Sunday, April 8, 2012

It is a healthy mix of the Indian Classical in Raag Basant

Jalsa , Mumbai                     Apr 7/8 ,  2012                     Sat/Sun  1 : 09 AM

Magdalena celebrated her birthday yesterday and we wish her belated greetings. Happiness always, fulfillment and all the joys that life could bestow upon you .. 

And now at the music studio a Song of Peace .. an effort to bring sanity amidst all the violence and evil … an attempt to gather communities together and to lend their individual might in furthering this cause …
It is a healthy mix of the Indian Classical in Raag Basant, vocals by Khan Saheb a distinguished vocalist from afar, Aadesh, a Philharmonic from London along with an entire chorus, and bits and pieces of a rather out of tune AB !
We propose to put it up in concert here to collect funds for the families of the security police men that lost their lives in the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai. A noble cause, I thought, for, the ones that make the sacrifice are the ones whose families suffer the most. Those that have left us cannot be back with us, but as citizens, the least we can do for them, would be to remember the moment and offer some help to those that grieve.
It was to happen in February, but the surgery held it back and needs planning again.

I travel again tomorrow … to Pune, for the opening of a spanking new Stadium for the Pune Warriors, an IPL cricket team, that made an astonishing win against a formidable opponent last night. I must admit that having no work, or rather recuperating so I can get one, has driven me to the television with some expectation. Timings of sporting events, interesting serials, both from the country and abroad have become increasingly attractive. The day used to revolve around my work schedules earlier. Now they revolve around the next game or show on the box. It is most habit forming. And may I say it has become an attractive pastime. I look forward to it. Find out the schedules from the press, and work my timings around it … such joys within !!
I am a little pressed for time again today. The clock watch has been inattentive. It is past the 1 : 30 AM mark, a description that shall have severe reactions from the Ef, I do know ..
So … good night dear ones and my wishes for a pleasant night ..
Amitabh Bachchan

All the greats of the cricketing world and then the sensation Rajnikanth

Jalsa , Mumbai                  Apr  6 ,  2012                     Fri  9 : 43 PM


With all the greats of the cricketing world and then the sensation Rajnikanth … these were the ones I spoke about the other day, the honor and the privilege to be among them, to learn to gather to imbibe and emulate. Its always such a humbling moment ! Glad that I had the opportunity to be in their midst.
The second round of the Gujarat Tourism campaign is getting ready and I was up at 6 am to do the dub. Early mornings are always healthy for me to do this. The mind and the body and the voice is fresh, the streets are relatively free from traffic and it is generally a lot more quiet – fewer flights taking off from nearby Juhu airport which do bring a take in process to a halt. The theater too is less busy and at that hour in the morning, it is never a problem to get a booking. BR Dubbing is the one I generally like dubbing at. It has been a favorite of mine for years. The location is close – about 5 mins at that hour – and the recordist is conversant with your voice and method of dubbing which is a huge benefit. BR Dubbing is the studio belonging to Late Mr BR Chopra, built inside his own residence, modern and with some of the latest equipment. It was one of the first dubbing studios to get the latest systems in place, where loops did not have to be cut and prepared to dub for each particular artist. Normally in the early days, the scene or portion to be dubbed used to be cut from the copy of the negative, pasted into a loop, which was then loaded on to the projector, which then kept playing it again and again … but only that one looped scene or portion of a scene. BR brought the first system where no loops were required. The entire film was loaded on to the projector and had a fast forward and rewind system so that which ever portion came up for a dub you just ran the film till there and then rewound it to start again. It was a lot faster than the loop system. For an artist to dub it was always convenient to get back to the portion to be dubbed as quickly as possible, so that you remained with the mood and did not have to work yourself again and again to capture the same intensity with which the scene was shot. Most dubs were done months after the shoot was over and it was difficult to remember the exact temperament, or at times if the general recording was not of quality, to get the lip sync and the dialogues right. The abandoning of the loop system was a huge relief to the direction department. A lot of labor had to be gone into to prepare for the dub. With the rewind system it became a lot easier and faster and convenient. But … then came in the digital world and it did away with the rewind system altogether. A CD was downloaded and then at the touch of a button within a hundredth of a second the cue to dub from was obtained. Also if you were out of sync in a take by a few frames the machine had the ability to move the dialogue up and down to bring it in order. Much like what happens at song recording studios. The computer is fed with the right notes, the artist, someone as out of tune like myself sings a song, and it is fed into the computer which brings the singing into tune automatically, and you come out sounding glorious. As glorious as a professional singer !!
The equipments too have been made a lot more compact as technology has progressed. Space conservation is the key gain. Large areas required for theaters now have given way to a compact little room perhaps a 6′by 6′ and a small tv screen is enough to provide a visual of the film to dub and that is it ..
How times change !!
Recent developments in filming too are going through a vast change. In time maybe the artist too shall become extinct. A virtual image could be doing all his work for him, or her. Created visually on a machine. With many other DNA and medical discoveries taking place, I read somewhere that there could be a process where they could prolong life till as long as one wished. Death would be obsolete. Wonder how life and society would handle that ..
Ah ! well … no worries for me at this point. We’re not going to be around for it in any case  …
My love
Amitabh Bachchan

During the visit to Chennai on meeting the CSK team and Dhoni and Raina

Jalsa , Mumbai          Apr  5 ,  2012                    Thu  11:15 PM

During the visit to Chennai on meeting the CSK team and Dhoni and Raina and all the heroes was such a delight. Rajnikanth coming over to the room for a chat another delight. Then to be taking the cricket oath for the Captains and so humbled in meeting all of them back stage – Rahul Dravid and Sehwag and Saurav Ganguly. I really must have done some good to receive such opportunity to be in the presence of these greats. And always something to learn from each meeting – the way they conduct their lives, their views on important issues, what troubles them, what excites them.

I say all this because I feel sometimes in our busy profession we never spend enough time in pursuing these aspects of life too – meeting and just listening to others. Its a grave fallacy that celebrities have all the answers to all the issues. They do not. And the sooner they realize this the better. And may I say this that there is something to learn from everyone, irrespective of where they stand or who they are. Sometimes the most complex of matters can get the simplest of solutions from some of the most unexpected quarters. Open your mind then to those that perhaps seem inadequate … you will be surprised how much we do not know, and how much we ought to.

Its up at 6 am tomorrow morning – dub for the Gujarat Tourism Campaign second round. And while on the topic, the Department informs me of some rather flattering achievements that have been recognized by an International community. Here it from them then :


You will be glad to know that Gujarat has been awarded “Best Emerging Tourism Destination” by Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) recently at Berlin. Also Lonely Planet has categorised Kutch as the 3rd best ‘unsung destination’ in the world. All because of our campaign and your efforts.’

And the organization that acknowledges social work for a cause, will honor yours truly for the work done as UNICEF ambassador for the fight against Polio, which as you know has had some rather encouraging achievements. For an entire year there has been no case of Polio reported in the country for the first time since the campaign began for the fight. That is fantastic for a country plagued with the disease for years. A gentle pat on the back if I may. There is more to come, and when it does I shall inform. Its for another cause that I have worked on individually. A most rewarding experience.

Meeting people does have its effect and it would be wrong for me to express that all that one does in life for issues other than for oneself can all come from sheer individual thought. It does not. Somewhere, a word a feeling expressed moves you, and you go ahead and do what you feel must be done. Do it and do it quietly, its the most rewarding experience. Trust me …

Love and more

Amitabh Bachchan

RGV smsed me to put up the poster or the first look of Department

Jalsa , Mumbai                                       Apr 4,  2012                                 Wed  11: 45 PM
RGV smsed me to put up the poster or the first look of ‘Department’ on my Twitter and Blog so there ..
I do feel awkward to promote my own work, for in the past there has been great resentment towards it, but … there it is, merely as an announcement and information rather than having direct coinage much like some of the prominent journalists do, to draw your attention to either a programme of theirs or an article that may have been written by them. Many a time they have requested me to mention this on my site as well, as have some other artists that have contributions to the medium. I would imagine that this has something to do with the number of followers that I now possess – close to 24 lakh, or in simple US and international unit standards, 2.4 million.
Ha ! ‘Millions’ people understand with greater urgency somehow, than they would ‘lakhs’. A ‘millionaire’ would garner greater attention in the region than say a ‘lakhpati’. Its the power of economy and finance. The dollar, yen or Euro would be better understood than say a Rupee. But may I stick my neck out and say that it shall not be too long before the tables would change in our favor. This is not a patriotic analysis or compulsion, it has its roots in the emerging scenario of the world, and for that I as an Indian feel most proud.
The grand daughter has a fancy for the singer Katy Perry. I hope I have the name correct. Yes just checked, it is right. She had performed along with several others at the opening of the IPL last night, and now Navya wants her autograph for she loves her. So efforts are on to make that happen !! I would probably get killed for this, but I had not heard of her till last night. The age difference is playing havoc ! In Hospital a friend gave me an entire collection of songs, some unprinted too, of the Beatles. Bet todays grandchildren would ‘snuff’ at that, but for us it was like possessing a Bible – sacred and pure and so full of all the worth in the world !! Those were the days my friend, when communication was zero, possessing a track was unheard of, getting an LP of their latest was like being the most important person in the Universe. It never was sold in the country, the lucky few that travelled abroad would come in with it. It almost always came in several months or even a year into the country. They had by then moved on to the next, while we still lived and enjoyed the present. Sitting at privileged friend’s places just to be able to listen in. Or visit the irresistible restaurants and clubs on Park Street in Kolkata, to hear the bands play their songs, and a few enterprising couples attempting to do the ‘shake’ on the dance floor ! What times … now, mere vacant memories. Some day I must write about those wonder days – of radio programmes ‘A date with you’ by Pamela I think from AIR, late in the night, of Elvis, Chuck Berry and ‘Lets twist again ..’, Pat Boone’s swooning vocals, Cliff Richards, who we now often see at Wimbledon in the stands, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole and jazz albums of Zoot Sims … ahhh ..!! the list just goes on ..

The evening was spent at PVR theaters with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who does a retrospective of his films and show cases ‘Eklavya’ … we sit with the audience after the film screening and debate and discuss the film and open it up to the audience to ask questions. Such a delight to be talking cinema without the words ‘kitna deti hai’ or how long it ran for how many weeks, or what its business was, whether it profiled itself in the 100 cr club or not … such a joy to be talking of what the director went through, of what the artists thought of before the shot or the writer and editor and set designer and music director thought of doing what they did with the film .. this concept needs encouragement, not just for students of cinema, but for the cinema going audiences as well … so educative and so necessary … !!

Alright it comes upon 1 am in the morning and Chelsea plays home to Benefica … must get back to the Tv … so good night .. Mumbai Indians beat last years champions Chennai Super Kings in the first IPL cricket .. so there is a smile, which we hope shall transfer itself into a laughter after the Chelsea win in a short time …
Amitabh Bachchan

It finally got over and I breath a relieved sigh

the southern crown in regions fair, Chennai                      Apr 3/4 , 2012                     Tue/Thu  1:15 AM

 It finally got over and I breath a relieved sigh !! I put up just a small sample of what it was all about and shall endeavor to put up more by the morrow. But a truly memorable evening meeting up with the greats of the cricketting world. They are the true icons of this nation. Young and enthusiastic and representing the nation. Such a joy to catch up with all of them, and also some of the seniors.
I retire today as I do need to get some rest. Leaving early for Mumbai by the morning. So much more to say and express. Rajnikant came over to meet me in the room of my Hotel much against my wishes – I had wanted to go to his place but .. always a pleasure. Meeting up with Dhoni and his team. The seniors – Rahul Dravid, Sehwag, Saurav Ganguly .. and all so humble and kind !
There is much to say ..
Amitabh Bachchan

I think it is that they are named, in cylindrical containers

the region of southern crown, Chennai      Apr 2, 2012             Mon  9:22 PM

Cookies and chips .. Pringles, I think it is that they are named, in cylindrical containers .. have formed a major potion of another day living in hostile condition with the ‘flies’ that ‘butter’ . Is it not customary that such gastro conditioning, causes random, excessive devouring of elements, that one can first put sight on ? Whether they do or not is not under question. That they have and have been executed well and to perfection … the little chamber by the side of my table,  loaded with my entire communication utensils, looks somewhat forlorn and deserted .. is the moot point !!
The trouble with cookies, especially the kind that sprinkle themselves with alluring chocolate portions, and who at very short notice appear temptingly at mouth watering intervals within the crunches of the biscuit, is that ‘once begun is half done’ !! No ! Not true ! The adage falls short. Its ‘once begun is not over till its done’ ! And that, ladies and gentlemen of this most attractive culinary platform, is where all problems begin. Irrespective of how satisfying your dinner may have been, unless it is further lined by these brownies, the night seems incomplete, young and most undesirable !
I need my night. I need my cookie. I need my Pringle chips. Period ! I just did not need it all day. And now that I have confessed to it .. if you shall excuse me, I wish to lean across and pick another one, before I stare at an empty plastic case ! ….
Ok ! Leaning over was a bother, so I reduced the distance. It sits healthily by the laptop, not too distant from the … yup, you guessed it right … the Pringles !! Pringle and Choc Chip Cookies, excuse the alliteration, vie with each other as to who shall ‘empty’ first … a sign I do believe, of some individual importance to either brand !!

This is incorrigible !! The word count at the bottom of the page reads 325 ! And I cannot believe that ‘alliteration’ and ‘..ingles’ have met with such importance !!!! I can only guess that this has come to pass by the miraculous ingredients that ‘gastro’ was dealt with, shortly before this invasion – the pill ! Not ‘the’ pill .. just pill. The one suggested by the medico to obliterate pangs of sharp knife edging pain, in the region of the surgical assignment.
Hmmmumggapphumgtggunmm … apologies … another ‘alliteration’ just lost its identity !! Need to counter that with ‘Pring’ the salted ring !!

I say … this is most rude is it not. ‘Elbows off the table. Munching mouth shut in some elegance, and no speaking while eating’ … ha ! reminds one of boarding school meal times, especially with a Tennis Blue Welsh Principal, the  Rev R C Llwelyn, may his soul rest in peace, trudging down the aisles of the dining room, his large frame bearing the wind along his cape, now flowing majestically behind. One error of judgement and the registering of two cane points. Reach six, and its into his ante room, bending over the wheel barrow strategically positioned for such encounters, for a stinging four cuts of the finest well oiled bamboo canes, elaborately placed in an ornate drawer ! Next morning, during ‘baths’ – that is what we called the community dorm bathing day – the black stripes of the whipping, showing up on flushed cheeks of posterior – a polite synonym for ‘bum’ – while 50 other ‘bum’ mates – nothing suggestive here people, just a mention of fellow bathers – doubled over hysterically !!!!
‘Six of the best’ was reserved terminology for graver ‘crimes’ at School. Breaking bounds to sneak in to visit the ‘dames’ at sister school across the valley. Or stealthily crossing many forest areas, we were Sherwood College after all, to the Governor’s Summer resort to take a dip into his swimming pool ! This of course until we built our own with our own hands. On our visit to Sherwood for the 50 years of the Class of ’58, some years back, we prided ourselves in informing the ‘youngsters’ that each brick laid at the construction of the pool, was done by the sweat and tears of our very hands, come rain or hail !!
So the eventual question that I can feel building up among the Ef is : ‘Did you ever get the six !’
And the answer is : Several times !! And for all the reasons mentioned above and some more !!
School days, in boarding, the happiest days of our life ! Coincidentally that was the name of the first stage play I did in Sherwood – ” The Happiest Days of your Life ” … and ironically was about the sister school of a boarding outfit, catching fire and making it impossible for the girls to board in, and they landing up at the boys school seeking accommodation, generously agreed upon by the two Principals, and the resulting confusions that arose in every day existence !!
How we had all silently wished that that would happen with us at Sherwood and our sister School, All Saints – err, minus the fire of course !!
Good night dearest ones .. the cookies do not look too attractive and neither does the Pringle ..
Amitabh Bachchan 
Pardon the ‘skullduggery’ … at the rehearsals today !! with the talented dancers of Shaimak ..
Off to work at the venue ..
Its large and its the hard work of an entire dedicated team … awesome to just be able to find yourself on the stage !!
Enjoy ..

I grimace in pain during the rehearsal gripping my left surgery

Southern Crown, Chennai             Apr  1,  2012             Sun  9 : 37 PM

Wishing Kashmira a most wonderful birthday ! Good health and warm greetings to keep your smile forever !! Love

Chennai !! A permanent destination not so many years back, when most of the Industry in Mumbai came over to work in the studios here. To make films in Hindi, for South Indian Producers. They were mostly remakes of successful Tamil Cinema. They had great artists contributing to it, impressive story lines and family oriented screen plays. But what had impressed me most was their impeccable management quality, time programming and efficient working conditions. Walking in to the massive Studio complexes like Gemini, AVM, NagiReddy, Prasad and several others, was like driving into Universal, Fox, MGM or their likes – well designed, clean, work oriented and most disciplined – a culture which the Southern bretheren and the sisteren embraced with immense dignity and pride !! Everything worked with clock work precision … and of course the privilege of bumping into the stalwarts of the regional cinema – MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Gemini Ganesan, Savitri, Nagesh and in more recent times Rajnikant and Kamal Hassan and then much more recently the younger generation that continues to bring wonder and amazement to the audiences.
When I started off in the early 70′s here in Madras then, there was but just one recognizable Hotel – Savera. And now .. the most elegant, modern and sophisticated luxurious residences in hoteliering at every corner ! Madras then was a quiet, cultural center. The culture still remains. It is perhaps a constant in every South Indian home where the classic is revered, whether in music dance form or simply the ancient rituals. Not many regions can be identified today as that. Perhaps with the exception of West Bengal and Maharashtra. It brings in a sense and feel of the charm of the old world ; one that unquestioningly flows within our veins.

The vast belief in the divine and the temples that have been dedicated to and built for, exist almost untouched by invasion. The region being far too distant from the marauding raiders that infiltrated the country from the North. Their sanctums and their imagery revered and sanctified through thousands of years of belief. Tradition and custom remain untouched here, irrespective of what the rest of the world goes through. Scholars, thinkers, academicians, men of letters, revolutionaries that dedicated their energies to freedom and poets of such great proportion in their verse, that invoked fresh and inspired new thought.
I could just go on endlessly. But it is the little contexts that remain in ones minds whenever you visit a new place and they never find a reason to leave you in desolation ! For me the imagery that persists is the flower arrangements in the hair of the ladies each day. They may not be of means, but that fresh ‘ladi’ of flowers always adorns their lustrous hair.

So … the IPL begins its season 5 and the organizers WizCraft, will me to be a part of it for the opening ceremony. I shall present a special poem written by Prasoon Joshi, lyricist and ad., world leader in Mumbai. It shall be a great honor to share the same space as some of the greats of cricket throughout the world. It broadcasts live on the 3rd of April and soon after I shall return back to Mumbai, for further rest and recuperation.
The heat of summer begins to show its colors – a little earlier than normal perhaps. The ‘koyal’ ‘kooks’ in the day to announce the presence of summer. Be it Allahabad, or Mumbai or Kolkata or New Delhi, the sound of this loyal summer bird has remained constant. In the silence of the summer heat during the peak moment in the afternoon, its speech has been a sweet memory that has connected us with so many nostalgic moments.

Having returned just now from the dress rehearsals for the event at the YMCA grounds for IPL, I rest now. A glimpse perhaps of what it shall eventually look like :
The stage and the settings and as I watch – you may have to slide the picture to the right to see it completely – before getting on to it ..
And this moment caught inadvertently by my cameraman, as I grimace in pain during the rehearsal, gripping my left surgery … it comes up now and then .. when ? your guess could be as good as mine !! And the concerned remark by the camera department to ‘take care’ … sweet ..

Time to turn in and rehearse again tomorrow for the finale on the 3rd ..
Love and more as you rest in your dreams …
Amitabh Bachchan

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