not lament the fact that I have left these eatables. That is a definite decision and once made remains made, it will and shall not change.
Sounds too are great company. A plane just took off from the International airfield not too far away and as I hear it roar away I picture the scene within. An international destination, the passengers getting ready for a long haul and stretching out to … SLEEP !! Oh dear ! back to sleep again. But it is resisted.
The clicking of the chiming clock nearby in the corner, informing me every quarter of its Westminster Chime and the hourly gong singing the numbers. Its going to be ringing in three times in a moment … ha ha ha .. subtle way of telling you all what time is it , is it not ? But do not worry ! I shall soon end this litany of mine and close the lights and the power to the MacBook Pro, devour my night medication, freshen up the mouth to bear the strain of a long night, pillow underneath the leg, another at the back, setting the mobil alarm for the morning routine, a quick push of the hand underneath another pillow by the side, eyes shut and then … imagination !! Until .. it all disappears and begins to come alive again at short intervals – I am told a common feat in people of my age ! So in fact if I may summarize, we, that is people and elders of my age, have sleep sessions that last approximately a couple of hours. This is a given .. a pattern. So accept it as a process and live …
So the iPhone 4 has been charged, the BBerry will be charged on another contraption and the Nokia shall keep me abreast of all the ‘conversations’ and messages throughout. There are generous comments that start from the early hours. Life connected adages, sayings of great prophets and soothsayers, home made ‘shairi’, or poetic interventions, people desirous of meets, complaints, ‘pick up the phone’ instructions, seekers of guidance on how to join in on this profession, script ideas … an endless number that needs to be monitored evaluated and attended to ..

So … methinks it is time now to follow all that I have been clamoring about as another roar of a plane drowns my thoughts …
My love to you in abundance ..
And a gentle prayer for Kashmira, who I am told is unwell and in hospital .. get well soon dear lady and come and join us again ..

Amitabh Bachchan 

Jalsa , Mumbai                Dec 10/11,  2011                    Sat/Sun  1 : 54 AM

Its a celebration for the greatest, on the eve of his birthday. He will turn 89 tomorrow, the 11th of December. Exactly 20 years older to me by birth and exactly 2000 years ahead of me in our common vocation. He is my idol and has been since the day I first saw his work. He has been an inspiration not just for me but I am certain to thousands of those that have ever dreamt of facing a camera for the art form called cinema. His presence his aura and his dedication to film shall be documented as ‘before Dilip Kumar and after Dilip Kumar’. He set fresh norms of performance in his acts of excellence, faultless and beyond any kind of improvement. His greatest quality was his connect with those that stood before him in the frame to act. His strength of delivery and his strength of connect with any character he portrayed has been unique and unsurpassable. On the eve of his birthday, I wish him good health and a long life of peace and happiness. He was the best and still is. Dilip Kumar, Yusuf Khan, Dilip Saheb … happy birthday !!

I entered his spacious home after decades. After minor cosmetic changes, it has remained the same. My visits to his place have been limited, but eventful on each occasion. A meeting of the artists and the film fraternity, a midnight informal call, a casual trip to see his excellent skills at badminton, or a shoot at his luxurious lawns during the making of ‘Zameer’ with his wife and my co star Saira ji, Saira Banu ! All have been clearly etched in my mind. And why not ? He was the one actor that we as young students in University broke boundaries and hostel rules to go see his films night after night. His early films had been historic in content and repute – Aan and Shaheed – ones that I still remember seeing in the darkness of cinema halls with the barest minimum facility and comfort. For 4 annas, 25 paise, a quarter of a rupee, we would sit on wooden benches right up in front in the theaters and marvel at what our hero would enact. And among the many that we saw and enjoyed, it was for me always a Dilip Kumar that stood out. Different and distinguished. And always without fault.

And then one day I stood along with him on the sands of Juhu as the camera rolled to give the mahurat shot for ‘Shakti’, the only film that we worked together in. Our first shooting scene in the film was in a jail sequence, where the police official but also my Father in film comes to visit me and tries to convince me that I was taking a wrong path in life and I disagree. Tough to stand in front of one whom you have admired for ages, and disagree with. But it happened and it kept happening day after day, till the film was complete. There were electric moments between him and me in the script, written by that incredible team of writers Salim – Javed, and each moment was filled with the distinction of great and impressive drama.
The film completed its work during the same time when I was injured during ‘Coolie’ and released when I was still recovering from my ailment. The final print was shown to me on a make shift theater put up in Prateeksha, for I was still not well enough to move out of the house. Did I ever imagine many years ago, as I sat in a rather ill equipped theater in a corner of Kathmandu in Nepal, around 1954, that I would one day share the same screen space with this tremendous talent that would explode in front of me. Never ! And it still remains a illusion in my life to have actually been a part of a project which was headed by this thespian ! God has been kind, very kind !!

And in the morning at the studios of Mehboob, the photoshoot for the film ‘Department’ … a cameo of small proportions .. intense and edgy as always with Ram Gopal Varma ..

Good night and may you always be blessed …
Love as ever  …

Amitabh Bachchan

How delicate the eye, how delicate the vision

Jalsa , Mumbai                Dec  9/10 ,  2011                         Fri/Sat 12 : 58 AM  
 Ankur Churiwal , your birthday on the 10th … we wish you a life without pain and struggle  …
 How delicate the eye, how delicate the vision, how honest its reading and its equipment. So many instruments to decipher what ails the swelling inside, and how great the inventions that monitor and bring some solace to our lives.
When ignorance is bliss, why bother with intelligence. Errrm .. some sanity in that but not entirely. Posed intelligence would give ignorance stiff competition in its veracity, would it not ? The wise know all. They are silent of nature, tolerant and understanding. To a point. After which the heavens explode and the advent of apocalypse could never be too distant. That is the fear that drives us all in all kinds of adversity.
So I checked in with the eye surgeon by late evening, to examine the swell within. A trauma, a bruise or simply the entrance of certain bodies within the system could cause an aberration, not necessarily good natured. Creating illusions when the sight has been lost, could only be the work of an almighty force, unseen and unexperienced and unwanted. Permanently.
The specialists look into our eyes with machinery that boggles technology at times. The astrophysicists and the discoverers of the anomaly of the universe, are perhaps the ones that would appreciate the presence of that force which no one has explanation for. The other day they found another earth like object in the hemisphere which they claimed had water on it. There, but twice the size of the earth and rotating at slightly different speed than the earth. Wonder and excitement on it prevails. But that is all that it shall do for the moment. Create interest and then die down, like most other unwanted situations in life.

And yes it is now confirmed news – work stations on the set are the best in the world. I did spend some time on it today and the sound of the directors instruct, pulls away from you all that is unconnected. It is a magnet which insists on being valid and noticed even though they may use the dexterity of our team to point it out bring it to the fore. There would I should imagine, be some embarrassment on that count. So what .. let there be a embarrassment. The rogue shall be known at least. In most cases they are seen through, transparent and without seeming scruples. They believe the rest of the world is as dumb as they are themselves. Making appearances for the sake of justification and false truth, is always seen through and ignored. Or at best blocked out and removed. Permanently !!

There is time now and still, to own up the ownership. In wrong forgiveness is paramount. I may sound defeated but we all know that indeed it has been an achievement and an accomplishment. God is the last resort for desperation. Problem is, before confronting Him, its either resolved or kept in abeyance for life.

Medication for the issue of vision has been administered. If the eye is not shut, it shall remain open till it is forced shut … I do hope such situations do not arrive ..
So for the moment, its a good night with love written all over the duvet ..
Amitabh Bachchan     

I return from an event by ICICI Prudential Life Insurance where the Bank and its counterparts celebrate

Jalsa , Mumbai               Dec  8/9,  2011                   Thu/Fri  12 : 24 AM

I return from an event by ICICI Prudential Life Insurance where the Bank and its counterparts celebrate the success of this endeavor, by honoring those that have worked tirelessly in bringing the name of this new venture right to the top under the able guidance of its head M/s Chanda Kochar. A lady at the head of this massive organization doing wonders after it went through a bleak period. She was not the head at the time of my first association with ICICI. And I remember her vividly taking personal interest in my campaign’s that were done during those early years. Her daughter had written a book and I was asked by her to come and inaugurate it, which I did. A quiet and gentle lady with an infectious smile, she has remained that grateful parent for her child who has on several occasions never forgotten that one moment of obligation. During my Father’s ‘chautha’ she had quietly made her way to our house, sat through the prayers and left. A person of her stature may not have, but she did and I shall ever remember that gracious gesture of hers. ICICI is one of the leading Banking organizations of the country, with International presence all over and is regarded as a symbol of integrity and value.
Little gestures in life mean a lot. It is the effect they have on an individual that makes all the difference. Mr Dhiru Bhai Ambani, the founder of the massive Ambani empire, once told his sons. Miss a persons birthday or wedding, no problem, but never miss that moment when there is a bereavement. That shall always be remembered and respected. When I had gone through all the problems of the Company, the failures at work, the humiliations of creditors and a million other legal compulsions against me, he had graciously offered to help. But I had declined it. When by the grace of the Almighty matters brightened up and a light was seen by me at the end of this very dark tunnel, which had threatened to finish me for good, and when I attained my first success after the initial start of KBC way back in 2000, I had on a personal visit to the Ambani House encountered him again. He sat at some distance in their lawn among respected and high dignitaries of the land, but on seeing me called out and asked me to sit beside him, much to the wonder of those that were already seated by him. Not just that but he spoke out – ” This man I respect. He was down and out but he got up and stood back on his own feet on his own effort, and today he is back where he was before, in fact even better.” I shall never forget that moment.
Tonight at the event for ICICI, the largest portion of the evening was spent in glorifying my journey through the many years I have devoted to my craft. There were song enactments by dance groups, there were speeches, eulogies, competitions of fans enacting my songs and dialogues. And I could not but feel embarrassed at this huge show of dedication almost, when indeed we were there to acknowledge the accomplishment of others who had worked in bringing immense glory and acclaim to this most important and recognized organisation !!
I feel blessed and most honored by this affection and which I know I am least deserving of. But how does one bend the rules of the game, once it starts. I sit back and even though the face shows wonder and uncertainty of what transpires in front, one cannot but think of the upheaval that takes place inside on the reality. My inadequate contribution, if at all it can be called that, cannot possibly match the great endeavors of so many accomplished others. Those that have pioneered historic events and milestones in their vocation. Those that we have admired all our lives and seek inspiration from – the great minds, of literature and writing and thought. We are so inept, or rather I am so inept, at so many factions of the world which I should have knowledge of, but am in pretense of them. There is an awareness within to educate to catch up, to possess that which others perceive I already have, but have never had opportunity to. Well that would be as lame an excuse as any. But really the effort to imbibe and learn must come soon and not before it is too late. A small beginning is they say, a large effort in the direction that we desire to be. That is the direction I must take, the path I must follow, without ‘ stopping or bending or looking back ‘ on this ‘path of fire’ !! Agnipath !! There shall be temptations and obstacles aplenty, but never shall we ‘ask for the shade of a single leaf on a densely populated tree’. We must move on in ‘blood sweat and tears’ to achieve and cross this path this fired path, this path of life. Our existence ….

Love and more ..

Amitabh Bachchan 

Let not the hour of the night or the call of an early morning here on our hom

Jalsa , Mumbai             Dec 7/8,  2011                 Wed/Thu 1 : 17 AM
Let not the hour of the night or the call of an early morning here on our home, distract you from the meaning of our presence. We live and breath an existence which has been constructed to give to share to love and perhaps to have permanence with. Devising means to be away and distant from such, shall not be able to destroy us. But it shall, crease the horizon with its uncalled for presence. Horizons invite ambition, peaks, destination and the fulfillment of ones passion. A strain here and there enlarges upon us the onus of perfection. We will strive and endeavor to get there, but to find it stained would stain us as well. Clean the path then, wipe out the mist of construction left overs, wash it down with compassion and belief, that this is what was desired and this is how it shall remain – free, fair and friendly !!

 In a profession such as the one I find myself in, there must come a time, when people would define to me who I was to myself. It is a perception which at times allows us the liberty to fall to its belief. This may not always be liked and could be the first signs of getting lost within oneself. It would be prudent then to take a good look and conclude that one would rather be myself in direct terms, than some construct of the outside world.
Good night dear ones … I have lost again the content of a much longer post .. I think bigadda shuts out the lights as the cleaners come in at this hour !!!
Amitabh Bachchan

I struggled with angels and devils, that’s true

 Jalsa , Mumbai          Dec  6 ,  2011                  Tue  11 : 34 PM

I struggled with angels and devils, that’s true,
was nurtured by fire and guided by light,
and even impossible things I could do,
but what is possible I can’t get right.
~ mascha kaleko
We may be adept at doing the impossible, but when there is opportunity to do the possible, we never can get it right. An arguable judgement of fact or is it just philosophical rambling. I dare not express my obvious thought. It could fall in with the possible, which would be subjected to the fears and dangers of not getting it right. Do we really fear the dangers of not getting it right. Do we really. How many of us are even drawn towards the right. Not the political right. The right way the right right ! You know, when we attempt to exercise something with the impression of knowing that this shall be the right thing. Or after having achieved what has been set out to be right. It is possible to be in such condition, because we did set out initially to do what was promised as a possibility.
One may wonder if what they profess as a possibility could end up being the right thing. But professing and performing are miles in between. I do think that opportunity comes alone and without any baggage or history. And only when there is opportunity can we see the possibility of perhaps a right. The effort begins and begins well and well intentioned in its approach, but what does go wrong for it to not be right is what I search, and would imagine, so would others.
Pretense, perhaps could be one of the reasons for not getting it right. I would imagine it to be the worst of situations to be in. One of the most taxing and excruciating businesses of the world could be, to be what one is not. Why does one be what one is not ? Lack of being what they see in others. What do they really see in others which they feel deprived of ? Money, wealth, character, joy, happiness, absence of worry … what ?
How do we really know ? We do not ! And till we do not we shall tend to struggle with the obsession that something is not right. Acceptance, here in life, is an accomplished art form. To accept defeat. To accept that the other is better. To accept that even though that is so, there shall always be something that you may possess that shall never be available to the other. The other that you feel has it all.
Those that profess that they have it all, are the only ones that possess nothing, or almost nothing. Those that have it generally never accept that they have all, either because they are generally unaware, or modesty keeps them tied to a string that if stretched for too long could break in on an immodest state. Those that announce their presence in the loudest terms, diminish the other to irreparable fault, make excessive attempts to continuously teach the other of their mistake or incapability, are the ones that hide, through this ingenious methodology, their own misgivings and errors. The louder their claims of their perfection the baser their reality. A pitiable state to be, to live, indeed to even survive, because it is at the end of it just that – a need to profess that they are the better the right.

I wrote more and in greater depth, but as always the facility broke down just when it was time to upload. I shall not attempt to recollect and relive those moments. It would be a travesty to want to reflect back and flex the memory to an extent which would … what … bring back that which has already been thought of. A waste I would say. I would rather that I relived another fresh moment with possibilities of greater thought. That would be novel and true in representation. What has gone has gone. To a stable that announces stale. We have much to bring new and exciting thought, so bring it and be with it, before it is lost to the space of the waves in the air.

I wish you well and the comfort of my devotion to our home, this platform of family … ever !
Good wishes for the night ! May there be pleasant dreams of accomplishment and joy, devoid of sorrow and misgivings. May there be laughter and happiness in great bounty and may it build itself around you in solemn protection and guise ..
Love you ..
Amitabh Bachchan 

Renate , Magdalena and Nandita in the house

Jalsa , Mumbai           Dec 5 , 2011          Mon 11 : 15 PM
  Renate , Magdalena and Nandita in the house .. an extended family spending extended time over gifts and India and travel and more .. a delight .. and hoping that those that come to India for the first time go back with happy memories and the desire to come back again for a longer period of time.

Its time to pick up that bundle of scripts that lie untouched in front and to read and go through them with a certain consideration. It is time to finalize that one film which shall give me the impetus of a challenge. It is time to move in front with eagerness and will, to claim and to study to work and to expect .. it is time !!

Dev Anand that human body with exceptional inhuman skills .. incessant will, speed of thought and compilation of desires. Committed to the art of cinema in more ways than one. I first saw him on a personal private visit to then Bombay in the early 60′s. I cannot remember where the exact location was, but I do know that it was in South Bombay in one of the more elegant shopping centers, inside a store of clothing material. A flash of activity preceded him and then he appeared, sharp, quick in walk, eager and conscious eyes, darting about almost surveying the terrain in one look. Some material was being unfolded in front of him, perhaps a dress he may have wanted for his next film. A quick decision, a feel of the cloth a few words to his team and he was gone .. just gone, before you could spell Dev !!
The other occasion was when I worked in Calcutta as an executive. The evenings there were always full of the joy of living. Calcutta was the swinging town of the days. The best night life the restaurants the bands and the music and that one place where all of us would struggle to get in – Princes at the Grand Hotel on Chowringhee. The guest list was exclusive and the tables expensive. We were never in any condition to afford the entrance, but a kind and benevolent friend had invited us over for a meal. And there sitting on the upper tier as we lounged through our meal, the band struck up a roll and in entered Dev Anand, with Shirley Maclaine ! She was on her way to explore the mountains and the Himalayas, he was there to do charity for a social event. I still remember that one sentence that he had to say about his guest from Hollywood, that she had accompanied him ‘for a cause that was basically Indian’ and how important it was for us all to contribute to it and understand the emotion behind her gesture. He disappeared soon after but left all of us gasping for breath, with the speed of his appearance and disappearance.
On joining the Industry and in those early days of uncertainty and struggle I would be shooting at Mehboob Studios, where Dev Saheb had his office. He would often be seen there, rushing in through the corridors, waving an encouraging word or two to those that filed past him, as he would unmount from his modest Fiat car, sitting on the front seat alongside the driver. He always sat in the front seat, the window down and his hand stylishly placed on the sill, as though the cameras were continuously rolling even when he was not at work.
He would always acknowledge an occasion or a moment of importance in the others life that he came in touch with. A brief note, hand written in large fonts were his trade mark elements. When he desired a meeting, he would volunteer to come over, rather than speak on phone or expect the other to come over to his place. Always gracious, always considerate and always with a smile of positivity on his handsome face.
We would copy his style of dress. In particular the folded sleeve over the pullover that he showed in that immortal song down the slopes of a hill station – ‘khoya khoya chand .. khula aasmaan .. And when Shekhar Kapoor, the eminent director, his cousin, who was in the Delhi University at about the same time as when we were, would attend those mixed socials in similar fashion, he would be the envy of all of us !
Jaya and he were shooting for two different films at a snow clad hill station – either Shimla or Mussorie and she would narrate to me, we were not married then, of how Dev Saheb would be the first to climb up to the location, high up on the range, whilst all the other youngsters would be struggling and breathing hard to get up there.
He wanted me to release his autobiography that he had written with great enthusiasm and care and made several calls messages and personal visits to make sure I came for the event. Of course just a call from him would have been sufficient, but it was his way of doing things that mattered. Once done, he came over personally again to thank me for attending. In todays times one does not see anyone do that. He last spoke to me on the phone when he was wanting me to come to his premiere of ‘Charge Sheet’. He complimented Jaya and me for having brought up Abhishek with good values and culture. Apparently Abhishek had bumped into him at Delhi airport and never hesitated to seek his blessings by touching his feet in reverence. He had valued that moment. At the premier he was there before all the guests arrived seated in the foyer with a motley crowd of enthusiasts around him. I was to be at another event but since I had promised I would come, I went across. He was frail and weak and needed assistance to pick him up from his chair as he insisted on standing up to greet me – ‘ ek photo kheechte hain yaar, Amitabh’ he strained his vocals for it and when it was over thanked me for coming and for the flowers that I had got him.
” Tum aa gaye , bahut achcha laga” he announced aloud now and gave me the permission to leave after.
In his 80′s he dressed like a 20 year old .. and carried it off too. I have met many ladies that have married their husbands because they looked like Dev Anand. Public swooning became a fad among the girls in conservative India, when they would encounter him on screen. He would attend a wedding reception at a large ground filled with guests and on sighting him the entire mass would move, almost driven magnetically towards him. And he was not the only star at the venue !
I read somewhere yesterday in the media where he was talking on his life to an eminent senior journalist that to remain a star you needed never to change your style and manner. Do not surprise your audiences and fans too much. Keep within the range that they identify you with. I doubt people went to see his films to discover a character change. They went to see Dev Anand and they got what they wanted all the time.

Does that explain why the all time greatest hero of American films, Mr John Wayne, never got off his horse in all his films ???

Figure it out, dear ones as I slip under the duvet …
Good night and my love to all …
Amitabh Bachchan 

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