Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Amitabh Bachchan has a special pet name for Deepika Padukone in Piku

 Amitabh Bachchan has a special pet name for Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone has been addressing Amitabh Bachchan as Baba (father) for a while now. The two actors are currently shooting for Shoojit Sircar’s upcoming film, Piku, in which Big B and Deepika play father and daughter respectively.

Apparently, not only Deepika, but also the other members of the cast and crew of the film, including Irrfan Khan, call him Baba now. "Bachchan sir likes the way Deepika and the others address him as Baba," says a source from the film’s unit.

Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone as ‘baba’ and ‘Deepiku’ in ‘Piku’

So, to reciprocate the gesture, Big B has coined a nickname for Deepika too. "He calls her Deepiku, nobody else addresses her by that name," adds the source.

"The way they address each other, on and off the sets, shows the comfortable relationship they share," says Juhi Chaturvedi, the writer of the film, which has been shot in Kolkata and will see Bachchan and Deepika play Bengali characters.

by hindustantimes

Monday, February 23, 2015

Amitabh Bachchan with Jaya Bachchan at Film Heritage Foundation workshop 2015

 Amitabh Bachchan to work towards saving cinematic marvels from getting lost with time

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan says he feels privileged to be the face of an initiative by The Film Heritage Foundation and working towards saving cinematic marvels from getting lost with time.

Amitabh Bachchan and his wife Jaya Bachchan attended the ‘Film Preservation and Restoration School India 2015’ workshop organized by the Film Heritage Foundation in Mumbai,

"A FUNCTION TO ATTEND THE Film Heritage Foundation...a most sincere effort to archive all the films made through the years... most of our films have got destroyed or lost, due to no archival interest or work

"Congratulations FILM HERITAGE FOUNDATION... and thank you for making me the Brand Ambassador of this work...honoured and privileged," read a post on Big B's official page on social networking site Facebook.  

The event was held here Sunday.

The 72-year-old also shared photographs of the event on his official blog, saying that visuals tell a better story than words.

"Just the visuals tell a deep story...of a day well spent...of being made Ambassador for the Film Heritage Foundation and the Preservation of films," the "Paa" star posted on his blog.

Meanwhile, the screen icon is gearing up for the release of his films "Piku" and "Wazir".

Amitabh Bachchan attends pre wedding bash

Amitabh Bachchan attends pre-wedding bash of Mulayam’s grandnephew

Amitabh Bachchan today attended the pre-wedding ceremony of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s grandnephew with RJD chief Lalu Yadav’s daughter in Saifai, Uttar Pradesh.

Bachchan, who boarded a flight from Mumbai, wore a white kurta pyajama with a shawl on his shoulder.

The ‘Shamitabh’ actor entered the ‘Tilak’ ceremony venue with folded hands and was greeted by the host Mulayam.

Bachchan, 72, took to Twitter in the morning to inform about his journey.

Amitabh Bachchan tweeted:

T 1776 - Took off for Safai for wedding event .. bad visibility. . Flight diverted to Lucknow .. waiting for clearance .. safety better

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended the event apart from other prominent political leaders.
The Mainpuri MP Tej Pratap Yadav and Lalu’s youngest daughter Raj Laxmi will tie the knot in Delhi on February 26.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Amitabh Bachchan : Invited to Mulayam's grand-nephew's tilak ceremony

 Modi to Amitabh Bachchan: Over 1 lakh invited to Mulayam's grand-nephew's tilak ceremony

A staggering 100,000 invites, including to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have been sent out for Samajwadi Party supremo's grand nephew's on Saturday pre-wedding ceremony in Saifai village where mouthwatering dishes like bedai, baati-chokha and halwa soaked in desi ghee will be served.

Saifai village, some 25 km from Etawah, is buzzing with frantic activity for the 'tilak' ceremony of Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, Lok Sabha member from Mainpuri, who will marry Raj Laxmi, the youngest daughter of former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi, Feb 26 in New Delhi.

Both Modi and mega star Amitabh Bachchan have confirmed their presence, officials said. Mulayam Singh had personally invited Modi for the ceremony.

A team from the prime minister's Special Protection Group (SPG) has already visited Saifai to asses the security scenario, a police official said, adding a rehearsal with an Indian Air Force (IAF) plane landing has also been done at the village air strip.

Also flying down to Saifai on Saturday are a string of Bollywood stars, singers, politicians, state and union cabinet ministers, chief ministers of other states and bureaucrats.

Family sources told IANS that more than 100,000 invites have been sent to relatives, politicians, village folk, journalists, judges and celebrities from other fields. Pakistani singer Adnan Sami, who recently participated in the Saifai Mahotsava, will croon this time too.

Special chefs camped in the native village of the Yadavs, offering mouth watering dishes which includes Gujarati food, traditional UP and Bihari food and also cuisine tailor-made for the Bollywood stars.

Special on the menu would be 'sarrata' (special sour raita), bedai, dahi-ke-aloo, baati-chokha, ulda poorie, paneer filled chola-bhature. Among the sweet delicacies are imarti, jalebi served with chilled rabri, sohan halwa, kulfi and moong ki daal ka halwa soaked in pure desi ghee.


Amitabh Bachchan meets Michael Bloomberg, gets enlightened

 Amitabh Bachchan meets Michael Bloomberg, gets enlightened

And would you believe it .. there are some that actually did not get it and asked, what the second one was !! I found it hilarious, so I thought my hilarity should not go waste, in keeping it to myself .. shared and shared wisely !!

The great business magnate, financial wizard, ex Mayor of NYC, philanthropist, was at an evening dinner where I was asked to conduct a conversation with him publicly. I just did and came back a short while ago, enlightened and wiser, by the million .
And that is that …

But apart from the main event, there is always the temptation to monopolise, to gain attention of the MIP at the event … and when that does not happen, there is the desire to get into severe egocentric depression.
I am in no depression nor am I in any kind of related acts. I am just another guy. And the learning that gets imparted at these occasions are the stuff lives are made of ..

A take away from the evening … many ..

'Honour the crisis that comes in your life. It shall be the greatest harbinger of learning and progress ..'

There were the presence of media heads of both print and television. There were the heads of banks and corporates, but most importantly there were ‘heads’ of the creative field. A field that at the moment eludes me and my presence.

There is politics to learn … there is commerce that comes your way … there is the talk of job opportunities, of health and keeping the environs clean and much much more …

Wisdom, knowledge and opinion ruled the dinner. Hope and expectation of some worth in common fields came through and the humbling talk of my state.

It is difficult to stop some of them that express. It is difficult to accept what some may think and say and feel. It is difficult to not make mistake tomorrow and fall far far below any redemption. It is difficult ..

But in all difficulty what remains is the expectation of that which is most needed. And that is the entire truth of this evening.

The confidence and approach with which many ideas take shape and then are destroyed, is too filled with subtle intricacies … these may look soft and gentle but indeed, have immense thought and planned workmanship running, parallel to the object of conquest.

I would wish for the evolvement of that which when desired or which when thought of, could, present it self - even if it were temporarily - to us in doses that could tolerably find us all together in one bed, so to say, but never occupying ourselves and our inner selves in to the oft referred example ..

And may the Lord help us all in that ..

My love ..


Amitabh Bachchan

Hope and expectation of some worth in common fields came through and the humbling talk of my state,” he said.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Amitabh Bachchan Celebrates India's Win : INDIA VS PAKISTAN MATCH

Amitabh Bachchan Celebrates India's Win, Considers More Commentary

Amitabh Bachchan greets his Sunday well-wishers at his Mumbai residence.


Social media's hung verdict aside, Amitabh Bachchan and his Sunday well-wishers are quite pleased with his cricket commentary at yesterday's monster India vs Pakistan match.

Mr Bachchan, 72, celebrated India's win with the Jalsa regulars who show up weekly at his Mumbai home. He also said that perhaps he ought to consider more commentary.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
T 1770 - The debut commentator ... hahah !! and the victory celebration among well wishers ..

Not everyone on Twitter was as thrilled to hear Bollywood's best-known voice booming out updates and analysis with - by turns - Kapil Dev, Arun Lal, Rahul Dravid, Shoaib Akhtar and Ashish Chopra.

'Worse than Doordarshan,' said at least one person on Twitter. Mr Bachchan's filmy colleagues, however, were all praises.

Okay even I AM UP for the match .. So you can't take the Indian out of an match after all !! OH and you gotta love @SrBachchan ;)

India demolished Pakistan. As this person remarked, Amitabh Bachchan has been a lucky charm of sorts cricket-wise.

Amitabh Bachchan is our lucky charm for Ind-Pak match. Last time he did commentary, India won the match & saved 3 guna lagaan in Champanair.

Then again, this was India's sixth straight win against their most bitter pitch foe so Mr Bachchan's services as a talisman were likely not required. He predicted they'd win anyway.

T 1770 -YEEEAAAAHHHHH ! India wins .. my second prediction came true too .. is it got something to do with the date 15th Feb !!!

Yesterday was also a special day for Mr Bachchan for a whole other reason.

T 1770 - 15th Feb .. !! historic date for me .. on this date 46 years ago in 1969, I signed my 1st film to join the Film Industry ..

Amitabh Bachchan was in the commentary box as part of the publicity for his new film Shamitabhwhich opened on February 6.

news by movies.ndtv

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Amitabh Bachchan makes impressive commentary debut

Amitabh Bachchan makes impressive commentary debut

ADELAIDE: With his famed baritone, superstar Amitabh Bachchan on Sunday made an impressive commentary debut in the high-voltage India-Pakistan World Cup cricket match.

The legendary actor started off his on-air stint with former India captain Kapil Dev and ex-Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar in the pre-match show.

Bachchan, 72, then eased into the commentary box with Akash Chopra and Akhtar for company. Trying to get his field placements right and making sharp comments about opener Shikhar Dhawan's technique against the short ball, Bachchan seemed to pick up the ropes of commentary pretty quickly.

Kapil soon joined the towering Bollywood legend in the box and the Haryana hurricane egged on the actor to keep up the good work.

 The joy continued for many a Bachchan fan, as Rahul Dravid and Arun Lal also shared the microphone with the matinee idol as they discussed India's winning moments in the World Cup.

Keen to know about the actor's whereabouts during the 1983 Prudential Cup final, Dravid, looking like an avid Bachchan admirer, got his answers from the man himself.

Sitting in the Hindi box for the first half-hour of the match, Bachchan not only saw a six from the blade of Dhawan but was also witness to Rohit Sharma's wicket in the eighth over off Sohail Khan. 

Amitabh, who seemed to have enjoyed his first-ever commentary stint, was ironically rejected for his baritone by All India Radio (AIR) in late 1960s before he became an actor.

Like any superstitious sportsman, Bachchan also revealed that India seldom won a game with him watching. The veteran actor thanked the experts and the fans for providing him a unique opportunity.

"Thank you for having me here. It was a unique opportunity for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Hope India wins," Amitabh (who spoke in Hindi) signed off.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Amitabh Bachchan: The biggest film star in the world : Sarfraz Manzoor

Amitabh Bachchan: The biggest film star in the world

Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan has the combined star wattage of Brando, De Niro and Eastwood, and is loved by millions. His latest film plays with the idea of extreme adulation, which comes as no surprise to Sarfraz Manzoor.

If you haven't heard of Amitabh Bachchan, I feel rather sorry for you. He is, after all, the greatest actor Indian cinema has produced and his films are some of the greatest you are ever likely to see. Bachchan has been a phenomenon for more than four decades and at 72 he is still making films that excite and surprise audiences around the world.

His latest, Shamitabh, is about a young actor who achieves top-billing by "borrowing" the overdubbed voice of a down and out, played by Amitabh (hence the "sham"); and of course it gives full range to his rich, commanding baritone, which has transfixed audiences for more than 40 years. But it's also a meditation on identity and the nature of fame and fortune – asking audiences to examine their own role in the relationship between idol and fan – and, arguably, a sign of the growing sophistication of the Indian film industry. And it is a sophistication that has been in part affected by Bachchan, who is such a huge name that the industry has had to mature with him, changing its focus to fit in with his own journey through life. And you can't be a bigger star than that.

How can one give an idea of his stature to the uninitiated? By explaining that the actor possesses the combined star wattage and potent aggression of Brando, De Niro and Eastwood? Or that he has more than 13 million followers on Twitter, and a separate Wikipedia page devoted only to the awards he has won? There's the story of the leading Indian film director who suggested to me that the Indian film industry should be called "Bachchan" instead of Bollywood. But none of those facts can fully convey the adoration accorded to the man whom his fans call "The Big B".

Rather, it may be best to pose a question: is there any other actor who, were he to sustain a serious injury while filming, could prompt his fans to offer the sacrifice of their own limbs to save his, or lead one man to walk 300 miles backwards in divine supplication? Amitabh Bachchan is in a league of his own; just don't tell him that. With his chestnut hair, white goatee and, behind his glasses, a surprisingly unlined face, he is relentlessly and almost pathologically humble (see interview, right). He will tell you it was all a happy accident; that it was all down to the writers and the directors and nothing to do with him. But this humility obscures the truth that Bachchan is now working with directors who actually grew up worshipping him.

Amitabh Bachchan occupies this hallowed place in the Indian film business – and in Indian culture – because of the decade of seminal films that he starred in starting with 1975's Sholay (a movie that is often voted the greatest Indian film of all time). His films – which were intended for, and hit home with, working-class audiences who were desperate for escapism – were also reflective of their time.

During the 1970s, India had fallen into a State of Emergency, introduced by then Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, and in these films Bachchan's characters stood up for the ordinary man against the injustices of the establishment. During this period, he would be filming up to 12 movies simultaneously; in some he played double roles; and in one film he portrayed a father and both of his sons. He was a mesmerising presence: he made you believe that one man was genuinely capable of changing the world.
Bolly good: a giant portrait of Bachchan, painted on a wall in Mumbai

If it was wish fulfilment for those watching in India, they offered something else for those of us watching in Britain. In the early 1980s, my family would watch Indian films most weekends. My father would rent a VCR player for £5 and we would choose three films to watch. They would almost always be Amitabh Bachchan films. His films helped bridge the generations: no matter what else we disagreed about in my family, when Bachchan was on the screen, we would all watch as one, united. Bachchan also mattered because this was a time when there was so little representation of Asians on television. Many of us, including me, were struggling to find reasons to be proud of our heritage. Bachchan's hyper-masculine heroism and aggressive idealism showed us there were other ways to be Asian on screen than as a victim. And if a Bachchan film comes up on one of the satellite channels, the chances are I will still watch it.

It could have been very different. While filming Coolie in 1982, he was seriously injured during a fight scene, and flown to hospital, where he hovered between life and death. Indira Gandhi made a visit to his hospital bed and doctors gave him only a 10 per cent chance of surviving. While he remained in a coma, Indians prayed for him in churches, temples and mosques, and others fasted.

When he did recover, Bachchan took to appearing outside his Mumbai home to greet the thousands of well-wishers who had gathered – a tradition he maintains to this day – and the debt he feels may explain why Bachchan is, by his own admission, a compulsive user of social media. On Bachchan's blogs and in his tweets one can read his unfiltered thoughts on the business of film promotion: "zombied & stone deaf to any conversation or questioning ...robotic responses, effortless smiles and guided repartee ...#Shamitabh" reads one bracingly honest recent tweet.

If he was a phenomenon in the 1970s and early 1980s, in the past decade he has become a brand and the head of a dynasty: his actor son is married to former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, and his name endorses countless products.

There was a time, though, when Bachchan's star was on the wane. In the mid-1980s he was persuaded to enter politics by his friend Rajiv Gandhi, a decision generally accepted to have been disastrous. He took a break from acting and during that time forayed into business ventures, all of which bombed. He returned to movies, but trying to play an angry young man when he was in his fifties didn't end well. He needed a reinvention – which came in 2000, when he became the host for the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The quiz show turned out to be a massive hit and Bachchan became the highest paid television star in Indian history. It returned him to national prominence, revived his film career and provided the inspiration for the book that Danny Boyle adapted into Slumdog Millionaire.

The latest act in Bachchan's career has seen him playing very different roles to the ones that made him famous. Those he took in the 1970s and 1980s were rather limited, but in recent years he has played everything from a rapper to a teenager, a ponytailed chef to a 60-year-old man who falls in love with a teenage girl

Given that he is now in his seventies, with a back catalogue of more than 180 films and more money than he can spend, one has to wonder why he still works so hard. As he said in our interview: "I am insecure about tomorrow. Will I get another job, what will I do and will it be appreciated?" But this insecurity seems so unjustified that one has to ask if it is genuine or a role he has taken to playing.

Just as Bob Dylan – who knows a thing or two about being idolised – took to claiming that he was just a song and dance man, Bachchan likes to pretend he is just a jobbing actor who got lucky and worries about his next gig. It is clearly, ridiculously, not true, but it is perhaps a necessary delusion: the only way a man can withstand four decades of sustained mass adoration and remain anything close to sane.

The actor with Mother Teresa
 According to Amitabh: the star in his own words

SM: You're the biggest name in Indian film history and everyone acknowledges it apart from you – why is that?

AB: Actually the writer is most important. They dictate the terms. The director tells us what to do and where to stand. Someone comes to dress you up, someone else comes to do your make up and all you do is deliver your lines. It is a huge combined effort and our contribution is very minimal.

SM: I'm not sure I agree: those films worked because of what you brought to the role. On screen, you always exuded immense charisma, but is it true that you are actually rather an introvert?

AB: It's frightening to be facing an audience. There is always the fear of what they think of you, what they are saying about you. But so long as we are performing in the isolation of the studio and don't have too many people looking at us, we manage.

SM: Your films are repeated on television all the time. Do you ever find yourself flicking through the channels and landing on one of yours?

AB: I do sometimes watch them when they are on television. I usually start looking for all the faults I made.

SM: Indian films are often hugely dramatic: they are fun to watch, but how does it affect an actor to be playing such parts?

AB: We play many emotions in our careers, emotions that in real life we would perform just once. For example, my character has died in about 10 films, so you have to keep searching for different ways to do it!

SM: You've had great success in film but have also known failure. Would it be true to say that, although your reputation was made on film, it was rescued by television when you decided to host Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

AB: Yes. Everyone thought I was committing hara-kari, but it was essential for me to do something. I was facing bankruptcy, court cases, creditors, a failed company and a failed career.

SM: Staying with television, in the West, with shows such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, that seems to be where the action is. Can you imagine a time when Bollywood is usurped by television?

AB: Well, there has been a vast explosion in television. There are 800 channels with content from around the world that is qualitatively better than what we get in our cinema. This has offered healthy competition, as Indian cinema wants to compete with the West. The advantage of TV is that there is a greater span of storytelling, and you have more time to develop a character. So, TV is a very exciting proposition, and I think we will get there. Eventually tastes will change.

SM: After your life-threatening accident during the making of Coolie, so many people prayed for your recovery. That must have been hard to process...

AB: I try to find ways to express my gratitude. My [public interactions] remain a happy debt which I am fond of carrying. It bears the love and affection of the people, and is a wonderful opportunity to hear and feel the fans who have loved my work.

SM: The roles you did in the Seventies and Eighties were quite narrow in range. But in your recent films, including Shamitabh, you are really expanding your range. Do you think you have become a better actor with age? 

AB: I have had greater opportunity to do things that are different, and this comes with age. I can't be playing the leading man, so expectations become lower and I can take more risks.

SM: You've made more than 180 films. You must feel you've done it all. Does film-making still excite you?

AB: I get excited every day: it is wonderful, and it is inexplicable. It would be a horrible day if I was to think, I have done it. It would kill any creativity I possess if I was to be satisfied. Any creative person should never be satisfied with their work.

SM: Don't you think you've done enough to be satisfied with your work and not to worry what people think?

AB: I am insecure about tomorrow. Will I get another job? Will it be appreciated? I will pursue acting for as long as I have a face and body that is acceptable to the people but I still worry that if I don't do better tomorrow, it will all go away.

news by

Amitabh Bachchan Nervous About Debut As Commentator : World Cup 2015

 World Cup 2015: Amitabh Bachchan Nervous About Debut As Cricket Commentator

Amitabh Bachchan will take on the commentator's role alongside stalwarts Harsh Bhogle and Kapil Dev during the India-Pakistan clash

Mumbai: Actor Abhishek Bachchan says his father Amitabh Bachchan is a tad nervous about making his debut as a commentator for the India-Pakistan match during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Adelaide Feb 15.

The Big B will take on the commentator's role alongside stalwarts of the cricket-commentary world Harsh Bhogle and Kapil Dev as part of promotion of his recently released film "Shamitabh".

Abhishek, who is also the producer of "Shamitabh", was present at an event here when he was asked how excited he is about Big B's commentary during the World Cup.

He said: "I think it's a great concept and that's the least you can expect from Balki ('Shamitabh' director R. Balakrishnan). When we had this discussion in the marketing meetings, I thought it was a brilliant concept."

The junior Bachchan says his globally known father has "the greatest voice on earth". (Team India Lack Experience but Have Fighting Spirit, Says Kapil Dev)

"To hear him commenting on the match should be a lot of fun and I've seen some the rehearsals they have been doing. He has been working hard and he is very nervous, but I think it'll be very exciting," said Abhishek, who's a sports enthusiast himself.

"Shamitabh", which released Feb 6, also stars southern star Dhanush and debutante Akshara Haasan in pivotal roles.

News by

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I fell in love with Amitabh Bachchan: Akshara Haasan

 I fell in love with Amitabh Bachchan: Akshara Haasan

Akshara Haasan has inherited the acting legacy of her parents, Kamal Haasan and Sarika, who have been part of Indian cinema for over four decades. She made her screen debut this Friday with Shamitabh. The 23-year-old tells us why she wasn’t sure about becoming an actor and also talks about her father’s stardom.

You weren’t sure about becoming an actor. How did you zero in on Shamitabh?

To be honest, I had taken time to discover my calling and did different things like being an assistant director, a photographer and a dancer. I thought this was the right time to understand what acting was all about. So I went up to mom and told her ‘it is time I act’. Shamitabh happened with Balki (R Balki; filmmaker) sir spotting me outside an editing studio. But he didn’t know who I was, and much later, he asked me if I was interested in working in his film.

Shamitabh Movie Review

What was it like to do a scene with Amitabh Bachchan?

In my first scene with him I had to look stern. However, my voice was quivering. But then, he made me comfortable. I fell in love with him after watching Kaun Banega Crorepati. I thought “he is one of the most successful actors and I cannot mess up.” That was the kind of pressure I put on myself. His aura can be intimidating.
Your father, too, is a name to reckon with.

 I have seen his stardom, but for me, he is my dad and not the way the audience sees him. As a kid, I could not figure out why everyone was running after my father. But when I see him on screen, I see him as an actor and not as my father. In my childhood, however, if my parents were beaten up on screen, I would start crying. The final scene of Sadma (1983), where dad is trying to make Sridevi recognise him, tugged at my heart strings.

How is your rapport with Shruti?
Shruti is a friend, a sister and a guide. There is a lot of understanding between us. She’s very protective about me.

News by hindustantimes

Shamitabh Movie Review : Amitabh Bachchan puts up a class act

Shamitabh review: Amitabh Bachchan puts up a class act but fails to save the film

Ten minutes into Shamitabh, you begin to realize you’re feeling something that seems almost alien – entertainment. You’ll be glad that, after what seems like eons, we have a mainstream commercial movie with a story that’s unique and original, without the tacky underpinnings of the products from the genre. If you’re a Big B fan, the first half of Shamitabh is going to be your LSD.

Daanish, a kid from a village, grows up into a perfectly-cast Dhanush, with dreams of being an actor. Daanish moves to Mumbai and stalks whichever filmmaker he spots, and begins living secretly in a vanity van. When he finally gets a chance to do a screen test, he kills it. The only problem? He’s mute. But this is 2015, and filmmaking now has tools, like dubbing. With these tools, even a tool can be a hero. And as the protagonist mentions, if you’ve got the vocal cords of Amitabh Bachchan, even a dog can be star. So when Daanish comes across Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), a washed up drunkard with a glorious baritone, the collaboration reeks of superstardom. Daanish plus Amitabh become Shamitabh.

Going with the theme of the film, Shamitabh is half a great movie. This is a film about superstardom, starring superstars. It’s about the high of the rise and the constant threat of the fall; the jealousy, the disappointment and all the other emotional baggage that comes with stardom. In one scene, Shamitabh is shooting a movie where his heroine has to visit the loo, so he builds her a toilet out of snow and the commode becomes a romantic theme in the song. Yup, Shamitabh is also an unsubtle commentary of the nature of commercial Bollywood.

The ‘conflict’ in director Balki’s previous films Cheeni Kum and Paa were ham handed to say the least, but this time we have something imaginative. As Shamitabh becomes a star, his greed starts to eat him inwards. Amitabh, who is kept a secret and presented to the public as a valet named Robert, begins to wonder why he doesn’t get the lion’s share of the credit. Acting and screen presence is all about the delivery, he growls. To get you high, a bottle of whiskey doesn’t need water, but water does need whiskey. Even if a whiskey bottle is 43% whiskey and 57% water. His voice didn’t suit the industry in the ’80s, so how is it fair that someone with no screen presence becomes a star because of that very same voice? Neither can live without the other. The ego clashes and jealous bickering between the two are fun, as are Amitabh’s drunk philosophical putdowns.

However, it seems Balki took the dual nature of his film too seriously because the second half of the film crashes and burns. Balki loses the drive and is unsure of what to do with the characters, so he includes some truly horrendous contrivances to pad things up.

There is also a ton of stupidity in the movie, like the eyeroll-inducing, Finnish sci fi technology behind getting Amitabh’s voice in Daanish’s throat. Other contrivances include a random assistant director (an awkward Akshara Haasan) who rescues Daanish from being thrown out of Film City for stalking, puts him on a screen test, sends him to Finland, and convinces her director to cast him in his film as the star (twice). Talk about luck by chance. There’s also an unintentionally hilarious subplot of a tabloid reporter who realizes the discrepancy in Shamitabh’s voice and travels to Finland as an investigative reporter and then blackmails Shamitabh. Not to mention the hundred thousand product placements crammed into nearly every frame of the film.

If you were disappointed by the endings of Paa and Cheeni Kum, prepare to face something similar. During the closing minutes it becomes clear that Balki doesn’t know what point to make, so he just abruptly gives up and the credits roll, leaving you with a mixed bag of emotions.

Fortunately you’ll still remember the one thing that kept the film going – Bachchan’s performance. Such style and elegance is seldom seen in cinema. Even when he’s lying in the dirt, blabbering with a sozzled face, Bachchan is a class act. And it’s great to see him play a character instead of his own French bearded self. Amitabh points out that he’s the larger part of the name Shamitabh, and Big B is pretty much the only significant and memorable part of the film. This might as well have been called ShaMetabh.

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